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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2019002 Professional Learning Community: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving for Students in Grades 4 Through 8 Facilitator's Guide
REL Southeast developed this facilitator's guide on the topic of mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator's guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator's guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.

The facilitator's guide focuses on three of the five recommendations from the mathematics problem solving practice guide to ensure in-depth coverage of the topics and to provide ample practice opportunities and time for reflection. The three practice guide recommendations on which the facilitator's guide is based are: teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3), expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4), and help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5). REL Southeast chose these three recommendations because they are interrelated and include critical content to address the two high-leverage regional needs communicated by the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance which include improving classroom discourse in mathematics and enhancing students' mathematical problem-solving skills.
6/10/2019
NCEE 20174024 An Exploration of Instructional Practices that Foster Language Development and Comprehension: Evidence from Prekindergarten through Grade 3 in Title I Schools
To date, efforts to include evidence-based instruction in large-scale reading programs have not generated meaningful improvements in student outcomes. To identify additional instructional practices that merit further evaluation, this evaluation brief provides an exploratory analysis of practices that are related to young students' growth in language skills and comprehension in listening and reading. The analysis is based on student test scores and observations of instructional practices in 1,035 classrooms in prekindergarten through grade 3 within 83 Title I schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Among the practices measured, those that were most consistently related to student growth include engaging students in defining new words, making connections between students' prior knowledge and the texts they read, promoting higher-order thinking, and focusing instruction on the meaning of texts.
8/16/2017
REL 2017258 Stated Briefly: The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K-2
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the findings from another report (REL 2017-251). This randomized controlled trial of early literacy interventions examined whether using a stand-alone intervention outside the core curriculum leads to better outcomes than using the embedded curriculum for small group intervention in grades K-2. Fifty-five schools located across Florida were randomly assigned to stand-alone or embedded interventions delivered daily throughout the school year for 45 minutes in small groups of four or five students. Students below the 30th percentile in reading-related skills and/or vocabulary were eligible for intervention. One-third of participating students were English language learners. Both interventions were implemented with high fidelity and, on average, students showed improvement in reading and language skills in both interventions. The stand-alone intervention significantly improved grade 2 spelling. However, impacts on other student outcomes were comparable. The two interventions had relatively similar impacts on reading and language outcomes among English learners and non-English learners, with the exception of some reading outcomes in kindergarten. Implications for future research are discussed.
4/4/2017
WWC IRBR672 Success for All Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report in the Literacy topic area summarizes the research on Success for All® (SFA®) and its effects on students in grades K–4. SFA® is a whole-school reform model for students in grades pre-K-8 and includes a literacy program that emphasizes phonics for beginning readers and comprehension for all students. Teachers provide reading instruction to students grouped by reading ability for 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, certified teachers or paraprofessionals provide daily tutoring to students who have difficulty reading at the same level as their classmates.

This updated report includes the research examined in the 2009 SFA® report and reviews of 111 additional studies. Based on this research, the WWC found SFA® to have positive effects on alphabetics, potentially positive effects on reading fluency, and mixed effects on comprehension and general reading achievement for beginning readers.
3/28/2017
REL 2017249 Overview of selected state policies and supports related to K–12 competency-based education
This report categorizes and summarizes state laws and regulations relevant to competency based-education. Competency-based education is a system where students must demonstrate mastery of course content to be promoted to the next class or grade rather than spend a prerequisite number of hours in a class, with students allowed to take as much or as little time necessary to achieve a comprehensive understanding of course content. Policies associated with competency-based education are summarized for the seven states in the Regional Educational Laboratory Central region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming), as well five states identified as being proactive in aligning their policies to support competency-based education (Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, and Oregon). This study also categorizes the different types of assistance and resources these states have provided to intentionally support competency-based education.

State laws and regulations were classified into the following three broad policy categories: credit flexibility, academic progression flexibility, and individual learning options. Identified categories of state-provided supports for competency-based education included informational and technical assistance resources, support for educational collaboratives, and funding for pilot programs and demonstration sites. Descriptions and examples of each policy and support category are provided. State and school administrators can use the information in this report to learn about the policies and supports in their state and others as they consider implementing competency-based education.
2/28/2017
REL 2017219 Rubric for evaluating reading/language arts instructional materials for kindergarten to grade 5
This rubric was developed in response to a request by Improving Literacy Research Alliance members at the Florida Department of Education to be used in their instructional materials review process. It is a tool for evaluating reading/language arts instructional and intervention materials in grades K–5 based on rigorous research and standards. It can be used by practitioners at the state, district, or school level or by university faculty involved in reviewing instructional materials. The rubric is organized by content area for grades K–2 and for grades 3–5. Each item is aligned to recommendations from six What Works Clearinghouse practice guides. Each content area (for example, writing) includes a list of criteria that describe what should be consistently found within the instructional materials. Reviewers use a 1–5 scale to rate the degree to which the criteria were met. The rubric includes a guide for when and how to use it, including facilitator responsibilities, professional learning for reviewers, and ways to use the scores. Alliance members and reading coaches involved in a statewide literacy initiative in Mississippi provided feedback on the rubric.
1/11/2017
REL 2016227 Professional learning communities facilitator's guide for the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast developed a Professional Learning Community (PLC) Facilitators Guide to support educators in the implementation of recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse's Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade Practice Guide. The practice guide focuses on the foundational reading skills that enable students to read words, relate those words to their oral language, and read connected text with sufficient accuracy and fluency to understand what they read. The practice guide, developed by a panel of experts comprised of researchers and practitioners, presents four recommendations that educators can use to improve literacy skills in the early grades.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are a form of professional development in which small groups of educators with shared interests work together with the goals of expanding their knowledge and improving their craft. REL Southeast developed PLC materials focused on the practice guide that were designed to assist a literacy leader in guiding a professional learning community in applying the recommendations from the practice guide. The materials include a facilitator's guide, participant activities, and videos. The facilitator's guide includes a framework for facilitators to conduct each of the ten PLC sessions. It also includes participant activities, discussion questions, small- and whole-group activities, and implementation and reflection activities. The participant's activities include reflection questions, lesson plan examples and templates, video-viewing guides, and sharing opportunities. The videos illustrate practices presented in the foundational reading skills practice guide.
9/20/2016
NCEE 20154006 School Practices and Accountability for Students With Disabilities
This study presents descriptive findings on school practices in 12 states during 2010–11 for elementary and middle schools explicitly held accountable for the performance of the students with disabilities (SWD) subgroup under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The study found that, when surveyed in 2011, elementary schools accountable for the SWD subgroup were 15.8 percentage-points more likely than never-accountable elementary schools to report moving students with disabilities from self-contained settings to regular classrooms over the previous five years. Middle schools accountable for the SWD subgroup were 16.7 percentage-points more likely than never-accountable middle schools to report moving students with disabilities from self-contained settings to regular classrooms over the previous five years.
2/10/2015
WWC IRLIT68 Carbo Reading Styles Program
The Carbo Reading Styles Program® is a literacy intervention for students in grades K–12 that aims to meet the individual needs of learners through assessment and tailoring of the instruction to students’ particular reading learning styles. The term “learning styles” refers to the concept that different students may need different instructional approaches. Students’ preferred learning styles are classified as auditory, visual, or kinesthetic (a style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity). The intervention uses the Reading Styles Inventory®, which determines a student’s learning style for reading and provides specific teaching recommendations that accommodate that style. Teachers receive training in the implementation of the Carbo Reading Styles Program® and a variety of teaching methods appropriate to the different reading styles of their students. The Carbo Reading Styles Program® can be used in individual and group settings as a primary or supplementary program. This review of the Carbo Reading Styles Program® for Beginning Reading focuses on students in grades K–3.
10/15/2014
WWC IRD579 Spelling Mastery
Spelling Mastery is a Direct Instruction curriculum designed to explicitly teach spelling skills to students in grades 1-6 by using phonemic, morphemic, and whole-word strategies. The WWC identified seven studies that investigated the effects of Spelling Mastery on writing achievement for students with learning disabilities. Two of those studies meet WWC evidence standards without reservations and included 70 students with learning disabilities in grades 2 through 4 in three elementary schools or receiving instruction at a summer program. Based on these two studies, the WWC found that Spelling Mastery has potentially positive effects on writing for students with learning disabilities.
1/28/2014
WWC IRM627 DreamBox Learning
DreamBox Learning is a supplemental online mathematics program that provides individualized instruction for students in grades K-5 and focuses on number and operations, place value, and number sense. The WWC identified 11 studies that investigated the effects of DreamBox Learning on the math performance of elementary school students, but only one meets WWC evidence standards. This study meets standards without reservations and included 557 elementary school students in kindergarten and first grade in three charter schools in San Jose, California. Based on this study, the WWC found that DreamBox Learning has no discernible effects on mathematics achievement for elementary school students.
12/10/2013
WWC IRL416 Reading Mastery
The WWC recently reviewed the research on Reading Mastery for beginning readers. The program is designed to provide systematic instruction in reading to students in grades K-6, however, the WWC found no rigorous research that shows it effectiveness for beginning readers. The Reading Mastery teaching routine involves modeling new content, providing guided practice, and implementing individual practice and application. Since the previous WWC report was released in August 2008, the WWC identified an additional 106 studies of Reading Mastery and its effects on beginning readers (grades K-3), bringing the total number of studies reviewed to 166. None of these studies meet WWC evidence standards for quality research. More research is needed to determine if Reading Mastery works for beginning readers.
11/26/2013
NCEE 20134019 After Two Years, Three Elementary Math Curricula Outperform a Fourth
The purpose of this report is to generate hypotheses for future research. The pattern of relationships between instructional patterns and student achievement is largely consistent with earlier research, but not in every case. Results that are less consistent with earlier research include lower achievement associated with: higher frequency of teachers eliciting multiple strategies and solutions; higher frequency of prompting a student to lead the class in a routine; and higher frequency of students asking each other questions.
9/30/2013
WWC IRM456 Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Elementary Mathematics
Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Elementary Mathematics is a core curriculum for students in prekindergarten through grade 6. The program aims to improve students' understanding of key math concepts through problem-solving instruction, hands-on activities, and math problems that involve reading and writing. The WWC found that Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Elementary Mathematics has mixed effects on mathematics achievement for elementary school students.
5/29/2013
WWC IRM447 Saxon Math
Saxon Math is a core curriculum for students in grades K-5 that uses an incremental approach for instruction and assessment. New concepts are introduced to students gradually and integrated with content that was previously presented, and students are given daily time to practice. The WWC found that Saxon Math has potentially positive effects on mathematics achievement for elementary school students.
5/29/2013
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