Reports

  • Where California High School Students Attend College

    Michal Kurlaender, Sherrie Reed, Matt Naven, Paco Martorell, Scott Carrell. December 2018.

    This report, part of an ongoing collaboration between researchers at the University of California, Davis and the California Department of Education, alleviates some of the unknowns about students’ postsecondary trajectories and provides a foundation for future research on college and career readiness.

  • Fostering Pre-K to Elementary Alignment and Continuity in Mathematics in Urban School Districts: Challenges and Possibilities

    Cynthia Coburn, Elizabeth Friedmann, Kelly McMahon, Graciela Borsato, Abigail Stein, Natalie Jou, Seenae Chong, Rebekah LeMahieu, Megan Franke, Sonia Ibarra, Deborah J. Stipek. Policy Analysis for California Education. November 2018.

    In recent years, California has invested in improving early childhood education programs. Research shows the importance of high-quality early childhood education, but the disconnect from K–12 education threatens its long-term benefits. If the early grades do not build on the gains made in preschool, they likely will be lost. This brief, based on a longer technical report , describes the challenges facing pre-K–3 alignment and offers promising practices and policy recommendations.

  • The Network Solution: How Rural District Networks Can Drive Continuous Improvement

    Thomas Timar, Allison Carter, Nicodemus Ford. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2018.

    Rural school districts face unique challenges in procuring funds, recruiting staff, and obtaining high-quality technical assistance. This environment creates problems in identifying high-quality instructional materials and implementing best practices. A collaborative learning network can address these challenges by providing access to professional development, collaborative time with peer districts, and economies of scale. This report discusses rural networks, specifically Pivot Learning’s Rural Professional Learning Network, can cost-effectively provide expertise and build a professional culture.

  • Using Data for Improvement: Learning from the CORE Data Collaborative

    Heather Hough, Erika Byun, Laura Steen Mulfinger. Getting Down to Facts II. September 2018.

    Experts agree that effective data use is critical for continuous improvement. However, there is a lack of understanding statewide about how data use for continuous improvement, with its adaptive and iterative nature, differs from data use for other purposes. In this paper, the authors discuss what data are most useful to inform continuous improvement at all levels of the system and provide a case study of how the CORE data collaborative uses a multiple-measures approach to support decision-making.

  • Towards a Common Vision of Continuous Improvement for California

    Alicia Grunow, Heather Hough, Sandra Park, Jason Willis, Kelsey Krausen. Getting Down to Facts II. September 2018.

    Under emerging policy structures in California, the responsibility for school improvement is increasingly placed upon local school districts, with County Offices of Education (COEs) playing a critical support role. In this system, districts are responsible for school improvement, with counties in charge of ensuring quality across districts and providing feedback and support where necessary. Underlying this major policy shift is the idea that local leaders are in the best position to drive real educational improvement and ensure quality across multiple schools and contexts.

  • Superintendents Speak: Implementing the Local Control Funding Formula

    Julie A. Marsh, Julia E. Koppich. Policy Analysis for California Education. June 2018.

    This report, the next in a series by the Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative (LCFFRC) , presents survey responses from a statewide representative sample of California superintendents. The survey complements the LCFFRC’s four years of in-depth case study work examining the implementation of the LCFF and provides a broad picture of superintendents’ views of and experiences with the law. As with previous LCFF research, this survey is designed to help policymakers and others better understand ways in which the LCFF is affecting resource allocation and governance in California’s K-12 education system. Results also indicate areas in which changes may be needed.

  • Measuring Social Emotional Learning Through Student Surveys in the CORE Districts: A Pragmatic Approach to Validity and Reliability

    Hunter Gehlbach, Heather Hough. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2018.

    As educational practitioners and policymakers expand the range of student outcomes they assess, student perception surveys—particularly those targeting social-emotional learning—have grown in popularity. Despite excitement around the potential for measuring a wider array of important student outcomes, concerns about the validity of the inferences that might be drawn from student self-reports persist. One of the most ambitious attempts to incorporate student perception surveys into a larger assessment framework has occurred through CORE—a consortium of school districts in California. Pulling from CORE’s data and their use within these districts, we summarize the evidence for validity and reliability of CORE’s student-report surveys on social-emotional learning through a pragmatic approach.

  • Trends in Student Social Emotional Learning: Evidence from the CORE Districts

    Martin R. West, Libby Pier, Hans Fricke, Heather Hough, Susanna Loeb, Robert H. Meyer, Andrew B. Rice. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2018.

    Mounting evidence demonstrates that social-emotional skills are important for students’ academic and life success, yet we have limited evidence on how these skills develop over time and how this development varies across student subgroups. In this study, we use the first large-scale panel survey of social-emotional learning (SEL) to describe how four SEL constructs—growth-mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness—develop from Grade 4 to Grade 12, and how these trends vary by gender, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.

  • Enacting Social-Emotional Learning: Practices and Supports Employed in CORE Districts and Schools

    Julie A. Marsh, Susan McKibben, Heather Hough, Michelle Hall, Taylor N. Allbright, Ananya M. Matewos, Caetano Siqueira. Policy Analysis for California Education. April 2018.

    Social-emotional learning refers to the beliefs, attitudes, personality traits, and behaviors that students need to succeed in school and life. Our study looks closely at ten “outlier schools” in California’s CORE districts whose students report strong social-emotional learning outcomes compared to other, similar middle schools.

  • Predicting College Success: How Do Different High School Assessments Measure Up?

    Michal Kurlaender, K.A. Kramer, Erika Jackson. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2018.

    In 2014, the state of California implemented the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in order to align state assessment and accountability policies with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS). At the heart of the new performance and accountability system is the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The Smarter Balanced Assessment is designed to evaluate a student’s full range of college- and career-readiness as defined by the CCSS.

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