Tag Archives: Institute of Education Sciences

Institute of Education Sciences study: States lack capacity to improve failing schools

10 May

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.

Lyndsey Layton wrote in the Washington Post article, Most states lacked expertise to improve worst schools:

The Obama administration handed out more than $3 billion to the states and the District of Columbia to help them turn around their worst-performing schools as part of the federal stimulus spending that took place after the 2008 recession.

But most states lacked the capacity to improve those schools, according to a new analysis by federal researchers.

Although turning around the worst schools was a priority for nearly every state, most did not have the staff, technology and expertise to pull those schools out of the bottom rankings, according to a brief released Tuesday by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Education Department.

With funds allocated by Congress under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Obama administration spent $3.5 million on School Improvement Grants to states, directing them to focus the money on their lowest-performing schools.

School Improvement Grants had been part of No Child Left Behind, the 2002 federal education law. But stimulus spending increased the budget for the grants sixfold.

Under the Obama administration, schools could receive up to $2 million annually for three years. The money was divided among the states and D.C. according a federal formula. About 1,500 schools received grants.

Any school accepting a grant had to agree to adopt one of four strategies favored by the administration: Replace the principal and at least 50 percent of the staff; close the school and enroll students in another, better-performing school; close the school and reopen it as a charter school; or transform the school through new instructional strategies and other techniques.

While 84 percent of states told the researchers that improving the worst schools was a top priority, 58 percent said it was one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Eighty percent of states and the District told federal researchers that their states had at least one significant gap in expertise needed to significantly improve the worst schools….
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/most-states-lacked-expertise-to-improve-worst-schools/2015/05/05/0eb82b98-f35f-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html

Here is the abstract:

State Capacity to Support School Turnaround

One objective of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) program is to help states enhance their capacity to support the turnaround of low-performing schools. This capacity may be important, given how difficult it is to produce substantial and sustained achievement gains in low-performing schools. There is limited existing research on the extent to which states have the capacity to support school turnaround and are pursuing strategies to enhance that capacity. This brief documents states’ capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013. It examines capacity issues for all states and for those that reported both prioritizing turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Key findings, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia, include the following:

• More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools.
• 38 states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013.
• More than 85 percent of states reported using strategies to enhance their capacity to support school turnaround, with the use of intermediaries decreasing over time and the use of organizational or administrative structures increasing over time.
• States that reported both prioritizing school turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it were no more likely to report using intermediaries than other states but all 21 of these states reported having at least one organizational or administrative structure compared with 86 percent (25 of 29) of all other states.

View, download, and print the report as a PDF file (2.8 MB)
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20154012/pdf/20154012.pdf

Here is the press release:

Press Release

New Brief by AIR, Mathematica Experts Examines States’ Capacity to Support Turnaround in Low-Performing Schools

A new research brief released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) documents states’ capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013. The brief found that at least three-quarters of states reported having “significant gaps” in expertise to support turning around low-performing schools.

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) May 05, 2015

A new research brief released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) documents states’ capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013.
The study found that at least three-quarters of states reported having “significant gaps” in expertise to support turning around low-performing schools.

The brief resulted from collaboration between experts at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Mathematica Policy Research. It is the fourth brief in a large-scale evaluation of School Improvement Grant (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) programs
.
“Improving low-performing schools does not happen overnight,” said Courtney Tanenbaum, a senior researcher at AIR. “Turning them around is a complex and challenging endeavor. So it is not surprising that states would feel a need for more support in this area.”
Through structured telephone interviews with administrators in 49 states and the District of Columbia, the study found:

• More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent of all states found turnaround very difficult.
• Thirty-eight states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 states (80 percent) in 2013.
• More than 85 percent of states reported using strategies to enhance their capacity to support school turnaround. The use of intermediaries decreased over time, and the use of organizational or administrative structures increased over time.
• Twenty-one states reported prioritizing school turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Although these states were no more likely to use intermediaries than other states, all 21 reported having at least one organizational or administrative structure to improve their capacity to support turnaround, compared with 86 percent (25 of 29) of other states.

“States can play an important role in tackling the challenges of school turnaround, for example, by arranging external support to address barriers to improvement,” said Susanne James-Burdumy, Mathematica senior fellow and director of the evaluation. “For this reason, SIG and RTT provided resources to improve state capacity to support turnaround, but concerns linger about state capacity to continue that support once SIG and RTT funding runs out. Our brief sheds light on the specific capacity constraints states are facing and where additional supports could be warranted.”
To view the full report, go to http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20154012/.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit http://www.air.org.
About Mathematica Policy Research

Mathematica Policy Research seeks to improve public well-being by conducting studies and assisting clients with program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, research assessment and interpretation, and program performance/data analytics and management. Its clients include foundations, federal and state governments, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company is headquartered in Princeton, NJ, with offices in Ann Arbor, MI; Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; Oakland, CA; and Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://www.mathematica-mpr.com.
Andrew Brownstein
American Institutes for Research
+1 (202) 403-6043

Andrew J. Rotherham wrote in the Time article, Can Parents Take Over Schools? http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/08/can-parents-take-over-schools/#ixzz1ygVQ5kIA
The point is, there is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is what works to produce academic achievement in a given population of children.

Related:
Teacher Cooperatives
http://educationnext.org/teacher-cooperatives/

Can Teachers Run Their Own Schools?
http://charlestkerchner.com/

Can Teachers Run Schools?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-vander-ark/can-teachers-run-schools_b_803312.html

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Council of Chief State School Officers attempts to define English-learner

31 Aug

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, many children are learning English. In Fast Facts, they report:
English language learners

Question:
Do you have information on children who speak a language other than English at home?
Response:
The number of school-age children (children ages 5–17) who spoke a language other than English at home rose from 4.7 to 11.2 million between 1980 and 2009, or from 10 to 21 percent of the population in this age range. From 2006 to 2009, this percentage remained between 20 and 21 percent. After increasing from 4 to 7 percent between 1980 and 2000, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty decreased to 5 percent in 2009.
Among school-age children who spoke a non-English language at home, the percentage who spoke English with difficulty generally decreased between 1980 and 2009. For example, 41 percent of these children spoke English with difficulty in 1980, compared with 36 percent in 2000, some 25 percent in 2006, and 24 percent in 2009. School enrollment patterns have also changed over time for these children: the enrollment rate increased from 90 to 93 percent between 1980 and 2009.
In 2009, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty varied by demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, citizenship status, poverty status, and age. Sixteen percent each of Hispanics and Asians spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty, compared with 6 percent of Pacific Islanders, 3 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 1 percent each of Whites, Blacks, and children of two or more races.
Concerning differences by age, the percentage of 5- to 9-year-olds who spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty (7 percent) was greater than the percentages of 10- to 13-year-olds and 14- to-17-year-olds who did so (4 percent each). These patterns by age held across most demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-045), Indicator 6.
Related Tables and Figures: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2012, Digest of Education Statistics 2011, Table 134. Average reading scale scores of 4th- and 8th-graders in public schools and percentage scoring at or above selected reading achievement levels, by English language learner (ELL) status and state: 2011
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_134.asp
• 2009, Number and percentage of all schools that had any students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or who were limited-English proficient (LEP) and percentage of students with an IEP or who were LEP, by school type and selected school characteristics: 2007–08
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009321/tables/sass0708_2009321_s12n_02.asp
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2010, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS): This survey includes three longitudinal studies that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences.
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009321/tables/sass0708_2009321_s12n_02.asp
• 2010, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): This site provides access to publications and data on the reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and arts achievement of U.S. 4th-,8th-, and 12th-grade students.
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/
• 2010, National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES): This site provides access to publications and data on learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.
http://nces.ed.gov/nhes/
• 2010, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS): This site offers extensive data on American public and private elementary and secondary schools.
http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=96

There are many reasons that children should learn English.

5 minute English lists reasons that children should learn English in Why Learn English: 10 Reasons to Learn English:

1. English is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers. Throughout the world, when people with different languages come together they commonly use English to communicate.

2. Why learn English when it is so difficult? Well, knowing English will make you bilingual and more employable in every country in the world.

3. Despite China, the United States is still a leader in technical innovation and economic development. English is used in the United States and in each of these fields.

4. English is commonly spoken throughout much of the world due to Great Britian’s expansion during the colonial age. People in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, parts of Africa, India, and many smaller island nations speak English. English is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Speaking English opens these countries and cultures up to you.

5. Another reason why English is so important is that it is the language of science. To excel in science you need to know English.

6. English is based on an alphabet and, compared to Chinese, it can be learned fairly quickly.

7. English is also the language of the Film Industry and English means you no longer have to rely on subtitles.

8. In the United States, speaking English immediately opens up opportunities regardless of your ethnicity, color, or background.

9. Learn English and you can then teach your children English — or if they are already learning, you can now communicate with them in English.

10. English speakers in the United States earn more money than non-English speakers. Learning English will open your job prospects and increase your standard of living.
http://www.5minuteenglish.com/why-learn-english.htm

Schools must define English-learner in order to educate these children.

Lesli A. Maxwell reported in the Education Week article, New Guide To Help States Commonly Define English-Learners:

With a just-released set of recommendations from the Council of Chief State School Officers to help guide them, most states are now set to embark on an effort to bring much more uniformity to identifying who English-learners are and when those students are no longer in need of language instruction. The goal is to move all states to a more consistent playing field over the next two years.
Doing so would upend current practice, which for decades has had states and local school districts using very different approaches to identifying ELLs and reclassifying them as fluent. It would also lead, experts say, to much more comparability among states and districts for how well they are serving this growing population of students.
“If we can move states toward more coherence around English-learners, that is only going to improve services for these students,” said Robert Linquanti, a senior research associate at WestEd, a San Francisco-based research organization, and a co-author of the CCSSO policy recommendations.
The U.S. Department of Education is an important driver of the states’ effort to move toward a more consistent approach to identifying and reclassifying English-learners.
States belonging to the consortia that are designing shared assessments for the Common Core State Standards—as well as the two groups developing new English-language-proficiency tests—agreed, as a condition of receiving federal grant money for those endeavors, to work together to establish more uniform definitions of ELLs.
The hope is that even states not participating in any of the assessment groups will be part of the effort, especially Texas, where more than 800,000 English-learners attend public schools….
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2013/08/new_guide_for_states_on_how_to.html?intc=es

Citation:

Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options
Publication date August 2013
publication pdf Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options

Link http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2013/Toward_a_Common_Definition_2013.pdf

States participating in the four federally-funded assessment consortia are required to establish a “common definition of English Learner.” This includes the two Race to the Top academic assessment consortia and the two Enhanced Assessment Grant English language proficiency (ELP) assessment consortia. This paper provides guidance that consortium member states can use to move toward establishing a common English learner definition in ways that are theoretically-sound, evidence-based, pragmatic, and sensitive to the many policy, technical, and legal issues.
Specifically, the paper briefly outlines central issues, and discusses policy and technical options, for defining English learners using a four-stage framework of key criteria and processes to:
• Identify a student as a potential English learner;
• Classify (confirm/disconfirm) a student as an English learner;
• Establish an “English-language proficient” performance standard on the state/consortium ELP test against which to assess ELs’ English-language proficiency; and
• Reclassify a student to former-EL status through the use of multiple exit criteria.
Contact:Shannon Glynnshannon.glynn@ccsso.org
http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2013/Toward_a_Common_Definition_2013.pdf

Here is the conclusion and summary of recommendations:

Conclusion

The complex policy and technical issues involved in developing a common EL definition are going to require a well-defined roadmap of processes and decisions for all consortia members to enact over time. Given the different permutation of states involved in the four consortia, this work is best engaged via close coordination and frequent communication within and across consortia. All phases and criteria — including initial identification, classification, and reclassification — will need to be addressed, using all consortia assessments.
It is prudent to approach the issue of creating a common definition of an English learner as a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process. As assessments come on line, teachers begin to teach to the Common Core State Standards, and educational systems align to the expectations of college- and career-readiness, a refined understanding of English language proficiency will emerge. States and the consortia to which they belong should plan now for this process. To that end, a forthcoming paper under the sponsorship of CCSSO’s English Language Learner (ELL) Assessment Advisory Committee will offer further guidance on issues and opportunities described above, and discuss how states and consortia might proceed toward a common definition of English Learner.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Consortia states should adopt a common, standardized, and validated Home Language Survey, which can be used to identify potential ELs.
2. States within a given consortium (ELP or academic) should have consistent initial EL classification tools and procedures, or, in the case of states in overlapping (ELP and academic) consortia, demonstrate that their tools and procedures lead to comparable initial EL classification results.
3. States within and across consortia should clearly establish what “English proficient” means on all ELP assessments used. In doing so, they should carefully consider how differing composite score domain weights affect claims about comparability of the “English proficient” performance standard across ELP measures.
4. Consortia states should identify a theoretically sound, empirically informed performance standard or performance range on any commonly shared ELP assessment. In doing so, they should examine the relationship of both ELP and academic content assessment results.
5. Consortia states should move toward comparable, standardized and validated reclassification criteria, in addition to ELP assessment results, that schools and districts might use in EL reclassification decisions.
6. Consortia states, the US Department of Education, and federal and state policymakers should recognize that establishing a common definition of English learner will require a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process.

It is important to educate ALL children.

The Global Partnership for Education lists reasons why education is important in The Value of Education:

The Value of Education
Investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty.
Girls and boys who learn to read, write and count will provide a better future for their families and countries. With improved education, so many other areas are positively affected. In short, education has the power to make the world a better place.
Education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future and is critical to reducing poverty and inequality:
• Education gives people critical skills and tools to help them better provide for themselves and their children
• Education helps people work better and can create opportunities for sustainable and viable economic growth now and into the future
• Education helps fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, reduces mother and child mortality and helps improve health
• Education encourages transparency, good governance, stability and helps fight against graft and corruption.
The impact of investment in education is profound: education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty.
Here is a breakdown of the impact of education on people’s lives:
• Income and Growth
• Health
• Gender Equality
• Other
Education is the key to unlocking a country’s potential for economic growth:
• If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is equal to a 12% cut in global poverty. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p. 8)
• One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.7)
• Wages, agricultural income and productivity – all critical for reducing poverty – are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education. (EFA GMR, UNESCO p. 4)
• Each additional year of schooling raises average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.37%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.6)
• An increase of one standard deviation in student scores on international assessments of literacy and mathematics is associated with a 2% increase in annual GDP per capita growth. (World Bank, p.32)
http://www.globalpartnership.org/who-we-are/the-value-of-education/

ALL children have a right to a good basic education.

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