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May 2011

From the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)

Revamped Find What Works Tool Makes It Easier to Locate Scientific Evidence of What Works in Education

NCEE recently released a revamped Find What Works on its What Works Clearinghouse website. The new tool makes it easier for researchers and educators to find scientific evidence of what works in education by allowing them to search for and filter educational interventions by grade level, population, outcome domain, effectiveness, level of evidence, and program type.

With the new tool users can:

Find What Works presents search results in an easy-to-read table that combines graphics, symbols, and text. Users will be able to find the research that best meets their needs by comparing the improvement index, the extent of evidence, or the effectiveness rating across a number of different interventions. In addition to the graphical display, there are tabs that display descriptions of the program, research details, and links to the full report.

Regional Labs Focus on Rural Education

Did You Know?

By law, the RELs must devote at least 25 percent of their activities to rural school districts. Originally established in 1965, the RELs are designed to serve the educational needs of designated regions, using applied research, development, dissemination, and training and technical assistance, to bring the latest and best research and proven practices into school improvement efforts.

Following a busy 2010 that featured at least four major events or reports targeted toward rural school districts, the Regional Education Labs (RELs) have shown no signs of slowing down through the first quarter of 2011. The RELs, which operate out of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, have already released two studies—one focusing on a professional development system commonly used in rural districts and another studying spending and staffing patterns in rural schools—and recently held an event focusing on improving math and science outcomes for at-risk students in rural areas.

The event, which took place in early March and was hosted by REL Appalachia in South Boston, VA, featured speakers Russell Gersten of the Instruction Research Group (and author of the WWC Practice Guide on response to intervention for elementary and middle school mathematics) and Catherine Good of Baruch College. The purpose of the event was to engage rural school leaders in south-central Virginia interested in improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for their students. The one-day workshop was based upon two practice guides— Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools and Encouraging Girls in Math and Science.

Last year's activities also included the release of a randomized control study on the K-PAVE kindergarten language development program, a REL Midwest webinar on postsecondary access for rural students that was developed collaboratively with all 10 RELs, a conference on students, and an evaluation of student mobility in five central region states.