Translating Evidence into Improvement
Translating Evidence into Improvement

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July 29, 2014 , EdSource

A Stanford University study of a 60,000-student district in California, which is unnamed as part of an agreement between researchers and the district, looked at 12 years of English learner data. Researchers found that many students enrolled in English immersion classes, which focus on teaching English and offer no instruction in students’ primary language, were reclassified as fluent in English before finishing elementary school, said Ilana Umansky, now an education professor at the University of Oregon and co-author of the study. That jump start didn’t help them in middle school, though, when their peers who had been enrolled in bilingual or dual immersion classes began getting reclassified and performed better on tests that measure academic proficiency.

July 22, 2014 , Education Week

Doubling up on math classes for a year may help middle school students in the short term, but the benefits of doing so depreciate over time—and are likely not worth the price of missing out on instruction in other subjects, according to a new study published by Stanford University's Center for Education Policy Analysis. 

July 18, 2014 , Stanford Report

Eric Taylor, a PhD student who studies the economics of education at Stanford's Center for Education Policy Analysis, found that increasing the amount of time struggling students spend in math class improved math test scores, but the gains did not last in the long run. Spending more of the school day in math class also may have had unforeseen costs.

The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) labeled two-thirds of U.S. students aged 14 to 15 as "not proficient" in math. They would, for instance, have had trouble solving a problem with unit conversions, such as converting fluid ounces to quarts, or identifying lines of symmetry in shapes.

July 11, 2014 , Inside Higher Ed

When the teacher and poet Taylor Mali declares, “I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face,” he testifies to the powerful ways teachers can use emotions to help students learn and grow.  Students -- and their parents -- put a great deal of trust in college educators to use these powers wisely and cautiously. This is why the unfolding debacle of the Facebook emotional contagion experiment should give educators great pause.

July 02, 2014

Tom Dee, professor of Education at Stanford University, on Understanding Persistence in MOOCs at Stanford Digital Learning Forum https://sdlf.stanford.edu/activities-events

July 01, 2014 , Hanushek.net

This year's battle over the introduction of Common Core standards in public schools has diverted attention from a more important but quieter battle led by teachers unions to eliminate school accountability and teacher evaluations. These two measures are the real engines that will drive educational improvement, and it's critical that attempts to do away with them be blocked.

The Common Core was designed to replace the hodge-podge of standards in place in the individual states with a national proclamation of what all students should know in each subject and grade. The standards were developed under the auspices of the National Governors Association and strongly backed by the U.S. Department of Education. Over the past five years, 44 states adopted them, although ordinary citizens and even many people in the schools didn't know much about them. The new standards also have led to a related movement to develop new tests of student performance planned for the 2015-16 school year. The Common Core standards were designed to move American students, who generally score below the developed-country average in math and science, up to world-class achievement.

June 26, 2014 , Policy Analysis for California Education

A strong majority of California voters oppose the state’s tenure and layoff policies for public school teachers, according to a new poll released just days after the landmark Vergara court case invalidated both statutes as unconstitutional.

June 25, 2014 , Stanford Graduate School of Education

By Andrew Myers

A study of Miami-Dade's transfer policy suggests that moving poor-performing teachers into better schools improves equity.

The ability to move teachers, against their wishes, to a different school is a necessary tool, argue school and district leaders, to improve teacher performance and get the right mix of teachers across a district.

But forced transfers remain hotly contested, and critics say the policies only shuffle ineffective teachers to new schools or place them in situations where their skills are underused.

June 25, 2014

Michael Kirst, Professor Emeritus of Stanford Graduate School of Education and President of California State Board of Education, gives update and progress on the politics and policy of Common Core implementation.

June 18, 2014

Daphna Bassok talks about her research on The changing nature of early childhood learning in the age of accountability.

June 15, 2014 , Education Week

After New York City encouraged principals to be more deliberative in awarding tenure, ineffective teachers were more likely to leave schools or the profession voluntarily—to the benefit of students, according to a recently released working paper.

Even though the overall percentage of teachers actually denied tenure did not change much, the more-rigorous process appears to have reshaped the workforce—suggesting that changes in practice rather than underlying tenure laws, may bear fruit, said Susanna Loeb, a Stanford University professor and one of the study's authors.

June 12, 2014 , hanushek.net

Teacher tenure discussions often suggest that what is in the best interest of teachers is also in the best interest of students. But the groundbreaking decision in the Vergara case makes it clear that early, and effectively irreversible, decisions about teacher tenure have real costs for students and ultimately all of society.

June 12, 2014 , USA Today

In a stunning decision, a judge in the California Superior Court has ruled that, because education is a fundamental right of California youth, the laws governing teacher tenure, teacher dismissal and rules for layoffs are unconstitutional. This ruling only applies to California – and surely will be appealed by the teachers union – but it could open up consideration of students' rights in a larger number of states.

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