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New Report Examines Teacher-Evaluation Plans

May 28, 2014 Comments off

New Report Examines Teacher-Evaluation Plans
Source: Center for American Progress

Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report examining the status of new education-evaluation plans being implemented across the nation as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, waivers.

In 2011, the Department of Education provided states with an opportunity for flexibility from certain requirements under ESEA, currently known as the No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, Act. The flexibility process requires states to develop and implement new educator-evaluation systems to help identify effective teachers, as well as those who can benefit from additional supports to improve their instructional practice. While some states required districts to adopt state-designed evaluation systems, other states gave school districts discretion in designing their own teacher-evaluation systems. Inevitably, one of the challenges those states that offered discretion now face is tracking and monitoring the variety of district teacher-evaluation plans. The capacity for a state department of education to effectively monitor these systems depends largely on the size of the state and the number of districts within that state.

Under the ESEA waiver-granting process, states agreed to certain reforms, such as developing or adopting college- and career-ready standards and teacher-accountability plans that include student-achievement data as a condition of being let out of certain requirements of NCLB. The waiver plans submitted by states seeking flexibility under ESEA are comprehensive and detailed, and implementation of those plans is well underway in the states that received waivers.

As the reforms begin to take hold, it is worth tracking just how states are implementing or adapting their waiver plans. In the report released today, the Center for American Progress reviewed state ESEA waiver plans as they relate to the implementation and monitoring of evaluation and support systems for teachers.

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Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts

May 19, 2014 Comments off

Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts
Source: Brookings Institution

The federal government has spurred the creation of a new generation of teacher evaluation systems at the state level through more than $4 billion in Race to the Top funding to 19 states and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability waivers to 43 states. A majority of states have passed laws requiring the adoption of teacher evaluation systems that incorporate student achievement data, but only a handful of states had fully implemented new teacher evaluation systems as of the 2012-13 school year.

As the majority of states continue to design and implement new evaluation systems, the time is right to ask how existing teacher evaluation systems are performing and in what practical ways they might be improved. This report helps to answer those questions by examining the actual design and performance of new teacher evaluation systems in four urban school districts that are at the forefront of the effort to meaningfully evaluate teachers.

Although the design of teacher evaluation systems varies dramatically across districts, the two largest components of these systems are invariably classroom observations and student test score gains. An early insight from this examination of district teacher evaluation data is that nearly all the opportunities for improvement to teacher evaluation systems are in the area of classroom observations rather than in test score gains.

Class size and academic results, with a focus on children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities

May 7, 2014 Comments off

Class size and academic results, with a focus on children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities (PDF)
Source: Evidence Base

The question of class size continues to attract the attention of educational policymakers and researchers alike. Australian politicians and their advisers, policy makers and p olitical commentators agree that much of Australia’s increased expenditure on education in the last 30 years has been ‘ wasted ’ on efforts to reduce class sizes . They conclude that funding is therefore not the problem in Australian education , arguing that e xtra funding has not led to improved academic results. Many scholars have found serious methodological issues with the existing reviews that make claims for the lack of educational and economic utility in reducing class sizes in schools. Significantly , the research supporting the current policy advice to both state and federal ministers of education is highly selective, and based on limited studies originating from the USA. This comprehensive review of 112 papers from 1979 – 2014 assesses whether these conclu sions about the effect of smaller class sizes still hold. The review draws on a wider range of studies, starting with Australian research , but also includes similar education systems such as England, Canada , New Zealand and non – English speaking countries of Europe . The review a ssesses the different measures of class size and how they affect the results, and also whether other variables such as teaching methods are taken into account. Findings suggest that smaller class sizes in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, especially for children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities. This is particularly true when smaller classes are combined with appropriate teacher pedagog ies suited to reduced student numbers . Suggested policy recommendations involve targeted funding for specific lessons and schools, combined with professional development of teachers . These measures may help to address the inequality of schooling and amelio rate the damage done by poverty, violence, inadequate child care and other factors to our children’s learning outcomes.

How States Use Student Learning Objectives in Teacher Evaluation Systems: A Review of State Websites

March 18, 2014 Comments off

How States Use Student Learning Objectives in Teacher Evaluation Systems: A Review of State Websites
Source: Institute of Education Sciences

This report provides an overview of how states define and apply student learning objectives (SLOs) in evaluation systems. The research team conducted a systematic scan of state policies by searching state education agency websites of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to identify tools, guidance, policies, regulations, and other documents related to the use of SLOs in teacher evaluation systems. The researchers reviewed each relevant document to code the requirements, components, and uses of SLOs, which are summarized in a brief report and a series of searchable tables. The report and tables were produced in response to research questions posed by the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance (NEERA), one of eight research alliances working with REL Northeast & Islands.

A Comparison of Growth Percentile and Value-Added Models of Teacher Performance

March 5, 2014 Comments off

A Comparison of Growth Percentile and Value-Added Models of Teacher Performance (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

School districts and state departments of education frequently must choose between a variety of methods to estimating teacher quality. This paper examines under what circumstances the decision between estimators of teacher quality is important. We examine estimates derived from growth percentile measures and estimates derived from commonly used value-added estimators. Using simulated data, we examine how well the estimators can rank teachers and avoid misclassification errors under a variety of assignment scenarios of teachers to students. We find that growth percentile measures perform worse than value-added measures that control for prior year student test scores and control for teacher fixed effects when assignment of students to teachers is nonrandom. In addition, using actual data from a large diverse anonymous state, we find evidence that growth percentile measures are less correlated with value-added measures with teacher fixed effects when there is evidence of nonrandom grouping of students in schools. This evidence suggests that the choice between estimators is most consequential under nonrandom assignment of teachers to students, and that value-added measures controlling for teacher fixed effects may be better suited to estimating teacher quality in this case.

How much teachers get paid — state by state

December 16, 2013 Comments off

How much teachers get paid — state by state
Source: Washington Post

How much do teachers across the United States get paid?

Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago. The data are for 2013 and represent the estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools. Boeckensted’s original map, here on the Higher Ed Data Stories blog, has information for earlier years, as well.

New York State Teacher Salary Report — December 2013

December 12, 2013 Comments off

New York State Teacher Salary Report — December 2013 (PDF)
Source: Columbia University (ILR School)

Teachers are central to the success of any education system and the salaries paid to teachers are among the most important issues for both school districts and the unions that represent teachers. For school districts, teacher salaries are a major component of district budgets. Teacher salary levels are also a crucial factor in attracting and retaining quality educators. This report presents data on teacher salary levels based on teacher contracts throughout New York State. In addition to reporting overall statewide salary levels, it also documents the wide variation in teacher salary levels across New York State.

This New York State Teacher Salary Report was prepared by the Bargaining for Better Schools (BBS) project, which is an initiative of the ILR School at Cornell University through the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution and the Worker Institute.

The data provided in this report comes from an analysis of the teacher contracts from every school district in the State of New York. The database of information came from two sources, both of which are publicly available on websites: DigitalCommons at ILR and SeeThroughNY, each of which contain the full text of teacher contracts, i.e. collective bargaining agreements and associated memoranda of understanding. The most recent contract from either website was selected for inclusion in this data.

Who Considers Teaching and Who Teaches? First-Time 2007–08 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Teaching Status 1 Year After Graduation (NCES 2014-002)

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Who Considers Teaching and Who Teaches? First-Time 2007–08 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Teaching Status 1 Year After Graduation (NCES 2014-002)
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This Statistics in Brief examines the teaching status of 2007-08 first-time bachelor’s degree recipients one year after graduation. The analysis compares four groups with respect to their teaching experiences or interest in teaching: those who taught either before or after receiving their bachelor’s degree, those who prepared to teach but had not taught, those who considered teaching, and those who did not consider teaching. The study is based on data from the 2009 Baccalaureate and Beyond longitudinal study (B&B:09) of bachelor’s degree recipients conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows Programs: Executive Summary

November 18, 2013 Comments off

The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows Programs: Executive Summary (PDF)
Source: Institute of Education Science (DOE)

The study had two main findings, one for each program studied:

1 . TFA teachers were more effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students assigned to TFA teachers scored 0.07 standard deviations higher on end-of-year math assessments than students assigned to comparison teachers, a statistically significant difference. This impact is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.

2 . Teaching Fellows were neither more nor less effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students of Teaching Fellows and students of comparison teachers had similar scores on end-of-year math assessments.

State of the States 2013 — Connecting the Dots: Using Evaluations of Teacher Effectiveness to Inform Policy and Practice

November 4, 2013 Comments off

State of the States 2013 — Connecting the Dots: Using Evaluations of Teacher Effectiveness to Inform Policy and Practice
Source: National Council on Teacher Quality

This report provides a detailed and up-to-date lay of the land on teacher evaluation policies across the 50 states and DCPS. It also offers a more in-depth look at the states with the most ambitious teacher evaluation systems, including their efforts to connect teacher evaluation to other policy areas. In addition, it includes some advice and lessons learned from states’ early experiences on the road to improving teacher evaluation systems.

Creating a Design Commons: Lessons from Teachers’ Participation in the Design of New Schools

October 24, 2013 Comments off

Creating a Design Commons: Lessons from Teachers’ Participation in the Design of New Schools
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We argue that a design commons can be an advantageous organizational form under two salient conditions: 1) high “subtractability” because different claimants have mutually exclusive beliefs or preferences with respect to the design form and 2) low “excludability” in the sense that the designed artifact must be shared. Our paper is based on an empirical study of a commons organization created to design new school buildings. We argue that the design commons organization induced teachers to volunteer their knowledge and preferences, which otherwise would have been difficult to elicit. Although governance was a struggle, none of the cases in our sample suffered a “tragedy of the commons” in terms of budget overruns, bogged-down processes, or free riding. Using the principles of Ostrom’s commons theory, we show that the design commons organization was robust, although it displayed some areas of fragility. We conclude with the rudiments of a contingency theory describing when and why a commons organization can be advantageous for design production. We also discuss design flexibility as an intervening variable that is critical in intermediating conflicts that commons organizations cannot resolve.

Selected Statistics from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2011–12

October 18, 2013 Comments off

Selected Statistics from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2011–12
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This First Look report presents findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary schools and local education agencies and public school student enrollment and staff in the United States and other jurisdictions for school year 2011–12.

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Resource for Teachers, Administrators, Policymakers, and Parents (Fact Sheet Series)

October 8, 2013 Comments off

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Resource for Teachers, Administrators, Policymakers, and Parents
Source: RAND Corporation

Many personal, family, and neighborhood factors contribute to a student’s academic performance, but a large body of research suggests that, among school-related factors, teachers matter most. What’s less clear, however, is how to measure an individual teacher’s effectiveness.

It’s a complex topic, and there are many factors that should be considered. RAND Education has applied its expertise to this and nearly every other aspect of the education system for more than three decades. This site is for teachers, administrators, policymakers, parents, and anyone else seeking objective, nonpartisan information on measuring teaching effectiveness.

Teacher Perspectives Regarding Gifted Diverse Students

September 30, 2013 Comments off

Teacher Perspectives Regarding Gifted Diverse Students
Source: Gifted Children

Understanding teacher perceptions of diverse, gifted students is a first step to exploring the underrepresentation of non-white students in programs for advanced academic ability. As professionals, teachers are responsible for making referrals for special programming and are often the “gatekeepers” for student identification. This qualitative study used exploratory interviews to examine perceptions of five second- and third-grade teachers and the talented and gifted coordinator at a school in which 65% of the student population was Hispanic. Three themes emerged in the findings: (a) Teachers experience differences in training to work with diverse, low income students and gifted students; (b) teachers use personal beliefs to compensate for lack of training in identifying and accommodating gifted learners; and (c) teachers perceive barriers for diverse students participating in gifted programming.

New Assessments, Better Instruction? Designing Assessment Systems to Promote Instructional Improvement

September 19, 2013 Comments off

New Assessments, Better Instruction? Designing Assessment Systems to Promote Instructional Improvement
Source: RAND Corporation

The Hewlett Foundation commissioned RAND to review research about the effects of assessment and to summarize what is known about assessment as a lever for reform. To explore the likely influence of new assessments on teaching practice and the conditions that moderate that relationship, researchers conducted a series of literature reviews. The reviews suggest a wide variety of effects that testing might have on teachers’ activities in the classroom, including changes in curriculum content and emphasis, changes in how teachers allocate time and resources across different pedagogical activities, and changes in how teachers interact with individual students. The literature also identifies a number of conditions that affect the impact that assessment may have on practice. Research suggests that the role of tests will be enhanced by policies that ensure the tests mirror high-quality instruction, are part of a larger, systemic change effort, and are accompanied by specific supports for teachers.

The other frontline workers: Exploring the symptoms of compassion fatigue among school staff members

September 17, 2013 Comments off

The other frontline workers: Exploring the symptoms of compassion fatigue among school staff members (PDF)
Source: Smith College (Plapinger)

This study was conducted to determine whether or not school employees are experiencing compassion fatigue. The research question for this study is: Are school employees experiencing compassion fatigue? This study included examining ways in which they identified levels of burnout, secondary trauma and compassion satisfaction. A quantitative study was conducted using snowball-sampling techniques to administer an online survey that asked participants to report demographic information and complete the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL). 121 participants identified as fulltime employees of a school and as English speaking and over the age of eighteen.

Findings point to low levels of compassion fatigue among the sample. Participants reported low to average levels of burnout and secondary trauma and high or average levels of compassion satisfaction. Trends in responses and correlations between demographic data and responses are discussed and explored further to determine the accurate portrayal of compassion fatigue in the realm of school employees. Implications for future studies and social workers are discussed.

Addressing Teacher Shortages in Disadvantaged Schools: Lessons From Two Institute of Education Sciences Studies

September 16, 2013 Comments off

Addressing Teacher Shortages in Disadvantaged Schools: Lessons From Two Institute of Education Sciences Studies
Source: Institute of Education Sciences

Two IES studies evaluated teachers from two highly selective alternative routes–Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows programs–and less selective alternative routes that accept nearly all applicants. An evaluation brief discusses the following lessons learned from these two studies:

  • Teachers who enter teaching through alternative routes to certification can help fill teacher shortages in hard-to-staff schools and subjects without reducing student achievement.
  • Coursework taken while teaching appears to decrease teachers’ effectiveness.
  • Predicting teacher effectiveness at the time of hiring appears to be difficult.

Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement

September 12, 2013 Comments off

Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement
Source: Economic Policy Institute
From press release:

Race to the Top has done little to help most states close achievement gaps, and may have exacerbated them, according to a new report by Elaine Weiss, National Coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education. In Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement: Lack of Time, Resources, and Tools to Address Opportunity Gaps Puts Lofty State Goals Out of Reach, Weiss takes a comprehensive look at the Obama administration’s signature education initiative, and finds a few notable successes but many more shortcomings.

Race to the Top offered federal funding to states that committed to meeting a series of goals—including developing new teacher evaluation systems that rely substantially on student achievement, identifying alternative teacher certification systems, turning around low-performing schools, and substantially boosting student achievement and closing achievement gaps. In her report, Weiss examines how much progress states have made over the first three years of the grant period. With a year to go before funding is scheduled to end, states are largely behind schedule in meeting goals for improving instruction and educational outcomes.

Strategies for Longitudinal Analysis of the Career Paths of Beginning Teachers: Results From the First Through Fourth Waves of the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study

September 11, 2013 Comments off

Strategies for Longitudinal Analysis of the Career Paths of Beginning Teachers: Results From the First Through Fourth Waves of the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The purpose of this R&D report is to develop a strategy for the longitudinal analysis of the BTLS data that can be used to better understand teacher attrition, retention, and mobility. NCES may use this strategy to analyze and present data on all five years of the BTLS in their future reports. The R&D report has 3 research objectives: (1) define the concept of a career path for beginning teachers that can be implemented with all waves of the BTLS; (2) operationalize the assignment of a career path using this definition (i.e., examine methods for assigning career paths); and (3) investigate the best approach for analyzing the relationships between beginning teachers’ career paths and selected teacher and school characteristics.

NCES releases five First Look reports with findings from the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey

August 13, 2013 Comments off

NCES releases five First Look reports with findings from the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

In the 2011–12 school year, there were an estimated 116,240 K–12 schools in the United States, including 85,530 traditional public, 4,480 public charter, and 26,230 private schools. The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) collected data from a nationally representative sample of these schools and nationally representative samples of principals and teachers within the schools. Additionally, data were collected from nationally representative samples of districts and school library media centers associated with traditional public and public charter schools.

The SASS was developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau every 4 years. The five First Look reports that provide selected findings from the 2011–12 SASS data files for public and private schools, principals, and teachers, as well as public school districts and library media centers are listed below.

Characteristics of Public School Districts in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2013-311)

Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2013-312)

Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2013-313)

Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2013-314)

Characteristics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Library Media Centers in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2013-315)

To view the full reports, please visit 
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013311 
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013312
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013313
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013314
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013315

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