Virtual School Meanderings

March 31, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – April 2017

Note specifically K-12 online learning focused, but this particular REL has been good with K-12 distance, online, and blended learning work in recent years.

April 2017
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Greetings from the REL Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of four new products, Rubric for Evaluating Reading/Language Arts Instructional Materials for Kindergarten to Grade 5, Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are “beating the odds”Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations, and The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K–2. More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email or on our website.

We look forward to delivering additional insightful, research-based products and resources in the future, and as always, thank you for helping to improve education in the Southeast.

Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Director, REL Southeast

Rubric for Evaluating Reading/Language Arts Instructional Materials for Kindergarten to Grade 5

This rubric was developed in response to a request by Improving Literacy Research Alliance members at the Florida Department of Education to be used in their instructional materials review process. It is a tool for evaluating reading/language arts instructional and intervention materials in grades K–5 based on rigorous research and standards. It can be used by practitioners at the state, district, or school level or by university faculty involved in reviewing instructional materials. The rubric is organized by content area for grades K–2 and for grades 3–5. Each item is aligned to recommendations from six What Works Clearinghouse practice guides. Each content area (for example, writing) includes a list of criteria that describe what should be consistently found within the instructional materials. Reviewers use a 1-5 scale to rate the degree to which the criteria were met. The rubric includes a guide for when and how to use it, including facilitator responsibilities, professional learning for reviewers, and ways to use the scores. Alliance members and reading coaches involved in a statewide literacy initiative in Mississippi provided feedback on the rubric.

The rubric may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2j4CG3r.

Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations

The purpose of this report was to determine which Mississippi public schools perform better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Additionally, this study identified profiles of schools within Mississippi, or groups of schools with similar socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. This study identifies Mississippi public schools as “beating the odds” when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a multiple linear regression approach. The study identified distinct socioeconomic and demographic profiles of schools using latent profile analysis. Results indicate that 18 schools are beating the odds in English language arts and 19 schools are beating the odds in mathematics. Seven schools (about 3 percent) are beating the odds in both English language arts and mathematics. Four distinct demographic profiles of schools were identified, with the majority of schools having a profile consisting of high percentages of minority and low socioeconomic status students. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the improvement of low performing schools in Mississippi.

The report may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2lm5s2Z.

Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are “beating the odds”

The purpose of this report was to determine which South Carolina charter schools performed better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This study identified South Carolina charter schools as “beating the odds” when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a hierarchical linear model approach. Results indicate that for grades 3–5 13 schools beat the odds in English language arts and 14 schools beat the odds in mathematics. For grades 6–8, 12 schools beat the odds in English language arts and nine schools beat the odds in mathematics.

The report may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2mcAlV3.

The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K–2

This study examined whether using a stand-alone intervention outside the core curriculum leads to better outcomes than using the embedded curriculum for small group intervention in grades K–2. Fifty-five schools located across Florida were randomly assigned to stand-alone or embedded interventions delivered daily throughout the school year for 45 minutes in small groups of four or five students. Students below the 30th percentile in reading-related skills and/or vocabulary were eligible for intervention. One-third of participating students were English language learners. Both interventions were implemented with high fidelity. The stand-alone intervention significantly improved grade 2 spelling. However, impacts on other student outcomes were comparable. On average, students showed improvement in reading and language skills in both interventions. The two interventions had relatively similar impacts on reading and language outcomes among English learners and non-English learners, with the exception of some reading outcomes in kindergarten.

The study may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2lx7ARD.

You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or provided your information at a REL Southeast sponsored event.

Our mailing address is:

REL Southeast at Florida State University

2010 Levy Avenue
Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32310

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