Virtual School Meanderings

November 22, 2014

Influencing the Future – SRI Education Notes – November 2014

From Thursday’s inbox…

:: In the News

A First Look at Local Control Funding in California

A new study by SRI and a team of researchers from across California offers the first independent look at the implementation of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula legislation. The research found strong support from education officials but made clear they are concerned about the future of the effort and challenged by its requirements. Learn more about the study, Toward a Grand Vision: Early Implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula.

WGBH Launches First 8 Studios

SRI Education is part of new effort to research and develop digital and tablet material for early learners. In October, WGBH Boston announced the formation of First 8 Studios, a new digital-first production team developing digital and tablet-based content and off-screen supplemental materials for preschoolers and early learners. It has launched its first product, an app—Early Math with Gracie & Friends. The app is based on findings from the National Science Foundation-funded Next Generation Preschool Math(NGPM) research project studying the integration of digital content in preschool classrooms. WGBH partnered with SRI and Education Development Center (EDC) on the NGPM project. WGBH, SRI, and EDC have created a set of supplemental curricular materials that integrate technology-based activities with 46 original hands-on and traditional classroom activities, and a digital Teacher’s Guide that will be released in early 2015.

DaSy Center’s “Improving Data, Improving Outcomes” Conference

In September, SRI’s Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) Center hosted its second “Improving Data, Improving Outcomes” conference in New Orleans. The meeting provided information on development and enhancement of early childhood data systems and improvement of data quality. The conference also provided information on the measurement and use of child and family outcomes data to make informed decisions. Check out the agenda and information about national frameworks, products, and states’ experiences and resources for improving policy and practice. The conference was held in partnership with the IDEA Data Center (IDC) and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center.

SRI Presents at Fall 2014 Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) Conference in Washington D.C.

  • H. Alix Gallagher, Katrina Woodworth, CJ Park, Teresa McCaffrey and Haiwen Wang:Impact Evaluation of National Writing Project Professional Development Program
  • Barbara Means and Jessica Mislevy: Creating Means to Measure Improvements in K-12 STEM Education: A Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative Effort
  • Andrew Krumm: Using Data from Digital Environments to Better Understand Learning
  • H. Alix Gallagher, Jeremy Roschelle and Mingyu Feng: Recruiting Participants for Randomized Controlled Trials

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.

SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
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Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Suite 2800 (28th floor)
Arlington, VA 22209

© 2014 SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact UsSubscribe to the
SRI Education Newsletter.

Denise Glyn Borders Vice President, SRI Education

Influencing the Future

At SRI Education, our work is really about influencing the future. We study the past and the present, to find answers to the challenges of today and, using solid evidence, illuminate the paths to tomorrow. In the midst of battles over teacher evaluation and tenure, the implementation of ambitious education standards, the use of technology in the classroom, new methods of school funding and other issues, we strive to provide knowledge and ideas that help educators and other stakeholders find effective ways forward. In this latest version of SRI Education Notes, we share some of our current efforts and highlight important new projects.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders, Ed.D.
Vice President, SRI Education


SRI Study of New System of Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts offers Lessons for Many States

Building Human Capital to Strengthen Education

SRI Study of New System of Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts Offers Lessons for Many States

The evaluation of teachers is one of the most controversial issues in education today. A range of corporate, philanthropic, and political interests are pushing for the development of evaluation systems that incorporate measurements of student performance and use those data to inform high-stakes decisions on teacher pay, tenure, and future employment.  Teachers and other educators are pushing back, saying such systems are inaccurate, ineffective and unfair and do little to inform and support the development of quality teaching.

In this highly charged situation, an SRI research team is working to provide insight, information, and ideas on how educators might move forward in ways that change the national debate on evaluation and strengthen student learning.  Working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, SRI researchers have undertaken an examination of an interrelated series of human capital initiatives that aim to move beyond evaluation based exclusively on testing, accountability, and control to a collaborative system focused on the continual growth and development of educators.

“The effort in Massachusetts represents an important shift in how educators are evaluated,” said Roneeta Guha, the director of the project for SRI. “This system is not about firing teachers. It’s about finding ways to support and develop educators in ways that enhance their abilities to help students learn. We think it offers important lessons for education systems across the nation.” Read more.


A New Vision for After School Science Education

A New Vision for Afterschool Science Education

A new SRI study offers insights into science learning in California’s Afterschool Education and Safety (AES) programs and is helping to establish a new vision to expand and strengthen learning opportunities and interest in science for elementary school students.

“Afterschool programs have the potential to engage students in quality science learning experiences that may not fit into the regular school day,” said Ann House, Ph.D., senior researcher in SRI Education’s Center for Technology in Learning and project director for the study. “Until now, little data have been available about how much science is offered in afterschool settings. We now have a more complete picture of best practices for informal science learning and recommendations for improving and extending science offerings for children across California and nationwide.”

Conducted over five years with funding from the National Science Foundation, the study found that while most afterschool programs were interested in and trying to include science in their regular offerings, other activities such as arts, sports, or tutoring were far more common. In many afterschool programs studied, science learning opportunities were limited. Staff were not trained in how to lead science activities, and had limited opportunities for professional development and little access to quality curriculum materials or science activities. Read more.


SRI Hosts 2014 CyberLearning Summit

Curriculum Materials Make a Difference for Next-Generation Science Teaching and Learning

Do curriculum materials matter for helping students achieve new science standards? A recent study by SRI showed that project-based curriculum materials that explicitly support the features and practices called for within the new science standards have a positive effect on teaching and learning.

The study found that implementing project-based curriculum materials that help teachers engage students in authentic science practices can impact teaching practice and increase student learning. Students who participated in a project-based science curriculum outperformed students in a standard textbook curriculum on measures aligned with important core science ideas and science practices outlined in the new Next Generation Science Standards.

“Curriculum materials matter because they guide what teachers do in the classroom,” said SRI Senior Researcher Christopher Harris. “Our findings suggest that investments in well-designed materials and new assessments can make a real difference for achieving next-generation science learning outcomes.”

Read the full report.


New Projects at SRI Education

From teaching quality to technology, from early learning to evaluation, our team at SRI is deeply engaged in critical education research and projects that will inform and shape the future of education policy and practice. Here are a few new projects:

  • In Texas, as part of a charter school expansion grant with IDEA Public Schools, we are examining district capacity and the challenges of scaling up established high-performing school models.
  • Also in Texas, with funding from the Department of Justice/National Institute for Justice, we are investigating safe schools strategies in Pharr San Juan Alamo Independent School District.
  • We’re working with several campuses in the California State University system in support of their New Teacher Quality Partnership Grants. Our work developing indicators and measuring progress will help CSU campuses create new models for preparing STEM teachers and increase participation of underrepresented groups in teaching STEM subjects.
  • With funding from an Institute of Education Sciences researcher-practitioner partnership grant, we’re working with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, to examine and support English language learners’ science learning in the elementary grades.
  • With funding from the National Science Foundation, we’re taking on new projects on big data, learning analytics, and computer science instruction.
  • We are partnering with our colleagues at WestEd on the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services recently awarded National Center for Systemic Improvement.

These are just a handful of the new engagements we are excited about!

November 13, 2014

Innovative Research on Preschool Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning – CTL Research Update, November 2014

From Monday’s inbox…

Center for Technology in Learning - Insightful design, research, and evaluation of innovative learning environments and assessments.SRI Education - Addressing critical questions about education through innovation and rigorous research.

Center for Technology in Learning Research Update – November 2014, Issue 19

Early Math with Gracie and Friends App

Innovative Research on Preschool Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning

The Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), Education Development Center (EDC), and WGBH together designed and created a new set of iPad apps,Early Math with Gracie and Friends™, that help preschool students learn advanced yet foundational mathematics. The apps are based on the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) project. Through multiple rounds of iteration, the collaborative team of learning scientists, content advisors, developers, and preschool teachers created the tablet-based apps as part of a curricular program that also includes hands-on activities and a Digital Teachers’ Guide to support educators in preschool classrooms. In a recent randomized controlled trial (RCT), the team found that children in classrooms that implemented the NGPM program learned more of the target mathematics than children who engaged in their regular preschool activities.

This line of work is currently being extending through the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Science (NGPS) project. The NGPS team is developing a curricular program to promote engagement in science practices and understanding of science concepts. The apps being developed include toolkits to support group investigations, simulations that enable children to interact with scientific phenomena, and games that provide opportunities for practice. Partner teachers are piloting activities and resources to inform future iterations in preparation for a field study in 2015.


Routledge Publishes Online Learning Book by Three CTL Authors

Developing Assessments of Student Learning in Computer Science and Computational Thinking

Computer science education and training are in the news a lot these days, but few are aware that so far no one has critically examined what students are learning from all of these efforts, especially in high school. CTL researchers Eric Snow andMarie Bienkowski have led the effort to develop the first evidence-centered assessments for Exploring Computer Science (ECS), an introductory computer science curriculum that targets 9th- and 10th-graders with no prior computer science experience. Their work with ECS complements those features of the curriculum that encourage diverse participation in computer science with the assessments of student learning that teachers—many of whom are new to teaching computer science—need to understand how their students are doing and adapt their teaching accordingly. SRI’s successful work in developing computer science assessments in the PACT project is continuing under NSF funding in two ways: (1) design and develop web-based versions of existing assessments (award DRL-1433065) and (2) leverage these assessments in a large-scale implementation study of the curriculum throughout the US (award DRL-1418149).


CTL Researchers Talk Early Learning with Media and Technology

CTL researchers facilitated an interactive session on the use of media in early STEM settings during a meeting of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network’s Early Learning Action Group. The audience included early learning practitioners and early childhood education leaders as well as informal science professionals, librarians, staff from philanthropic organizations, and faculty members from California State University (CSU) East Bay and Mills College. The presentation reviewed current policy (the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)/Fred Rogers Center position statement) as well as research and best practices on using media in preschool classrooms, providing examples from recent CTL projects, the Joint Engagement with Media project funded by the LIFE center, Next Generation Preschool Math, andReady To Learn. It was a timely opportunity for Savitha Moorthy, Carlin Llorente, and Phil Vaheyto talk directly—and share research-based experiences—with a key group of early learning stakeholders in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties about a critical topic in preschool education.

Conference: Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future

Report: Recruiting Participants for Large-Scale Random Assignment Experiments in School Settings

SRI News: William Jeffrey Joins SRI International as President and CEO


Don’t miss our January Research Update, featuring:

What Can You Learn From Five Years of Funding Postsecondary Digital Courseware?

Learn about the outcomes of CTL’s review of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting postsecondary learning technology application projects. A new report describes what we learned from analyzing the features of 137 courses and from our meta-analysis of the impacts of this digital courseware on student learning and course completion.


Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.

Contact CTL

SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute.The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs. Visit ctl.sri.com.

SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

© 2014 SRI International.
SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

September 12, 2014

SRI Education Notes – September 9, 2014

This entry is being posted back dated.

Apologies for the lack of activity yesterday, I’ll post a few backdated items now and then try and get some regular content for the weekend.

Anyway, from Tuesday’s inbox…

notes
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:: Blog Posts

Best Practices for Recruiting Schools for Educational Studies

In a recent report, Recruiting Participants for Large-Scale Random Assignment Experiments in School Settings, a team of SRI Education researchers share practical advice on how to recruit schools for educational studies.

SRI Researchers Weigh in on Vergara Ruling

Senior SRI researcher Dan Humphrey and education researcher Julia Koppich examine the realities of the Vergara Ruling on teacher tenure and the implications for policymakers and educators in this EdWeek Blog.

Curriculum Materials Help Teachers Implement Next Generation Science Standards

A new study by SRI suggests that well-designed research-based curriculum materials and new assessments can further Next Generation Science Learning. Chris Harris, a senior research at the SRI Center for Technology and Learning highlights the findings.

Poverty and Special Education

“Poverty is a driving factor in a child ending up needing special-education services,” says Mary Wagner, principal scientist in the Center of Education and Research Services at SRI. Read more in this news article in the Pittsburg Tribune Review.

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.

SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

1100 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 2800 (28th floor)
Arlington, VA 22209

© 2014 SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact Us

Denise Glyn Borders Vice President, SRI Education

Back to School at SRI Education

As we publish this latest version of SRI Education Notes, school is starting in communities across the United States. Our work at SRI offers important ideas, new information and resources and strategies than can help to strengthen teaching and further student learning. Our talented SRI Education team is developing new knowledge and innovations, and informing effective policy and practice, in classrooms, districts and states. In this issue we share some highlights.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders, Ed.D.
Vice President, SRI Education


SRI Education has named Viki M. Young, Ph.D., and Marjorie E. Wechsler, Ph.D., as the new Co-Directors of the Center for Education Policy Wechsler, Young Lead SRI Education’s Center for Education Policy

SRI Education has named Viki M. Young, Ph.D., and Marjorie E. Wechsler, Ph.D., as the new Co-Directors of the Center for Education Policy.

Wechsler and Young have more than 20 years of experience working on national, state, and local research and evaluation projects on K–12 policy and reform. Young’s research spans human capital development, college readiness for underserved youth, organizational supports for teachers’ use of data, charter school systems, and district leadership and reform. Current projects include implementation and impact studies on teacher and teacher leader development for Investing in Innovation (i3) grants, district reform strategies for effective human capital development, and charter systems growth strategies and challenges. Wechsler specializes in teacher development, school- and district-level reform, and systems approaches to educational improvement. Current projects include examining early learning strategies in Minnesota, teacher development in Florida, and beginning teacher support. She earned her elementary teaching credential and began her career teaching kindergarten. Wechsler and Young both hold Ph.D.’s in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University.

The SRI Education Center for Education Policy is engaged in some of the nation’s most pressing educational issues. “Viki and Marjorie bring unparalleled vision and expertise to leading our policy research and analysis, and take the helm of an immensely talented and growing team,” said SRI Education Vice President Denise Borders in announcing their appointments.


The SRI Model Demonstration Coordination Center

Turning Ideas into Reality – The SRI Model Demonstration Coordination Center

Educators and the schools and systems they work with are bombarded with ideas and strategies for improving learning. Some of them may even be good ideas. The trick is knowing which ideas are worthwhile, and then crafting usable interventions from them. That is where the SRI Model Demonstration Coordination Center (MDCC) comes in.

“Our work helps researchers turn good ideas into realities,” says Mary Wagner, Ph.D., MDCC’s principal investigator. MDCC helps bridge the gap between research and practice in implementing innovative models in early childhood and school settings. For example, in 2013, MDCC began supporting university model demonstration grantees to facilitate the successful reentry of youth with disabilities from juvenile justice facilities into education, employment, and community programs.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), MDCC staff provides technical assistance to nine cohorts of grantees, documents and analyzes grantee experiences, and disseminates lessons learned. “We are working to identify the characteristics of an effective implementation and model refinement process, one that moves from early testing to full implementation and sustainment and on to wider adoption,” says Wagner.

“The MDCC is helping researchers, educators, service providers, policymakers and others to understand what it really takes to implement new policies and practices to improve learning outcomes.”

“The MDCC is helping educators, service providers, policymaker and others to understand what it really takes to implement new policies and practices to improve learning opportunities.”


SRI Hosts 2014 CyberLearning Summit

SRI Hosts 2014 CyberLearning Summit

What if conventional classrooms became places where students engage in scientific fieldwork? Imagine a classroom where students observe an insect infestation up close, and then develop and test their hypotheses. Or what if their classroom became a rainforest, and students could make observations and collect data to uncover the causes of changes in the environment?

Today, far reaching changes in technology are creating exciting new possibilities for learning and SRI’s Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL) is at the forefront. This summer, CIRCL hosted the 2014 CyberLearning Summit at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to identify and communicate major advances in learning with technology. More than 100 researchers, innovators and educators gathered at the Summit to explore and discuss how the design of new applications and technology rich experiences could further learning and assessment across a range of disciplines, learners and settings.

“I think the key message of the Summit was the importance of highlighting new images of what learning looks like,” said Jeremy Rochelle, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Technology and Learning at SRI and co-chair of the Summit. “The possibilities are tremendously exciting.”

At the Summit, a wide range of presenters shared cutting edge versions of what those possibilities looked like. Learn more about the Summit and check out the Summit webcasts.

SRI manages the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL) with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in collaboration with Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and NORC at the University of Chicago.

June 26, 2014

SRI Education Notes – June 24, 2014

From Tuesday’s inbox…

View this message in a browser. SRI Education Notes - June 12, 2014

Denise Glyn Borders<br />
Vice President, SRI Education ” width=”165″ align=”left” /></a></p>
<h1 style=A Busy Spring at SRI Education

From the publication of a groundbreaking new book about online learning to new research about learning afterschool, our dedicated team of researchers has been busy digging into some of the nation’s most pressing education issues. New research and ideas from SRI are fostering innovation and informing educational practice and policies to strengthen learning. In this issue of SRI Education Notes we highlight some of those efforts.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
Vice President, SRI Education

:: Blog Posts

New Research Describes Challenges to Afterschool Learning

SRI Education has published the first part of the 5-year National Science Foundation-funded Afterschool Science Networks study. The report presents case studies of science activities in California afterschool programs and identifies roadblocks to science learning. The research makes clear that a lack of time, staff capacity, instructional materials and meaningful external supports are limiting science learning in afterschool settings. Learn more in this Q&A with SRI’s Ann House, project director for the study. Read the journal article, Learning from Science.

Next Generation Science Assessments

Seeking to accelerate and deepen science learning, California and other states have adopted the new Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 students. With the support of a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers at SRI will join with other leading research organizations to develop a new system of assessments that align with the new standards that teachers can use to inform instructional decisions. The work will begin with a focus on middle school physical science and develop a model for what three-dimensional assessments can look like. Learn more about the NGSS project. Read about the new assessments on the SRI blog by Angela DeBarger.

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.

SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

© 2014 SRI International. SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SRI Writes the Book on Online Learning

SRI Writes the Book on Online Learning

A new book — Learning Online: What Research Tells Us about Whether, When and How explores whether online learning is helping students learn and examines the latest research about online learning. The book also describes the ways online learning is being used in a wide variety of contexts and settings, and explores key issues and practices for its effective implementation. “Learning Online makes clear that technology alone is not enough,” says Barbara Means, co-director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI Education and the lead author of the book. “If there is one message, it’s that learning takes place among people with differing learning characteristics, from different backgrounds and circumstances, and from a broad range of activities. We need thoughtful, rigorous research in each of these contexts, not broad statements about online learning being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’” At a time of explosive growth in online learning, this new book provides educators, policymakers and researchers with a much needed guide that can be used to inform decisions about design and implementation of digital learning opportunities. Learn more or order your own copy.

Strengthening Early Learning

What’s happening with Early Leaning?

A Q&A with Shari Golan, Ph.D., co-director, SRI Education Center for Education and Human Services

This is a really exciting time to be involved in early learning. The Obama administration has made the education of young children a priority. Many states have been investing in pre-K and related strategies. The philanthropic community is also investing in early learning as a means of improving student achievement and promoting lifelong success. The emphasis across all of these efforts is on increasing access to high-quality early learning environments and programs. The infrastructure needed to support these opportunities is immense. It includes research, evaluation, technical assistance, professional development, and family engagement.

Mixed Findings on Blended Learning

Mixed Findings on Blended Learning

New research by SRI Education examining blended learning models finds some evidence of benefits. But SRI researchers caution against drawing early conclusions about impact on student achievement. The report highlights significant foundational challenges to successful implementation of the strategy. “The implementation of blending learning models in many schools is still in its infancy and there has been limited comprehensive research up to this point,” says Robert Murphy, Director of Evaluation Research in SRI Education’s Center for Technology in Learning. The blended learning report, which was funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, was conducted by researchers at SRI in 2011-2012 at five selected school sites in California and Louisiana. The research details findings about infrastructure and technology, elements of software design, perceived benefits to teaching and learning and student productivity. The report highlights implications for practice, describes best practices and provides recommendations for future research.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

April 28, 2014

SRI Khan Academy Study

A few weeks back SRI International published a study of student/teacher use of Khan Academy (see below for the link to the report).

http://www.sri.com/work/projects/research-use-khan-academy-schools

John Watson from Evergreen has done a good summary of the report:

I disagree with John as often as I agree with him, but these posts are worth the read.

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