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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2020016 Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
This Kindergarten Teacher's Guide provides information for kindergarten teachers on how to support families as they practice foundational reading skills at home. It serves as a companion to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade. Both guides present four research-based recommendations and how-to steps: the WWC guide is for teaching children at school, and this guide is to help teachers support families in practicing foundational reading skills at home.
br/> The information in this Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide is designed to assist teachers in supporting out-of-school literacy activities that are aligned to classroom instruction, informed by student need, grounded in evidence-based practices, and facilitated by ongoing parent-teacher communication. The Teacher’s Guide provides a framework for literacy support activities presented during schools’ family literacy nights and parent-teacher conferences.
REL 2020015 Enrollment rates of children in universal prekindergarten programs in Vermont in 2016/17
The purpose of this study was to examine the enrollment patterns in Vermont's universal, mixed-delivery prekindergarten (preK) program and the child characteristics associated with the likelihood of being enrolled in different program types. This study describes the characteristics of children enrolled in universal preK programs in 2016/17, which was the first year of full implementation of universal preK in Vermont. Secondary data for 5,662 children enrolled in 282 preK programs were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Results showed that vulnerable children in preK—that is, those with individualized education programs and those identified as eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—were more likely to enroll in public school programs and in programs with higher quality ratings than their peers. While most children enrolled in a program within the geographic boundaries of their local education agency, children with individualized education programs and those identified as eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were more likely to do so. Overall, these findings indicate higher proportions of higher-needs students were enrolled in public school programs compared to private programs. In future efforts to examine how changes to Vermont’s preK program may affect families’ access to preK, Vermont could conduct additional research on how families make decisions about enrolling their children in different preK programs.
REL 2020013 Limited certificated teachers in Washington: Barriers to becoming fully certificated and needed supports
Many states, including Washington, are attempting to address teacher shortages by encouraging limited certificated teachers to become fully certificated. Before investing in efforts to support these teachers as they seek full certification, Washington policymakers want to understand more about their interests and needs. This study presents the findings of a statewide survey of limited certificated teachers in Washington. Survey results show that more than two-thirds of the limited certificated teachers who completed the survey expressed interest in becoming fully certificated, and many expressed interest in becoming fully certificated in subject areas that currently face staffing shortages. Those who expressed interest in becoming fully certificated identified substantial barriers to doing so, however, including time and financial concerns. This was particularly true for limited certificated teachers of color, who identified a broader range of supports they would need if they were to pursue full certification. These findings have important implications for the state’s effort to address teacher shortages and to increase the diversity of its teacher workforce.
REL 2020012 Children's knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry in Illinois: Results from the first statewide administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey
Starting in fall 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education required kindergarten teachers to use an observational kindergarten entry assessment called the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey. This study examined whether the measures formed using the assessment data were valid and reliable and described the means and variation in children's knowledge and skills at school entry. To inform future professional development on data collection and use, the study team also interviewed teachers and administrators about their experience with the assessment.
REL 2020006 Adoption of, enrollment in, and teacher workload for the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum in California high schools
The Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) is a college preparatory English language arts course designed to enhance the abilities of students through rhetorical analyses of compelling issues and interesting texts. In order to inform the organizations that support the infrastructure of the ERWC as they seek to make the ERWC more widely available across the state, this study was designed to explore the characteristics of schools that have adopted the ERWC, the characteristics of students enrolled in the course, and the teacher workloads for the course. The study was also intended to inform a wider audience of policymakers and educators who are interested in strengthening postsecondary readiness by expanding opportunities for high school students to take courses similar to the ERWC. This study used two data sources: 1) data collected by the Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing at the California State University Chancellor’s Office, which includes all the schools that have adopted the ERWC, and 2) data from the California Department of Education, which includes data on all courses taught at California public schools and the demographic characteristics of the students enrolled in each course.
REL 2020010 A review of instruments for measuring social and emotional learning skills among secondary school students
This purpose of this resource is to support state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments that measure collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulated learning among secondary school students. This resource, developed by the Regional Education Laboratory Northeast & Islands in collaboration with its Social and Emotional Learning Alliance, presents social and emotional learning instruments and the reliability and validity information available for those instruments. Specifically, this resource indicates whether psychometric information was available for reliability and seven components of validity—content, substantive, structural, external, generalizability, consequential, and fairness. To identify and review instruments, researchers conducted a literature search, determined the eligibility of instruments, reviewed the reliability and validity information available for eligible instruments; and determined whether the reliability and validity information provided met conventionally accepted criteria. In total, 17 instruments were eligible for inclusion in the resource. Eligible instruments included six measures of collaboration, four measures of perseverance, four measures of self-regulated learning, and three measures of both perseverance and self-regulated learning. With 12 instruments developed for use in research and 5 instruments developed for formative instruction, practitioners should use caution when using any measure for summative use that has not been developed and validated for that specific purpose. With schools and districts ramping up their efforts to measure social and emotional learning for formative and summative use, practitioners would benefit from the development of additional measures for these specific purposes. Among the 17 instruments eligible for inclusion in this resource, 16 instruments have information on reliability and at least one component of validity. The component of validity most commonly available for eligible instruments was content validity whereas only three instruments had information on fairness and no instruments had information on substantive validity. Practitioners should use caution when using instruments that lack information on substantive validity or fairness, since these measures may not be appropriate for all students that are evaluated.
REL 2020005 Associations between the qualifications of middle school Algebra I teachers and student math achievement
This report describes the associations between middle school teacher qualifications and student achievement in Algebra I. The authors used data provided by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Results suggest that the teacher qualification most strongly associated with middle school student achievement in Algebra I was performance on mathematics certification exams, followed by years of experience teaching mathematics. Teacher performance on mathematics certification exams and years of experience teaching mathematics were also strongly associated with achievement in Algebra I for under-represented and disadvantaged student subgroups.
REL 2019011 The postsecondary education and employment pathways of Minnesota public high school graduates: Investigating opportunity gaps
In Minnesota, as in many other states, not all students have access to the types of educational experiences in high school that are likely to lead to high-paying jobs. If Minnesota policymakers and practitioners are to be well positioned to reduce achievement gaps that lead to different career and college outcomes, they must have reliable data on the postsecondary pathways Minnesota public high school graduates take, as well as information about differences in pathways and outcomes for different groups of students. Members of the Midwest Career Readiness Research Alliance collaborated with Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to conduct a study that describes the postsecondary pathways of Minnesota public high school graduates, including the pathways graduates take within one year of high school graduation and their degree attainment and employment outcomes six years later. The study also examined differences in initial pathways, degree attainment, and employment outcomes for students with different characteristics. Using data from the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System, the study examined the initial postsecondary pathways of Minnesota public high school students who graduated from high school between 2008 and 2015. The study also examined the college certificate and degree attainment and employment outcomes of Minnesota public high school students who graduated from high school between 2008 and 2010. The study describes differences in initial postsecondary pathways, college certificate and degree attainment, and employment for students from different groups. The study found that within one year of high school graduation, nearly all Minnesota public high school graduates were enrolled in college or employed. There were differences in initial postsecondary pathway by student characteristics but not by rurality. Graduates who had disabilities, graduates who had limited English proficiency, Hispanic graduates, and American Indian/Alaska Native graduates were the most likely to be neither employed nor enrolled in college within one year of high school graduation. Six years after high school graduation, 48 percent of graduates had not earned a college certificate or degree. Thirty-seven percent of graduates had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11 percent of graduates had earned an associate’s degree, and 4 percent of graduates had earned a college certificate. In addition, six years after high school graduation, 71 percent of graduates were employed, and their median annual earnings were $22,717. Finally, there were differences in college certificate and degree attainment, employment, and earnings by student characteristics. These differences remained when comparing graduates who participated in the same initial postsecondary pathway.
REL 2019009 Past and projected trends in teacher demand and supply in Michigan
State and district leaders in Michigan have described a need for better and more comprehensive information on the existence and extent of teacher shortages within the state of Michigan in recent years and projected into the near future. Michigan has experienced challenges matching the active supply of teachers to the demand for the kinds of teachers that districts need. This study aims to provide a systematic understanding of teacher supply, demand, and shortages in Michigan. This study used data from the 2013/14 to 2017/18 school years to examine trends in teacher supply and demand in Michigan, and make projections for the next five years. Data used include personnel, certification, and substitute permit data from the Michigan Department of Education as well as publicly available data from the MI School Data portal and the federal Title II website. Methods used include descriptive statistics and regression analysis to project teacher supply and demand. The study found that total student enrollment in Michigan public schools declined by 2.8 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18, while the enrollment of English learner students increased by 27.1 percent over the five-year period. The size of the teacher workforce, as measured by teacher full-time equivalents, decreased by 2.1 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18. The number of newly certified, active teachers decreased by 23.4 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18. Although the overall active supply of teachers in Michigan public schools is projected to meet the demand over the next five years, shortages are expected in a few subject areas (for example, business education and career and technical education) and regions (for example, the Northwest and Upper Peninsula). Study findings suggest leverage points in teacher retention and certification to address potential teacher shortages. Moreover, efforts to increase the supply of qualified teachers should be focused on those subject areas, regions, and locales where shortages are projected.
REL 2019008 Factors related to teacher mobility and attrition in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota
This report describes teacher and school characteristics related to teacher movement within and out of public school systems in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota. Stakeholders in each of these states expressed interest in better understanding teacher mobility and attrition and related factors. The authors used administrative data provided by state education agencies to examine the characteristics related to the likelihood that teachers would move to different schools or leave state public school systems from 2015/16 to 2016/17. Results suggest that the likelihood of teachers either moving or leaving was most strongly related to age, years of experience in their schools or districts, special education teaching assignments, average salaries, school demographics and performance, and school state accountability designation. Information about factors that contribute to moving and leaving may help decision-makers improve the policy and practices aimed at attracting and keeping teachers.
REL 2019007 Math course sequences in grades 6–11 and math achievement in Mississippi
The purpose of this study was to examine how students in Mississippi met their mathematics requirements and the extent to which their mathematics sequence is related to student performance and demographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity. The study used data from the Mississippi Department of Education over a six-year period, beginning in 2011/12 and ending in 2016/17. The sample includes all students enrolled in grade 11 in Mississippi public high schools during the 2016/17 school year who had scores on the ACT Mathematics in grade 11 and recorded coursework in grade 6. Sequence analysis was used to summarize and then cluster the mathematics course-taking experience, or mathematics sequence, of these students in grades 6-11. Classification and regression tree analysis facilitated the identification of associations between mathematics sequence, student demographic characteristics, and college-ready performance on the ACT Mathematics in grade 11. Results indicate that membership in a particular mathematics sequence cluster did not improve the classification accuracy of the decision tree predicting risk status over and above the use of student achievement in grade 5 and student race. That these differences have less association with college-ready performance than student grade 5 mathematics achievement suggests a need to focus on prevention efforts before grade 6. Algebra I is often viewed as the gatekeeper course, but it is also possible that mathematics preparation at the elementary level sets a student on the path to taking Algebra I earlier in their mathematics sequence. While this study did not explore the quality of mathematics curriculum and instruction at the secondary level, the results of this study underscore the importance of mathematics instruction at the elementary level.
REL 2019004 Technology use in instruction and teacher perceptions of school support for technology use in Iowa high schools
A growing national consensus shows the need for educational systems to prepare students to succeed in working environments and society of the 21st century. Recognizing this need, Iowa school districts have invested in technology to assist in addressing the expectations of the Iowa Core Standards related to 21st century skills. The rural districts served by the Central Rivers Area Education Agency (Central Rivers AEA) and three high schools formed the Iowa Learning and Technology Networked Improvement Community (Iowa NIC) to promote effective use of these technology resources. To inform these improvement efforts, the Iowa NIC requested that REL Midwest conduct a descriptive research study to describe the extent to which teachers are using technology to support the development of 21st century skills and describe teacher perceptions and school supports related to technology integration. The study team obtained teacher survey data and school data from Central Rivers AEA. The study examined proportion of teachers emphasizing each of the four 21st century skills (that is, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking). In addition, the study performed tests to determine which groups of teachers (for example, by subject area taught) differed in their responses for a given topic area. The proportions of teachers asking students to use technology to support the development of 21st century skills differed across the four skills, as well as across subject areas taught and teacher experience. Specifically, half or nearly half of the teachers emphasized the use of technology for collaboration or critical thinking at least monthly. By contrast, less than a fourth of the teachers emphasized the use of technology for communication or creativity at least monthly.
REL 2019003 Student and school characteristics associated with academic performance and English language proficiency among English learner students in grades 3–8 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has witnessed an increase in the number of English learner students in grades K–12 over recent years, with students coming from more diverse backgrounds in race/ethnicity, countries of origin, and native language. This requires more support from the district to meet diverse needs in terms of languages, cultures, and educational supports. The Cleveland Partnership for English Learner Success—a partnership among CMSD's Multilingual Multicultural Education office, the research office and researchers from Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest—has prioritized identifying English learner student and school characteristics associated with student achievement and language proficiency. This will provide a step toward improving district and school supports for English learner students. Student and school data from 2011/12 through 2016/17 were obtained from the district administrative records. The study examined means and percentages of student and school characteristics and student achievement of English learner students in grades 3–8 from school years 2011/12 through 2016/17. The study team examined these characteristics for English learner students in grades 3–8 each year separately, enabling the team to identify stable patterns while helping to uncover changes over time.
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.
REL 2019001 Teacher retention, mobility, and attrition in Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota
This report describes rural and nonrural teacher movement within and out of public school systems in Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. All four states have high proportions of rural districts and schools. The authors used administrative data provided by state education agencies to examine the percentages of teachers who stayed in the same school, moved to a different school or district, or left a teaching position. Results suggest that the proportions of stayers, movers, and leavers in these states were similar to national statistics and varied substantially across districts within states.
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