A rare mid-day non-conference entry – since we have a two and a half hour break between K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning related sessions. Particularly note the REL Central report on Summary of Research on Online and Blended Learning Programs that Offer Differentiated Learning Options.
New REL Reports Released on Instruction and Interventions
The Institute of Education Sciences has released three new reports from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program, including a study on the effectiveness of two early literacy intervention approaches, a research review on the effects of formative assessments, and a look at research on online and blending learning programs that offer differentiated learning options.
The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K–2
REL Southeast conducted a randomized controlled trial in 55 low-performing schools across Florida to compare two pull-out early literacy interventions—one using standalone materials and one using materials embedded in the existing core reading program. The interventions were delivered daily for 45 minutes for 27 weeks in small groups of students at risk of literacy failure. The standalone intervention significantly improved grade 2 spelling outcomes relative to the embedded intervention, but impacts on other student outcomes in grades K-2 were similar for the two interventions. On average, students in schools that used the standalone intervention and students in schools that used the embedded intervention showed similar improvement in reading and language outcomes.
Formative assessment and elementary school student academic achievement: A review of the evidence
Formative assessment is a process that engages teachers and students in gathering, interpreting, and using evidence about what and how students are learning. This review by REL Central identifies rigorous studies of the effectiveness of formative assessment on elementary school student achievement. On average, across the identified studies, students who participated in formative assessment performed better on measures of academic achievement than those who did not. Formative assessment used during math instruction had larger effects, on average, than did formative assessment used during reading and writing instruction. For math, both student-directed formative assessment and formative assessment directed by other agents, such as an educator or a computer program, were effective. For reading, other-directed formative assessment was more effective than student-directed.
Summary of research on online and blended learning programs that offer differentiated learning options
Online and blended learning programs can offer differentiated learning options, which provide a variety of ways for students to engage with content and acquire knowledge and can be tailored to student interests and academic skills. This report from REL Central summarizes the research on K–12 online and blended learning programs that offer differentiated learning options and their influence on student achievement outcomes. The report also describes the characteristics of the learning programs. Most of the examined programs used blended learning strategies, and all the examined programs offered some means to differentiate their content, difficulty level, or pacing. Nearly half of the blended learning programs studied offered differentiation in the face-to-face component of instruction. In some of the most rigorous studies, statistically significant positive effects were found for four blended learning programs: Cognitive Tutor Algebra I, LeapTrack, READ 180, and Time To Know.
The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. To receive regular updates on REL work, including events and reports, follow IES on Facebook and Twitter. To provide feedback on this or other REL work, email Contact.IES@ed.gov.
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