Tag Archives: School Reform

Ohio State University study: Why relationships — not money — are the key to improving schools

28 Oct

In New research: School principal effectiveness, moi said: The number one reason why teachers leave the profession has to do with working conditions. A key influencer of the environment of a school and the working conditions is the school principal.
Gregory Branch, Eric Hanushek, and Steven Rivkin are reporting in the National Centerfor Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research report, Estimating Principal Effectiveness:

VI. Conclusion
An important facet of many school policy discussions is the role of strong leadership, particularly of principals. Leadership is viewed as especially important in revitalizing failing schools. This discussion is, however, largely uninformed by systematic analysis of principals and their impact on student outcomes….
The initial results suggest that principal movements parallel teacher movements. Specifically, principals are affected by the racial and achievement distribution of students in schools, and this enters into mobility patterns. Yet the common view that the best leave the most needy schools is not supported.
An important element of the role of principals is how they interact with teachers. Our on-going analysis links principals to measures of teacher effectiveness to understand how principals affect teacher outcomes. http://www.caldercenter.org/upload/CALDER-Working-Paper-32_FINAL.pdf
See, Principals Matter: School Leaders Can Drive Student Learning http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Karin%20Chenoweth/principals-matter-school-_b_1252598.html?ref=email_share

In lay person speak; what they are saying is that a strong principal is a strong leader for his or her particular school. A strong principal is particularly important in schools which face challenges. Now, we get into the manner in which strong principals interact with their staff – is it an art or is it a science? What makes a good principal can be discussed and probably depends upon the perspective of those giving an opinion, but Gary Hopkins of Education World summarizes the thoughts of some educators:

Top Ten Traits of School Leaders
Last month, 43 of the Education World Principal Files principals participated in a survey. The result of that survey is this list of the top ten traits of school leaders, presented in order of importance.
1. Has a stated vision for the school and a plan to achieve that vision.
2. Clearly states goals and expectations for students, staff, and parents.
3. Is visible — gets out of the office; is seen all over the school.
4. Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.
5. Helps develop leadership skills in others.
6. Develops strong teachers; cultivates good teaching practice.
7. Shows that he or she is not in charge alone; involves others.
8. Has a sense of humor.
9. Is a role model for students and staff.
10. Offers meaningful kindnesses and kudos to staff and students.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin190.shtml

These traits can be summarized that a strong principal is a leader with a vision for his or her school and who has the drive and the people skills to take his or her teachers and students to that vision. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/new-research-school-principal-effectiveness/

Science Daily reported in Why relationships — not money — are the key to improving schools:

Strong relationships between teachers, parents and students at schools has more impact on improving student learning than does financial support, new research shows.

Social capital is the name scientists give to the network of relationships between school officials, teachers, parents and the community that builds trust and norms promoting academic achievement.
The study found that social capital had a three- to five-times larger effect than financial capital on reading and math scores in Michigan schools.

“When we talk about why some schools perform better than others, differences in the amount of money they have to spend is often assumed to be an explanation,” said Roger Goddard, co-author of the study and Novice G. Fawcett Chair and professor of educational administration at The Ohio State University.
“We found that money is certainly important. But this study also shows that social capital deserves a larger role in our thinking about cost-effective ways to support students, especially the most vulnerable.”
Goddard conducted the research with Serena Salloum of Ball State University and Dan Berebitsky of Southern Methodist University. The study appears online in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk and will be published in a future print edition.
The study involved 5,003 students and their teachers in 78 randomly selected public elementary schools in Michigan. The sample is representative of the demographics of all elementary schools in the state.
Teachers completed a questionnaire that measured levels of social capital in their schools. They rated how much they agreed with statements like “Parent involvement supports learning here,” “Teachers in this school trust their students” and “Community involvement facilitates learning here.”
State data on instructional expenditures per pupil was used to measure financial capital at each school.
Finally, the researchers used student performance on state-mandated fourth-grade reading and mathematics tests to measure student learning.
Results showed that on average schools that spent more money did have better test scores than those that spent less. But the effect of social capital was three times larger than financial capital on math scores and five times larger on reading scores….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181025103300.htm

Citation:

Why relationships — not money — are the key to improving schools
Study finds social capital has 3-5 times the impact of funding
Date: October 25, 2018
Source: Ohio State University
Summary:
Strong relationships between teachers, parents and students at schools has more impact on improving student learning than does financial support, new research shows. The study found that social capital had a three- to five-times larger effect than financial capital on reading and math scores in Michigan schools.
Journal Reference:
Serena J. Salloum, Roger D. Goddard, Dan Berebitsky. Resources, Learning, and Policy: The Relative Effects of Social and Financial Capital on Student Learning in Schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10824669.2018.1496023

Here is the press release from Ohio State:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 25-OCT-2018
Why relationships — not money — are the key to improving schools
Study finds social capital has 3-5 times the impact of funding
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Strong relationships between teachers, parents and students at schools has more impact on improving student learning than does financial support, new research shows.
Social capital is the name scientists give to the network of relationships between school officials, teachers, parents and the community that builds trust and norms promoting academic achievement.
The study found that social capital had a three- to five-times larger effect than financial capital on reading and math scores in Michigan schools.
“When we talk about why some schools perform better than others, differences in the amount of money they have to spend is often assumed to be an explanation,” said Roger Goddard, co-author of the study and Novice G. Fawcett Chair and professor of educational administration at The Ohio State University.
“We found that money is certainly important. But this study also shows that social capital deserves a larger role in our thinking about cost-effective ways to support students, especially the most vulnerable.”
Goddard conducted the research with Serena Salloum of Ball State University and Dan Berebitsky of Southern Methodist University. The study appears online in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk and will be published in a future print edition.
The study involved 5,003 students and their teachers in 78 randomly selected public elementary schools in Michigan. The sample is representative of the demographics of all elementary schools in the state.
Teachers completed a questionnaire that measured levels of social capital in their schools. They rated how much they agreed with statements like “Parent involvement supports learning here,” “Teachers in this school trust their students” and “Community involvement facilitates learning here.”
State data on instructional expenditures per pupil was used to measure financial capital at each school.
Finally, the researchers used student performance on state-mandated fourth-grade reading and mathematics tests to measure student learning.
Results showed that on average schools that spent more money did have better test scores than those that spent less. But the effect of social capital was three times larger than financial capital on math scores and five times larger on reading scores.
“Social capital was not only more important to learning than instructional expenditures, but also more important than the schools’ poverty, ethnic makeup or prior achievement,” Goddard said.
While social capital tended to go down in schools as poverty levels increased, it wasn’t a major decrease.
“We could see from our data that more than half of the social capital that schools have access to has nothing to do with the level of poverty in the communities they serve,” he said.
“Our results really speak to the importance and the practicality of building social capital in high-poverty neighborhoods where they need it the most.”
The study also found that the money spent on student learning was not associated with levels of social capital in schools. That means schools can’t “buy” social capital just by spending more money. Social relationships require a different kind of investment, Goddard said.
The study can’t answer how to cultivate social capital in schools. But Goddard has some ideas.
One is for schools to do more to help teachers work together.
“Research shows that the more teachers collaborate, the more they work together on instructional improvement, the higher the test scores of their students. That’s because collaborative work builds social capital that provides students with access to valuable support,” he said.
Building connections to the community is important, too. School-based mentoring programs that connect children to adults in the community is one idea.
“Sustained interactions over time focused on children’s learning and effective teaching practice are the best way for people to build trust and build networks that are at the heart of social capital,” Goddard said.
“We need intentional effort by schools to build social capital. We can’t leave it to chance.”
###
Contact: Roger Goddard, 614-292-3239; Goddard.9@osu.edu
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, 614-292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Schools must be relentless about the basics for their population of kids.

What does it mean to Be Relentless about the Basics?
1. Students acquire strong subject matter skills in reading, writing, and math.
2. Students are assessed often to gauge where they are in acquiring basic skills.
3. If there are deficiencies in acquiring skills, schools intervene as soon as a deficiency assessment is made.
4. Schools intervene early in life challenges faced by students which prevent them from attending school and performing in school.
5. Appropriate corrective assistance is provided by the school to overcome both academic and life challenges.

Resources:

The Performance Indicators for Effective Principal Leadership in Improving Student Achievement
http://mdk12.org/process/leading/p_indicators.html

Effective Schools: Managing the Recruitment, Development, and Retention of High-quality Teachers
http://www.caldercenter.org/upload/Effective-Schools_CALDER-Working-Paper-37-3.pdf

What makes a great principal?
http://www.greatschools.org/improvement/quality-teaching/189-what-makes-a-great-principal-an-audio-slide-show.gs

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Promoting positive peer pressure: The Posse Foundation

7 Jun

Moi wrote in It’s the culture and the values, stupid:
Every week in the Seattle Stranger there is a column I, Anonymous , which gives one reader the chance to rant anonymously about any topic or person that has provoked such a reaction that venting and a good old fashion rant is necessary. Sometimes, the rants are poetic or touching. Most of the time, they are just plain hilarious. This is a past rant, which is from a teacher, not an educator:

I say hello with a big smile every morning as you shuffle in the door, but I secretly seethe with hatred for almost each and every one of you. Your stupidity and willful ignorance know no bounds. I have seen a lot of morons in my 10 years of teaching high school, but you guys take the cake. Your intellectual curiosity is nonexistent, your critical thinking skills are on par with that of a head trauma victim, and for a group of people who have never accomplished anything in their lives, you sure have a magnified sense of entitlement. I often wonder if your parents still wipe your asses for you, because you certainly don’t seem to be able to do anything on your own.
A handful of you are nice, sweet kids. That small group will go on and live a joyful and intellectual life filled with love, adventure, and discovery. The vast majority of you useless fuckwits will waste your life and follow in the footsteps of your equally pathetic parents. Enjoy your future of wage slavery and lower-middle-class banality.
Amazing how teachers are blamed for the state of education in this country. Look what you give us to work with. I am done trying to teach the unteachable.

Moi doesn’t blame most teachers for the state of education in this country, but puts the blame on the culture and the unprepared and disengaged parents that culture has produced. Moi also blames a culture of moral relativism as well which says there really are no preferred options. There are no boundaries, I can do what I feel is right for ME. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/04/its-the-culture-and-the-values-stupid/

Carolee J. Adams reported in the Education Week article, Posse program puts social motivation to good use:

The Posse Foundation chooses diverse groups of high school seniors from nine major cities who have strong leadership skills and academic potential but who may not have stellar test scores and could be overlooked in the traditional college-selection process. Besides New York, the cities involved are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and Washington. The selected students are given full-tuition scholarships by one of 51 elite partner institutions, including Vanderbilt University in Nashville; Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and the University of California, Berkeley. Last year, 15,000 students were nominated by their schools for 670 scholarships, which are not need-based.
It’s a sought-after scholarship, in part because of the results. While typical college-graduation rates hover around 57 percent, about 90 percent of Posse scholars finish in four years. And nearly 80 percent of Posse scholars have either founded an organization or been the president of an existing organization on campus.
The foundation has basked in some high-level attention of late. President Barack Obama mentioned the success of a Posse scholar in this year’s State of the Union Address and highlighted the foundation’s work at the recent White House summit on college access for disadvantaged students.
Rooted in Research
Research shows that cohort models and learning communities can help students academically and socially.
“Students who share an experience together, especially an educational one, tend to do better together,” said Vincent Tinto, the author of “Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action” and a professor emeritus at Syracuse University, in New York. It’s critical to focus efforts on helping students get off to a solid start in the beginning of college, said Mr. Tinto. Of all students who leave college before getting a degree, nearly half do so before the start of the second year, he added.
The Posse Foundation is one of many initiatives that use social levers to motivate students. The nonprofit College for Every Student, based in Essex, N.Y., works with 20,000 students in 24 states to promote student success through peer mentoring and leadership training. The St. Paul, Minn.-based College Possible helps groups of low-income students navigate the college-application process together and extends that support with coaches through the first year of college. And, in an effort to retain students, campuses are trying peer-mentoring programs, among other interventions, to nurture perseverance…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/06/05/34peerpower.h33.html?intc=EW-DPCT14-EWH

Here is a bit about the Posse Program:

College Access and Leadership Development
Founded in 1989, Posse identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. Posse partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.
A worthwhile investment
For 25 years, Posse partner colleges and universities have welcomed Posse Scholars onto their campuses. They have awarded an incredible $687 million in leadership scholarships to these young people and have seen their success not only as leaders on campus, but in these students’ 90 percent persistence and graduation rate. Posse’s partners are investing time, energy and resources in the promotion of equity in education and social justice. They believe in the intelligence, talent and dreams of young people who might not always show up on their radar screens, and are giving them a chance to excel. http://www.possefoundation.org/about-posse

Here is a bit about the career component:

Preparing Scholars to excel in the workforce
One of the primary aims of The Posse Foundation is to train the leaders of tomorrow. The Career Program provides Posse Scholars with the tools and opportunities needed to secure the most competitive and career-enhancing internships and jobs. In order to achieve this, Posse partners with exceptional companies and organizations worldwide. The Career Program has three core components: 1) The Internship Program, 2) Career Services, and 3) The Alumni Network.
Internship Program
The Career Program is a powerful way for industry-leading companies and organizations to make a significant contribution to the development of tomorrow’s leaders. Posse partners with these organizations, which in turn provide meaningful internship opportunities to Posse Scholars. These internships are essential to Scholars’ professional development and success. Many of these Career Partners offer a comprehensive program involving mentorship, professional development opportunities and performance evaluations. Posse currently has more than 175 career partners.
SCHOLARS
To apply for the Posse Summer Leadership Award, visit the Posse Job/Internship Board to review the guidelines for your Posse city. You will need to upload your resume and a completed PSLA application form onto the Posse Job/Internship Board for your application to be complete.
Career Services
Career Services offers career planning assistance to Posse Scholars. The Career Program develops workshops that focus on resume writing, interviewing skills and other professional development areas. These sessions are offered during the summer and winter breaks. This component aims to educate Posse Scholars about potential careers and to guide them through the process, from targeting an industry to securing a job.
Alumni Network
Posse alumni remain actively involved with the Foundation. As leaders, they are succeeding in a variety of fields in the workforce. Posse alumni are doctors, teachers, engineers, graduate students, lawyers, social workers and bankers. Of Posse alumni with two or more years of professional experience, 41 percent have a graduate degree or are currently pursuing a graduate degree. Posse alumni also act as an excellent resource for each other and for current Posse Scholars. http://www.possefoundation.org/our-career-program

In Paul E. Peterson will piss you off, you might want to listen, moi said:
Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children, after all, you and your child should not be raising each other.

Moi said this in Hard truths: The failure of the family:
This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of Katrina, the real genocide is self-inflicted. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/ It is interesting that the ruling elites do not want to touch the issue of unwed births with a ten thousand foot pole. After all, that would violate some one’s right to _____. Let moi fill in the blank, the right to be stupid, probably live in poverty, and not be able to give your child the advantages that a more prepared parent can give a child because to tell you to your face that you are an idiot for not using birth control is not P.C. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/paul-e-peterson-will-piss-you-off-you-might-want-to-listen/

It will not be popular on many fronts to acknowledge that motivation and effort are also part of the academic achievement solution.

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MDRC study: ‘Success for All’ shows promise

1 Nov

Moi wrote in Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform:
Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein. In Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein report about American Education, moi said
The Council on Foreign Relations has issued the report, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The chairs for the report are Joel I. Klein, News Corporation and Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University. Moi opined about the state of education in U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/u-s-education-failure-running-out-of-excuses/ Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

Sarah D. Sparks wrote in the Education Week article, v:

One of the biggest early bets in the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation prShows Promise in First i3 Evaluationogram seems to be paying off: Success for All, a literacy-related, whole-school improvement model, shows signs of changing teaching practice and boosting students’ early-literacy skills after a year in schools.
The findings come from a new study by the New York City-based research group MDRC, the first of three installments in an ongoing $6.7 million evaluation of Success for All, a popular school-improvement model used in 1,000 schools representing 300,000 students nationwide. The program, which includes schoolwide curriculum, tutors, bimonthly student assessments, and teacher training, received $49.3 million from the federal i3 program in 2009 to expand its school improvement model and increase training for teachers and staff.
A year after 19 K-5 and K-6 schools in four states were randomly selected to launch the program in the 2011-12 school year, MDRC researchers found that kindergartners in those schools significantly outperformed demographically similar peers in a control group of 18 schools in a standardized test of phonics, the Woodcock-Johnson Word Attack. Success for All students got a boost roughly equal to 12 percent of the average annual growth for a kindergartner. Moreover, the same benefits were found for poor and minority students.
Painting a Picture of Teacher Practice
In the classroom, teachers at Success for All schools differed from those in the control-group schools in a number of ways. They were more likely, for example, to group and regroup students by ability for reading lessons—even across grades.
Those benefits are in line with the learning gains found in previous studies of Success for All, which has been studied extensively since its founding in 1987, but the MDRC study “goes into more depth in relating implementation to outcomes than any study that’s come before,” said Robert E. Slavin, the chairman of the Success for All Foundation and the director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “It’s outstanding in giving a more detailed picture of what’s actually happening in the schools.”
Compared with teachers in schools that did not implement the program, researchers found that the teachers in the Success for All schools had more, and more varied, training in reading instruction. They later proved more likely to focus on comprehension, even in kindergarten, than teachers in control schools, and were also more likely to use cooperative-learning strategies. Also, following the Success for All design, teachers in those schools were more likely to group and regroup students across multiple grades based on their reading skills, to provide more focused instruction.
“Some of the cooperative learning that students undertake—like turning to your neighbor and telling them something about the text—are among the ways comprehension can get reinforced even with very young children,” noted Janet C. Quint, an MDRC senior research associate and the study director for the evaluation project…
The evaluation report also details the challenge of implementing the whole-school program, which requires strictly scripted and paced lessons and regular assessments and regrouping of students. Surveys of teachers during the first year of implementation found many wanted clearer guidance on how to structure lessons, for example…
Teachers and administrators also repeated long-held concerns about balancing the many moving parts of SFA’s comprehensive-school-reform model, with many schools reporting they did not have sufficient staff to provide tutors for all students who needed them or put in place the school committees needed to implement the program’s whole-schools reforms. Similar complaints about comprehensive school reform programs stymied previous federal efforts to expand such programs in the late 1990s.
The complexity of the program may partly explain why Success For All has not been keeping pace with its scale-up targets under i3: The group initially proposed expanding its whole-school program to 1,100 schools in five years, 550 of which would receive startup support via the i3 grant. (Central Elementary was one of these.) Now, Mr. Slavin said Success for All will be lucky to recruit half that many new schools for expansion during the duration of the i3 grant, and all, not half, of them will receive the startup money.
“The economy has been so awful, schools have been struggling just to keep their staff, not to mention taking on any kind of reform program,” Mr. Slavin said. “We expected to have a real rush of schools interested in signing up, particularly with the i3 incentives, but … that hasn’t happened. We’ve had to do some real marketing.”
Still, researchers will continue to study students in the first group of expansion schools as they progress through elementary school. Two additional studies will look more broadly at whole-school changes, as well as longitudinal progress for 2nd graders and older students. These will also include comprehension skills, which Ms. Quint said are more difficult to test in early grades…http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/10/30/11successforall.h33.html?tkn=PQZFBWe7vcoucd7HsmaTAtuDHLlwCnkyz2So&cmp=clp-edweek

Here is the press release:

The Success for All Model of School Reform
Early Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Scale-Up
10/2013 | Janet Quint, Rekha Balu, Micah DeLaurentis, Shelley Rappaport, Thomas J. Smith, Pei Zhu
First implemented in 1987, the Success for All (SFA) school reform model combines three basic elements:
• Reading instruction that is characterized by an emphasis on phonics for beginning readers and comprehension for students at all levels, a highly structured curriculum, an emphasis on cooperative learning, across-grade ability grouping and periodic regrouping, frequent assessments, and tutoring for students who need extra help
• Whole-school improvement components that address noninstructional issues
• Strategies to secure teacher buy-in, provide school personnel with initial and ongoing training, and foster shared school leadership
Success for All was selected to receive a five-year scale-up grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s first Investing in Innovation (i3) competition. This report, the first of three, examines the program’s implementation and impacts in 2011-2012, the first year of operation, at 37 kindergarten through grades 5 and 6 (K-5 and K-6) schools in five school districts that agreed to be part of the scale-up evaluation: 19 “program group” schools were randomly selected to operate SFA, and 18 “control group” schools did not receive the intervention. Program and control group schools were very similar at the start of the study. The analysis compares the experiences of school staff as well as the reading performance of a cohort of kindergarten students who remained in SFA schools throughout the year (and therefore received the maximum “dosage” of the program) with those of their counterparts in the control group schools.
Key Findings

• While teachers in the SFA schools initially expressed concerns about implementing this new, complex, and demanding initiative, by the end of the first year, many teachers were beginning to feel more comfortable with the program.
• Almost all the program group schools had reached a satisfactory level of early implementation as determined by the Success for All Foundation, the nonprofit organization that provides materials, training, and support to schools operating the reform. Yet there was also ample room for schools to implement additional program elements and to refine the elements that they had put in place.
• Reading instruction in the two sets of schools was found to differ in key ways.
• Kindergartners in the SFA schools scored significantly higher than their control group counterparts on one of two standardized measures of early reading. The impact on this measure seems to be robust across a range of demographic and socioeconomic subgroups, as well as across students with different levels of literacy skills at baseline.
Subsequent reports will examine the reading skills of these students as they progress through first and second grades and will also measure the reading skills of students in the upper elementary grades.
Full Report http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/The_Success_for_All_Model_FR_0.pdf
Executive Summary http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/The_Success_for_All_Model_ES_0.pdf

The Success for All Foundation describes the Success for All program.

In FAQs the Success for All Foundation answers some basic questions:

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Success for All?

A. The Success for All whole-school improvement model weaves together four essential strategies to help you ensure the success of your students:

Leadership for Continuous Improvement: School leaders, teachers, and other school staff work in collaboration to set quarterly goals, select leverage points for improvement, measure progress, and celebrate success. An online data-management system makes data accessible to all.

Schoolwide Support and Intervention Tools: Proven strategies focus on attendance, parental involvement, positive school culture, family needs, health issues, and individual student support and intervention to make sure that students are in school and ready to learn.

Powerful Instruction: All instruction in Success for All is built around a cooperative-learning framework that engages students in rich discussion and motivating challenges every day. Detailed lesson resources for reading make planning easy and include rich media supports to develop vocabulary, background knowledge, fluency, and discussion skills. Computer-assisted tutoring tools provide individualization and extra time.

Professional Development and Coaching: Implementation is supported by extensive job-embedded professional development and coaching that enables teachers and school leaders to make the most of the research-proven approach.

Q. How does it work?

A. Success for All makes reading the cornerstone of the curriculum. For children to succeed in school, they must be reading on grade level by the end of the third grade and keep building reading skills through secondary school. They also need effective teachers, so SFA includes intensive professional development, ongoing coaching support, and data tools to give teachers feedback on how students are learning and where they need additional instruction or extra help. SFA involves the whole community in implementing effective instruction that is based on the best research on what works. Success for All makes learning fun and engaging for kids and helps teachers become knowledgeable, skilled instructional leaders.

Q. How is SFA different from everything else out there?

A. Success for All is unique in so many ways!
• Cooperative learning is used all the time. Students work together productively to learn and take responsibility for one another.
• Technology is deeply embedded in daily teaching and learning.
• Students are highly motivated, engaged, noisy, and on task.
• The pace of instruction is fast, and the kids keep up with it.
• Every minute of teaching is well planned, exciting, and engaging.
• Learning is constantly monitored, and problems are solved the right way.
• Teachers teach the whole child. Social and emotional learning, behavior, and cooperation are as important as academics.
• Professional development is top notch and going on every day. Teachers know their craft and apply it with intelligence, adapting it to their students’ needs.
• Everyone is involved in support of student success—teachers, parents, community members, and the kids themselves.
• A facilitator from the school’s own faculty works with teachers every day to help every teacher succeed and grow in skill and sophistication.
• There is a strong research base in every component of SFA and in the program as a whole.

Q. I’ve heard Success for All is expensive. What’s the story?

A. The average cost of Success for All for a school receiving our $50,000 i3 grant opportunity is just $104 per child, per year—or just 60 cents a day. And costs are even lower after the first three years of implementation. Title I funds, including funds from SES waivers, professional-development budgets, and school-improvement grants, can all be used to fund Success for All. Research documents that cost savings from reductions in special-education services and grade repetition more than pay for ALL the costs of Success for All within a five-year period…. http://www.successforall.org/About-Us/FAQs/

Like, unhappy families, failing schools are probably failing in their own way.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 – 1910)

It seems everything old becomes new once again, although a relentless focus on the basics never went out of style.

Good Schools really are relentless about the basics.

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Report: Motivation and study key elements in math learning

1 Jan

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein.

https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

See, Motivation is increasingly researched as a key ingredient in student achievement https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/motivation-is-increasingly-researched-as-a-key-ingredient-in-student-achievement/

CEP’s report is Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient.

Here is a portion of the press release:

Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient

CEP Report Summarizes Research on Understanding, Spurring Motivation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2012 – A series of papers by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) underscores the need for teachers, schools, parents and communities to pay more attention to the role of student motivation in school reform. While there is no single strategy that works to motivate all students, or even the same student in all contexts, the many different sources reviewed by CEP suggest various approaches that can help improve student motivation, the report finds.

For example, programs that tailor support to individual students who are at risk of losing motivation, that foster “college-going” cultures in middle and high schools, or that partner wit low-income parents to create more stimulating home learning environments can increase motivation, the report notes, but only if they incorporate factors that research has shown to be effective.

The CEP report, Student Motivation—An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together findings about student motivation from decades of major research conducted by scholars, organizations, and practitioners. The six accompanying background papers examine a range of themes and approaches, from the motivational power of video games and social media to the promise and pitfalls of paying students for good grades… The summary paper, six background reports, and an appendix table outlining the major theories of motivation are available for free at http://www.cep-dc.org. For further information, contact Ali Diallo at 301-656-0348 or ali@thehatchergroup.com.

Summary Paper – Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform (PDF format, 598 KB) *
Background paper 4 – What roles do parent involvement, family background, and culture play in studen (PDF format, 155 KB) *
Background paper 2 – Can money or other rewards motivate students? (PDF format, 188 KB) *
Background paper 3 – Can goals motivate students? (PDF format, 247 KB) *
(PDF format, 172 KB) *
Background paper 5 – What can schools do to motivate students? (PDF format, 237 KB) *
Background paper 6 – What nontraditional approaches can motivate unenthusiastic students? (PDF format, 244 KB) *
Appendix – Theories of motivation (PDF format, 69.4 KB) *
Press Release (PDF format, 41.3 KB) *

The report discusses the role of parents.

Tia Ghose of LiveScience writes in the article, Math Skills In Children Attributed To Motivation And Study Techniques–Not IQ Score, Study Shows which was posted at Huffington Post.

Looks like Tiger Mom had it half-right: Motivation to work hard and good study techniques, not IQ, lead to better math skills, a new study shows. 

But there’s a catch: The findings, published this month in the journal Child Development, show that keeping children’s heads in the math books by force probably won’t help.

The analysis of more than 3,500 German children found those who started out solidly in the middle of the pack in 5th grade could jump to the 63rd percentile by 8th grade if they were very motivated and used effective learning strategies, said lead author Kou Murayama, a psychology researcher at the University of California Los Angeles.

“The growth in math achievement was predicted by motivation and learning strategies,” Murayama told LiveScience. “Given that IQ did not show this kind of effect, we think this is impressive.”

Math on the brain

Just how innate math skills are is a controversial question. Some studies show that math skills emerge in babies, while others show that culture plays a huge role in shaping those skills.

For instance, men consistently outperform women on standardized math tests. But those differences may be due to math anxiety, or cultural influences, other studies have shown.

And in opinion surveys, people in Eastern countries often rate effort as most important to math ability, while Westerners typically say math ability is inborn. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/30/math-skills-children-motivation-study-iq_n_2382036.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Citation:

Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students’ Mathematics Achievement: The Unique Contributions of Motivation and Cognitive Strategies

  1. Kou Murayama1,*,
  2. Reinhard Pekrun1,
  3. Stephanie Lichtenfeld1,
  4. Rudolf vom Hofe2

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12036

© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

Additional Information(Show All)

How to CiteAuthor InformationPublication HistoryFunding Information

  1. This study was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship (to K. Murayama) and four grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG; to R. Pekrun, Project for the Analysis of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics, PALMA; PE 320/11-1, PE 320/11-2, PE 320/11-3, PE 320/11-4).

It will not be popular on many fronts to acknowledge that motivation and effort are also part of the academic achievement solution.

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Study:School reform, like politics is local

3 Oct

Moi wrote in The love affair with the Finnish education system:

In U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses, moi said:

Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/u-s-education-failure-running-out-of-excuses/

Many educators around the world have a love affair with the Finnish education system. The question is what if anything which is successful about the Finnish system can be transported to other cultures?

The Pearson Foundation lists some key facts about Finland in their video series,Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education

Key facts

Finland’s society is relatively homogeneous. Out of a population of 5.3 million, only 3.8% are foreign-born, against an OECD average of 12.9%. Finland spends 5.9% of its gross domestic product on education, slightly above the OECD average of 5.2%.

  • Finland recruits its teachers from the top 10% of graduates. From primary through upper secondary level, all teachers are required to have a Master’s degree.

  • Finnish teachers spend 592 hours per year teaching in class, less than the OECD average of 703 hours. This allows more time for supporting students with learning difficulties.

  • At least two out of five Finnish school students benefit from some type of special intervention during their secondary schooling.

Outcomes

Finland was the top performer in the PISA 2000 tests and it has consistently featured among the top performers since then. In 2009, the number of Finnish students reaching the top level of performance in science was three times the OECD average.

  • Upper secondary students are expected to design their own individual learning programs within a modular structure.

  • In 2008, Finland’s upper secondary graduation rate was 93%, against an OECD average of 80%.

  • In 2008, more than 40% of Finns between 20 and 29 were enrolled at university, well above the OECD average of 25%. http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/oecd/finland.html

Pasi Sahlberg urges a measured analysis in his Washington Post article.

Pasi Sahlberg, author of “ Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn About Educational Change in Finland? writes in the Washington Post article, What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform:

What I have to say, however, is not always what they want to hear. While it is true that we can certainly learn from foreign systems and use them as backdrops for better understanding of our own, we cannot simply replicate them. What, then, can’t the United States learn from Finland? https://drwilda.com/2012/04/17/the-love-affair-with-the-finnish-education-system/

There are probably some lessons which can be learned from the Finnish experience, but we shouldn’t be looking through rose colored glasses. Just a Tip O’Neil famously commented, “All politics is local.” All school reform is local as well. Dr. Tina Trujillo and Dr. Michelle Renee have written the study, Current School Turnaround Policies ‘More Likely to Cause Upheaval Than to Help.’ 

The National Education Policy Center has released the Trujillo and Renee study about school reform:

Study: Current School Turnaround Policies ‘More Likely to Cause Upheaval Than to Help’ 

Collaboration, investment can improve public schooling in disadvantaged communities 

Contact

Jamie Horwitz
jhdcpr@starpower.net
202-549-4921

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/95t48jr

BOULDER, CO (October 1, 2012) — A new report, “Democratic School Turnarounds: Pursuing Equity and Learning from Evidence,” by Tina Trujillo at the University of California, Berkeley and Michelle Renée of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, suggests that government agencies and policy-makers, including the U.S. Department of Education, would be wise to look at educational research as they guide school turnarounds. Evidence shows that top-down, punitive efforts that are currently in vogue are ineffective and counterproductive. A collaborative, community-driven approach combined with significant, sustained financial investment and a focus on teaching and learning has been proven to be the better path to school improvement.

“We appreciate the Obama Administration’s efforts to try to improve troubled public schools,” Trujillo stated. “But good intentions are not enough. We need to move past old reform strategies that research shows destabilize public schools and instead increase our investment in these schools and in the people.”

In 2009, the administration announced its intention to turn around 5,000 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools over five years. It created the federal School Improvement Grant program (SIG) to temporarily channel increased federal dollars into states and struggling schools.

In exchange for up to $2 million per year for up to three years, the federal program mandates that SIG-funded schools implement one of four reforms: turnaround, transformation, restart or closure. The report explains how these four approaches are really “old wine in new bottles” because they promote change strategies that research shows do not work and that actually recreate the conditions that cause school failure.

The report explains that the four SIG approaches are largely grounded in the firing and replacement of school staff – a process also known as churn.  Because the nation’s lowest-performing schools are also the hardest to staff, these approaches have an inherent logistical problem: finding the better-qualified personnel to refill vacant slots in turnaround schools. In New York, for example, under the new turnaround policy some districts found themselves swapping principals from one low-performing school to another. In Louisville, over 40 percent of the teachers hired to work in turnaround schools were completely new to teaching. And in another region, hiring difficulties forced many schools to begin the school year with high numbers of substitutes.

“Low-performing schools are placed in a terrible situation,” Renée explains. “In order to get the needed federal resources in the middle of this fiscal crisis, they must implement strategies that are more likely to cause upheaval than to help. When a school is in crisis, it is damaging to remove the people who are committed to helping children learn.”

Renée further explains that because of this and other problems, “the current approaches to school turnaround are almost always ineffective, weakening school systems, causing staff upheaval, crushing morale, and leaving the schools with poor student performance.”

The new report also points out what is missing. While many experts consider community engagement critical for turnarounds to succeed, federal and state policymakers have rarely involved the public in the turnaround decision-making process.

“It is extremely important to engage those most impacted by turnaround: families, community members and teachers in targeted schools, usually in racially and socio-economically segregated areas,” said Renée.  “These groups are our biggest assets in improving education.  They can help plan and implement turnaround strategies that are tailored to each school and community and they have roots in the community to ensure a reform lasts overtime.”

Recent research links community organizing with more effective teacher recruitment and retention, improved curricula, increased equity in school funding systems, and higher student performance.

“Though these kinds of initiatives are relatively new, they offer examples of the ways in which communities might play leading roles in designing, planning and implementing more equitable, democratic turnarounds under the current federal policy structure,” Trujillo explained.

Trujillo and Renée conclude with a series of recommendations for federal and state policymakers. First among the recommendations is increasing current federal and state spending for public education, particularly as it is allocated for turnaround-style reforms. “Real change requires real investment in teaching and learning,” Trujillo states. “Though closing a school and firing teachers make great headlines, the real work of educating our students is about providing all young people with engaging and supported learning environments, high-quality teachers and rich opportunities to learn and succeed.”

A companion document, released along with the policy brief, takes the brief’s recommendations and offers legislative language that would translate those recommendations into law. This legislative brief is written by Tara Kini, a senior staff attorney at Public Advocates, a California-based nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy.

The policy brief and the legislative brief were both produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (greatlakescenter.org). In addition, the Ford Foundation provided funding for the policy brief.

Both the policy brief and the legislative brief can be found on the NECP website here:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/democratic-school-turnarounds

About the Authors
Tina Trujillo is an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. She studies the politics of urban district reforms, the unintended consequences of policies and reforms for students of color and English Learners, and trends in urban educational leadership. She is a former urban public school teacher, school reform coach, and educational evaluator. She holds a Ph.D. in education from UCLA.

Michelle Renée of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University studies community organizing and works to make research relevant and available to community organizers, to support the development and implementation of equitable education policies. She is a core staff member of the new Center for Education Organizing, and is co-leader of a Ford Foundation project designed to document the implementation and results of the Foundation’s More and Better Learning Time (MBLT) initiative. She is a former legislative assistant in the United States Congress, and she holds a Ph.D. in education from UCLA.

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University is a national policy research and reform-support organization that works with urban districts and communities to improve the conditions and outcomes of schools, especially in urban communities and in those attended by traditionally underserved children. Its work focuses on three crucial issues in education reform today: school transformation, college and career readiness, and expanded learning time.

The National Education Policy Center produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/. For more information of the Ford Foundation-funded project, called the Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Learning (IDEAL), please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/ideal.

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.There must be a way to introduce variation into the education system. The testing straightjacket is strangling innovation and corrupting the system. Yes, there should be a way to measure results and people must be held accountable, but relying solely on tests, especially when not taking into consideration where different populations of children are when they arrive at school is lunacy.

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

Lao Tzu

Related:

Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color https://drwilda.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

What exactly are the education practices of top-performing nations?                                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/05/28/what-exactly-are-the-education-practices-of-top-performing-nations/

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