Virtual School Meanderings

April 12, 2014

McREL e-News April 2014

And another from one Thursday’s inbox…

April 2014

Research Roundup

The Condition of College & Career Readiness in 2013: African American Students 

ACT
ACT has released the results of its 2013 college and career readiness study, which found that only 10 percent of 2013 African-American high school graduates met at least three of the ACT’s four college-readiness benchmarks. By comparison, 39 percent of all test takers met the same number of benchmarks, which are indicators of better success in college. Data on African-American high school graduates who met at least two benchmarks in 2011 indicated that 71 percent entered a second year of post-secondary study, a rate similar to all ACT testers who achieved two or more benchmarks.

Testing embedded in digital games yields key data

Education Week

This article highlights the increasing number of video game developers that are embedding assessments in their games to help educators collect and track data on student performance. Games like SimCityEDU collect data from the classroom use of educational video games that can provide deeper insight into a student’s learning gaps and weaknesses than traditional testing and evaluation methods. In addition, educators are seeing an another benefit: Games help students develop a vested interest in achieving their personal best. A-GAMES (Analyzing Games for Assessment in Math, ELA/Social Studies, and Science) is currently conducting a study on how teachers integrate video games with embedded assessment tools into their classrooms; findings are expected in the fall.

Reclassification Patterns among Latino English Learner Students in Bilingual, Dual Immersion, and English Immersion Classrooms

Stanford University
 

A study conducted by Stanford University for San Francisco Schools from 2002-2010 concluded that English-language learners of Latino descent, whether they had received partial or full instruction in English, were equally proficient in the language by the end of elementary school. In earlier years, bilingual-education students fell behind their full-immersion counterparts but, by 5th grade, the two groups scored similarly on state tests and had similar rates of reclassification to English-proficient status.

Studies follow four districts moving toward Common Core

Education Week
This article highlights reports on the efforts of four early adopters of the Common Core State Standards and how implementation has played out in five key areas: communications and engagement, leadership, curricular materials, professional development, and assessment and accountability. Conclusions drawn from the reports expose problem areas, including the need for better instructional materials that accurately reflect the standards, a lack of quality professional development tools, and the struggle for educators to help their students meet the testing standard.

Stories from the Field

NanoTeach helps teachers integrate cutting-edge science and technology into the classroom

As teachers look for new ways to integrate emerging science in their classrooms, McREL has created and piloted NanoTeach, a professional development program that offers a framework and methods for introducing nanoscale science content at the high school level. In 2010, McREL worked with 21 teachers via face-to-face and online training on integrating nanotech into their biology, chemistry, physics, and physical science courses. Throughout the pilot program, teachers refined the content of their lessons and strategies while consulting with researchers and scientists. By 2013, after a series of field tests, the study showed notable increases in student content knowledge in both teaching groups. In addition, teachers responded positively to NanoTeach’s experiential and inquiry-oriented approach to learning and were able to successfully integrate nanoscience into their curriculum.

New from McREL

New policy brief spotlights challenges of rural educators

A new policy brief written by McREL’s Jane Best and Courtney Cohen examines the unique challenges facing rural educators. Rural Education: Examining Capacity Challenges That Influence Educator Effectiveness describes recent steps taken by the federal government and states to address concerns such as recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers, technology use, and effective teacher evaluation processes. In addition, the brief summarizes responses to the proposed legislation and provides considerations and recommendations for policymakers.

School improvement expert David Hopkins joins McREL as honorary senior fellow 

British school reform expert, professor, and author David Hopkins has joined McREL International as honorary senior fellow. Hopkins will develop, along with McREL Australia Vice President Wayne Craig, a school improvement model based on their Powerful Learning book and program. Powerful Learning offers an evidence-based approach to large-scale educational reform that leads to measurable improvement in learning and achievement. This approach is built on an initiative in the Northern Metropolitan Region in Melbourne, Australia, a socially and economically diverse area where reform under Craig’s leadership produced outstanding results. Read the press release here.

Formative assessment courses available online 

The first in a series of seven courses (modules) on formative assessment created by McREL is now available on Udemy, a fee-based, online learning platform. The first course includes five lessons and introduces formative assessment as a process. Participants explore key components and have the opportunity to read relevant articles and engage in activities that deepen their understanding of how to apply formative assessment to their own contexts.
In This Issue

Featured Content

Summer PD is here!
 

Come to Denver this summer to learn how to make changes that will improve your teaching and leading when you return to school.

Balanced Leadership Institute for School-Level Leaders

 July 7-12

This six-day, in-depth institute gives current and aspiring principals the research-based knowledge and skills to initiate and manage change, develop a purposeful community, and choose the right initiatives to improve achievement.

Learn more and register

June 23-24

Attend this three-day workshop to learn best practices and strategies for gathering evidence of student learning, which can help improve your instructional effectiveness and meet the learning needs of your individual students.

Learn more and register 

Events & Opportunities

This one-hour online webinar on April 30 with Dr. Matt Kuhn introduces educators to project-based learning methods that integrate all STEM disciplines under one of the engineering themes from the Next Generation Science Standards. Dr. Kuhn will share a theoretical framework for project-based learning, and guide participants through STEM approaches and example lessons.

Contact Us
McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
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4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500 | Denver | CO | 80237

March 27, 2014

Enhancing Student Achievement: New Systems and Strategies

Also from Tuesday’s inbox…

April 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe  WestEd on FacebookWestEd on TwitterWestEd on Google+WestEd Linkedin

The Invisible Achievement Gap

California’s Smarter Balanced Assessment System—An Update: Free Webinar, Tuesday, April 1

Receive resources, updates, and answers to questions about the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress system. 3:30-4:45pm (Pacific Time)

School Turnaround Journeys

High-Quality Science Instruction—Building Conceptual Understanding and Language Skills for English Learners: Free Resource

Learn how the convergence of Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and 21st century skills can improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, particularly for English learners. Download this free resource.

High School to College

School Turnaround Learning Community: Resources & Tools

Access school turnaround practices, resources, and tools at the redesigned School Turnaround Learning Community website.

K-12 Math

Better Quality Child Care in California and Beyond

Visit the new Early Education Effectiveness Exchange (E4) website to learn about quality improvements in early learning programs throughout California. The website includes many free resources and is open to educators nationwide.

American Evaluation Association

Creating a Healthy School Climate and Culture

School climate and culture are important aspects of students’ education experience. Learn to use climate-related data to help your school and/or district.

Science for the Next Generation

Making Sense of SCIENCE—Energy for Teachers of Grades 6-8, Teacher Book: 20% Discount!

“What more could you ask for in a professional development experience? I learned new ways to get kids talking about science in a rich way, ways to analyze student work, and ways to improve my lessons. I also came face to face with some of my own science misconceptions. My teaching practice is changed forever.”

— Vicki Baker, National Board Certified teacher, Union City, CA

Data for Decisions Initiative: Helping Educators Use Data for Effective Decision-Making

Visit our Data for Decisions Initiative website for:

  • Advice and tools to help educators inform their practice through data
  • A library of research and action reports on data for decision-making
  • Opportunities for collaboration and reflection to advance practice and policy toward better and more use of data for decision-making
April 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe WestEd FacebookWestEd TwitterWestEd Google +WestEd Linkedin

Copyright © 2014 WestEd, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

WestEd

730 Harrison Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

Add us to your address book

March 7, 2014

Formative Assessment In The Era Of Common Core & Next Generation Standards

Another item from Tuesday’s inbox…

March 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe  WestEd on FacebookWestEd on TwitterWestEd on Google+WestEd Linkedin

The Invisible Achievement Gap

Focusing Formative Assessment on the Needs of English Language Learners: New Paper

In this era of Common Core and other next generation standards, how can formative assessment enhance the teaching and learning of English language learner students? What are the opportunities and challenges inherent in integrating formative assessment into instruction for these students?

This new paper explores these questions and more.

School Turnaround Journeys

Common Core Implementation & School Improvement: Free Webinars

High School to College

Increase Student Literacy with Reading Apprenticeship

What if instead of teaching around the text, lecturing, or summarizing for students, teachers engaged students in actually grappling with text—reading and talking about what it means and how they figured it out?

WestEd’s Reading Apprenticeship encourages exactly this kind of teaching and learning. Learn more by visiting the new and improved Reading Apprenticeship website.

K-12 Math

Common Core, English Language Arts & Literacy, and Diverse Classrooms: Free Module

Schools must ensure every student, including students with disabilities, achieves the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy.

This free six-hour online professional development module helps educators create systemic support systems that address barriers to opportunity and success for every learner.

American Evaluation Association

The State Role in School Turnaround: New Resource

What is the role of state education agencies in school turnaround efforts? The answer, according to leading researchers and practitioners, is in the practical application of research and best practices. Learn more in this free publication.

American Evaluation Association

Helping Educators Use Data for Effective Decision Making: New Website

Data for decision making in education applies at all levels: classroom, school, district, state, and federal. Visit the new Data for Decisions Initiative website to access:

  • Advice and tools to help educators inform their practice through data
  • A library of research and action reports on data for decision making
  • Opportunities for collaboration and reflection to advance education practice and policy toward better and more use of data for decision making
Science for the Next Generation

Reading for Understanding—How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms: 25% Discount!

Reading for Understanding is a monumental achievement, bringing years of rigorous reading research together in a framework for teaching. Several randomized clinical trials and multiple ongoing studies demonstrate the effects of this approach.”

— Elizabeth Moje, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Dean for Research, School of Education, University of Michigan

Read excerpts and watch a video of Reading Apprenticeship in action.

Learn more about school improvement efforts nationwide in the latest issue of SchoolsMovingUpdate.
Common Core State Standards Implementation: Resources and services for schools, districts, and states implementing the new standards.
March 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe WestEd FacebookWestEd TwitterWestEd Google +WestEd Linkedin

Copyright © 2014 WestEd, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

WestEd

730 Harrison Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

Add us to your address book

February 25, 2014

McREL e-News February 2014

From Saturday’s inbox…

February 2014

Research Roundup

The Rising Cost of Not Going to College

Pew Research Center

This new report from the Pew Research Center shows that, despite the recession and the unemployment or underemployment in recent years of college graduates, the value of a college degree is greater than ever. Based on findings from a nationally representative survey of 2,002 adults and supplemented by an analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the report states that on nearly every measure of economic well-being and career attainment, young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education. For example, college graduates ages 25-32 working full-time earn about $17,500 more annually than young adults with high school diplomas.

College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn’t

NPR.org

This story from NPR highlights a new study conducted by a former dean of admissions of Bates College which found that students who submit SAT scores to colleges do not have an advantage over those who don’t. Further, the study suggests that high school grades have a greater influence than SAT scores on a student’s success in college. William C. Hiss and co-author Valerie W. Franks used data from 33 U.S. schools that make standardized test submissions optional, including nearly 123,000 student and alumni records. The authors assert that optional testing policies give broader access to education, noting that non-submitters are more likely to be first-generation college students, minorities, Pell Grant recipients, women, and students with learning difficulties like dyslexia.

Kansas study links exercise, education success

Education Week
 

Physical fitness has an impact on the performance of elementary and middle school students on math and reading exams, a new study from the Kansas Fitness Information Tracking Initiative shows (see article). Based on data collected on the fitness levels of 13,000 students from 152 schools, the study found that students who met one or none of the fitness standards scored 50.4% and 41.8% above proficiency standards for math and reading, while students who met all five fitness standards scored 73.6% above the standard for reading and 70.3% above for math.

Stories from the Field

Multi-pronged PD brings cohesion to rural Michigan districts

The 19 small, rural districts that comprise Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD) had struggled for several years with achievement. To help bring its test scores up to the state average, the district first rebuilt its curriculum and assessments, and then partnered with McREL to work on improving principals’ leadership skills. An 18-month-long Balanced Leadership training program (part of a U.S. Department of Education study) led to additional training in classroom observations (Power Walkthrough) and technology (Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works). The multi-pronged effort paid off: Students scored at or above the state average in proficiency in all grades (3-8) in both reading and math, and its scores are improving faster than those of other districts in the region. Read more here.

New from McREL

Study shows Balanced Leadership® has impact on turnover

An evaluation of McREL’s Balanced Leadership has found that participation in the professional development program had a substantial impact on both principal and teacher turnover. Researchers Robin Jacob of the University of Michigan and Roger Goddard of McREL collected data on 1,700 educators from 126 schools who participated in a series of 10, two-day professional development sessions designed to provide research-based guidance to principals to enhance their effectiveness and improve school performance. Principals and teachers in the treatment schools were significantly more likely to remain in the same school during the three years of the study than those in the control schools. Jacob and Goddard calculated that, given the average costs of replacing teachers and principals, reduction in turnover could have saved these particular schools a total of between $445,000 and $1.8 million. Jacob and Goddard will present their findings at the SREE (Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness) Spring 2014 Conference in Washington, D.C., March 6-8.

Articles on the Common Core, dealing with student stress 

February’s THE Journal includes an article written by John Kendall, which describes the solutions the Common Core can provide to many of education’s challenges if educators take best advantage of it and keep students and learning at the center of efforts.

Bryan Goodwin’s latest Research Says column in ASCD Express looks at the effects of stress on student performance and how school leaders and educators can improve achievement by reframing “threats,” like school failure, as challenges, like “helping students succeed.”

Videos give tips on the “touchstones” of good teaching 

A series of four videos featuring McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Hubbell discussing their book, The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching, are now available on McREL’s YouTube page. Included are an overview video and three videos that highlight effective teaching “imperatives”: Be Demanding, Be Supportive, and Be Intentional.

In This Issue

Featured Content

Summer PD is here!
 

Come to Denver this summer to learn how to make changes that will improve your teaching and leading when you return to school.

Balanced Leadership Institute for School-Level Leaders

 July 7-12

This six-day, in-depth institute gives current and aspiring principals the research-based knowledge and skills to initiate and manage change, develop a purposeful community, and choose the right initiatives to improve achievement.

Learn more and register

Classroom Instruction That Works® Workshop & Facilitator Training

July 14-16, 17-18

Our three-day workshop shows how to use research-based, classroom-proven instructional strategies with any student, at any grade level, in any subject area.

Learn more and register

A two-day facilitator training is available on July 17-18 for those interested in becoming licensed to deliver CITW to educators in your local district or service area.

Learn more and register

Events & Opportunities

This webinar on February 26 will help educators better connect classroom assessment practices to the instructional shifts required by the Common Core State Standards. Learn how to use daily checks for understanding throughout the year to ensure student progress and how to examine the use of feedback, self-assessment, and evaluation of student misconceptions for instructional intervention.

Contact Us
McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
Stay Connected

Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   Pinterest

4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500 | Denver | CO | 80237

February 6, 2014

Common Core: Upcoming Webinars, New Resource

Yet another item from Tuesday’s inbox…

February 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe  WestEd on FacebookWestEd on TwitterWestEd on Google+WestEd Linkedin

The Invisible Achievement Gap

Common Core Implementation: Free Webinars

School Turnaround Journeys

Performance Assessment Tasks Help Teachers Prepare for the Common Core: New Policy Brief

This new WestEd policy brief presents critical information for district administrators in the midst of selecting and/or implementing strategies to help teachers transition to the Common Core State Standards. Download this free resource.

High School to College

Quality Teaching for English Learners Institutes: Develop Capacity for Deeper Learning

This summer, participate in professional development that is focused on developing teacher expertise to engage English language learners in transferable learning.

In addition, learn how to plan and implement instruction that builds student autonomy and aligns to new standards.

K-12 Math

The State Role in School Turnaround: Emerging Best Practices

With chapters written by leading researchers and practitioners, this volume examines the role of the state education agency in school turnaround efforts, with an emphasis on the practical application of research and best practices.

American Evaluation Association

Effective Early Childhood Transitions—Early Start to Preschool: New Resource!

This guide identifies both required elements and recommended practices to support families and their children as they successfully navigate transition from Early Start to other services at age three.

Science for the Next Generation

Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners—A Pedagogy of Promise: 30% Discount!

“Lively and highly readable … illustrates a creative, current, and coherent approach to teaching, and challenges aspects of traditional curricula and assessment processes that have, in the past, limited learners’ potential.” — Pauline Gibbons, author of Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning

Learn more about school improvement efforts nationwide in the latest issue of SchoolsMovingUpdate.
Common Core State Standards Implementation: Resources and services for schools, districts, and states implementing the new standards.
February 2014

WestEd.org | Email to a Friend | Subscribe WestEd FacebookWestEd TwitterWestEd Google +WestEd Linkedin

Copyright © 2014 WestEd, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

WestEd

730 Harrison Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

Add us to your address book

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