Postsecondary readiness has become a centerpiece of major education policy initiatives, but few systems are available to track students’ progress toward this goal, and even fewer focus on anything beyond academic achievement. To address this gap we developed a college-readiness index for middle school students. Given its predictive power and its focus on affective traits like motivation and behavior, the index may help educators intervene early and appropriately to keep students on track.
Assessment and Accountability
A comparison of data use in traditional districts and charter management organizations reveals conditions that both enable and constrain effective practices among educational leaders.
Cost-effectiveness analysis is a useful but underutilized tool that researchers can employ to provide policymakers with information that promotes more efficient use of educational resources and helps them maximize gains in student learning. A recent study applies the method to dropout prevention programs and finds a wide variation in costs of producing high school graduates.
Data from Florida suggests that performance-based accountability encourages principals to use performance data in student assignment decisions, but not necessarily in ways that ensure that the lowest-performing students are assigned to the most effective teachers.
Despite the increasing use of value-added types of evaluation, little is known about the relationship between teachers’ value added scores and principals’ evaluations of the same teachers. Data from Florida suggest that the choice of evaluation tools within accountability systems could influence not only which teachers are rewarded in the short term, but the qualities and activities of the teaching profession in the long term.
Recent research confirms that unlike California’s Academic Performance Index and AYP measures, scores based on value-added methods have a far weaker relationship with student and school characteristics.
Despite concerns about student preparation in STEM fields, time for science instruction in elementary grades has been steadily falling since the early 1990’s. Average science instructional time in California falls well below the national average which may explain our poor performance on national science tests.
Educators receive little guidance about which strategies are most effective for students with behaviorial disorders. A review of the literature reveals that this lack of guidance may be due to the fact that there is simply no research-based evidence about the majority of possible strategies.
New research finds that accountability policies that emphasize performance in upper grades may create incentives for principals to move lower-quality teachers to lower grades.
When English Learners become proficient and are reclassified, they no longer are included in current achievement measures of English Learners. This leads to overestimates of the achievement gap and underestimates of English Learner progress.