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    English Language and Literacy Acquisition-Validation i3 Evaluation (Valid 22) Final Report
    Wolf, Betsy; Latham, Gavin; Armstrong, Clayton; Ross, Steven; Laurenzano, Mary; Daniels, Cecilia; Eisinger, Jane; Reilly, Joseph (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2018-08)
    The English Language and Literacy Acquisition–Validation (ELLA-V) study was a five-year evaluation of a program that provided professional development, coaching, and curricula that targeted English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instruction for teachers of K–3 English learners (ELs). The project was federally funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund (PR/Award Number U411B120047). Professors at Texas A&M University developed the professional development, the coaching program, and the curricula. Researchers at the Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) at Johns Hopkins University were the independent evaluators. ELLA-V was implemented in 79 schools in 10 school districts in Texas in the 2013–14 through 2016–17 school years. The ELLA-V professional development and curricula focused on literacy and science content, as well as cognitive-academic language proficiency to progress EL students’ English language acquisition. Teachers received the intervention for a single year, dependent on grade-level implementation. Each school year, treatment teachers in one grade level received bimonthly virtual professional training for 18 sessions between September and May. Schools were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment conditions: Treatment 1, Treatment 2, and Business-as-Usual. Treatment 1 and Treatment 2 received equivalent professional development and coaching, but curricula materials differed across the two treatments. The impact of ELLA-V on student and teacher outcomes was estimated using hierarchical linear modeling. Propensity score weighting was also used to estimate program impact on teacher outcomes and some student outcomes due to large differences at baseline. ELLA-V improved EL teachers’ quality of instruction, which led to improvements in oral language and phonological awareness for younger students and in science for third-grade students who were exposed to a literacy-infused science curriculum. Higher quality of instruction for treatment teachers was evident in increased use of ESL strategies (e.g., grouping activities, differentiated instruction, visuals for learning new vocabulary, and sentence stems) and a greater emphasis on cognitive-academic language proficiency compared with business-as-usual teachers. With one exception, ELLA-V did not impact EL students’ English language development, reading, writing, or self-esteem. This report concludes that the ELLA-V was mostly implemented with fidelity and yielded improved outcomes for EL students in some content areas. More research is needed to identify the cumulative effects across multiple grade levels of the ELLA-V approach (oral language to pre-reading to reading and writing) on EL students’ academic performance and English language proficiency.
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    DC MySchool Data Enrollment Report
    Wolf, Betsy; Armstrong, Clayton; Ross, Steven (Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, 2020-01-09)
    A recent report commissioned by the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor examined the accuracy of enrollment projections by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and by charter local educational agencies (LEAs). While the report found that enrollment projections were fairly consistent with LEA level enrollment, based on a sum of October-audited school enrollments, the report found inaccuracies in school-level enrollment projections. More specifically, less than 40 percent of school-level enrollment projections were within two percentage points above or below the projection. Importantly, the report found that errors in school-level enrollment projections were greater in certain Wards, in transition grades, and in schools with more student mobility or “churn.” The prior report only minimally addressed how factors such as student mobility and school demand—both of which affect a school’s enrollment and therefore its funding—related to the accuracy of enrollment projections. In addition, the prior report did not address the accuracy of enrollment projections for specific student subgroups that receive additional funding in the District’s Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF). This study provides a more robust investigation into the relationship between enrollment projection accuracy and factors that likely influence the accuracy of projections. Additionally, this study seeks to better understand the accuracy of enrollment projections for specific student subgroups that receive additional funding: special education, English learner, and students considered “at-risk.” In the District, the “at-risk” classification includes students in families qualifying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and students who are homeless, in foster care, or over-age for their grade in high school. Key findings and recommendations from this study are summarized in the following sections.
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    Reading Roots 5th Edition: Reading "Between the Lions": Project Summary and Evaluation
    Qiyang, Zhang; Amanda, Neitzel (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2021-12-14)
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    Evaluation of Istation's Early Reading Assessment and Curriculum in Spartanburg County School District 7 Final Report
    Cook, Michael; Ross, Steven (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2021-02)
    The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the association between ISIP scores and usage and student achievement and growth on ELA standardized test measures, as well as to compare MAP Reading assessment growth of SCSD-7 Istation students in relation to that of otherwise similar students who did not use Istation. This report includes findings from student usage and achievement data on ISIP ER and AR assessments, as well as on the SC READY ELA state assessment and NWEA MAP reading assessment Results showed that Istation students significantly outgained virtual comparison students, with this pattern especially pronounced for the younger cohort of students. SCSD-7 students were matched with virtual comparison students on the basis of prior reading achievement and demographic variables, with a sufficiently large sample size. Thus, this study supports the conclusion that Istation usage is related to larger reading achievement gains, in relation to non-Istation users. Further, the results of this study meet the criteria for meeting WWC Standards with Reservations, as well as those for “Moderate” evidence of the efficacy of Istation in improving student reading performance per the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Student Istation usage remained fairly consistent across each of the four school years analyzed in this report. Students tended to average between 14-17 hours of total usage each year. Usage was reported as two different measures: total usage and curriculum usage. This allowed for analysis of time students spent working on the Istation curriculum, in addition to total Istation time. Curriculum usage was also relatively steady across years, with students averaging about 13-14 hours of curriculum usage each year. Usage statistics declined markedly in the 2019-20 school year; however, this decline is almost certainly attributable to the disruption in the school year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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    Bet on Baltimore Yr 4 Final Report
    Laurenzano, Mary; Reilly, Joseph; Ross, Steven (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2022-01)
    Bet on Baltimore is an intensive summer youth development program with a focus on creativity, hands-on experience, community impact, and entrepreneurship created by Dent Education in 2017 and designed for Baltimore City public high school students. The goals are to engage high school students in Baltimore in meaningful work, leadership, and personal development activities and, according to the program’s developers, to “catalyze student potential and prepare them to create impact and value in a 21st century economy.” Dent Education’s mission is to “promote equity by empowering under-resourced youth to discover and develop their innate creative potential to shape the world around them.” Through its curriculum, Dent Education seeks to introduce students to the creative problem-solving process of design thinking, maker skills, and the experiences of entrepreneurship and networking. Students identify community issues and business challenges, meet with community and business leaders, learn new skills, and work to create their own social or business enterprise.
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    Randomized Controlled Trial of Edgenuity's Pathblazer in Floyd County Schools
    Wolf, Betsy; Cook, Michael; Eisinger, Jane; Ross, Steven (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2020-06)
    Pathblazer is a supplemental, online intervention program that helps struggling learners in grades K–8 achieve grade-level proficiency in mathematics and reading. Pathblazer offers students individualized learning progression paths with fun, motivating content that addresses skill and concept gaps. Using existing student data or results from a screener, Pathblazer immediately identifies where students are struggling and provides the targeted instruction they need to close early learning gaps. The instruction in math and reading is designed to help engage students, accelerate them to grade-level mastery, and increase student self-efficacy in learning. All lessons are built around a gradual release instructional model of explicit instruction, supported practice, independent practice, and assessments. The data Pathblazer collects as students complete their work also help teachers monitor student progress and adapt their instruction. Intervention reports in Pathblazer track student progress toward standards mastery, inform small-group instruction, and help teachers plan for one-on-one time with students.
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    Evaluation of Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) in Baltimore County Public Schools Yr 5 mid-year Final Report
    Morrison, Jennifer; Ross, Steven; Reilly, Joseph; Risman, Kelsey (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2019-04)
    The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the ongoing implementation and outcomes of the Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) initiative in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) that began in the 2014-15 school year. Key components of S.T.A.T., as reflected in the evaluation model (see Figure 1 presented in the main report), include professional development and the resulting impact on measurable outcomes relating to the goals of improving student achievement and preparing globally competitive students. The mid-year evaluation report focused on teacher survey results, classroom observations, and student focus group findings to examine professional development offered by S.T.A.T. teachers and the impact on measurable outcomes. For this study’s fifth and final year, the participant group was composed exclusively of Lighthouse elementary, Lighthouse middle, and Lighthouse high schools at the request of the district. This sampling approach intended to better investigate the initiatives’ long-range impact on those schools with the most extensive integration of the S.T.A.T. program. At the mid-point of Year 5, the evaluation results continue to suggest that the S.T.A.T. initiative is being implemented effectively across Lighthouse schools and is making valuable progress in helping improve the perceived quality of instruction in the district. Importantly, classroom teachers believe that their S.T.A.T. teachers have played an integral role in helping them move instruction in a more learner-centered direction, and students believe that learning has become both easier and more engaging. Findings from classroom observations this fall, though mostly similar with those from previous time points, demonstrated some modest evidence of instructional changes. Teachers continue to make more extensive use of coaching and facilitating types of instruction than they do of more teacher-centered forms of instruction (i.e., presentations). Furthermore, Cohort 1 and 2 teachers, who make up those most experienced with S.T.A.T., showed visibly more frequent use of collaborative learning activities, higher-level questioning, higher-order instructional feedback, and flexible grouping arrangements, than those from Cohorts 3 and 4. These findings potentially suggest that more widespread implementation of these strategies may occur as teachers gain experience in the initiative.
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    The Impacts of i-Ready Personalized Instruction on Student Math Achievement in Multiple School Districts
    Cook, Michael; Grant, Ashley; Ross, Steven (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2022-02)
    The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the impact of i-Ready Personalized Instruction on mathematics achievement, as measured by MCAS scores, in multiple school districts in Massachusetts. We compared students who received i-Ready Personalized Instruction with students who only participated in i-Ready Diagnostic testing. We also examined associations between various i-Ready usage metrics and achievement. Key findings revealed that i-Ready Personalized Instruction was associated with mathematics achievement gains; usage metrics were higher in elementary schools; and meeting usage guidance was associated with mathematics gains on the MCAS state assessment in math.
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    Evaluation of Dynamic Impact in Worcester County Public Schools Phase I
    Morrison, Jennifer; Webb, Jessica; Reilly, Joseph; Laurenzano, Mary; Eisinger, Jane (Center for Research and Reform in Education, 2022-09)
    The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the implementation of Dynamic Impact (DI) in Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) by Johns Hopkins’s Center for Technology in Education (CTE). As described by CTE, DI builds the capacity of school districts to form and sustain high-performing teams using several protocols to guide their work together as they implement school improvement plans. This descriptive study collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data to document perceptions of DI as implemented in WCPS, including regarding the experience of being on a DI team, fidelity of implementation, and perceived impact. All members of DI teams were asked to complete a survey that included closed- and open-response questions, and a selection of teachers, school administrators, and district personnel participated in focus groups. Data collection took place during the spring semester of 2022. In survey responses and focus groups, participants characterized the experience of being a DI team member as being defined by coordinated, purposeful efforts to set goals, identify root causes, analyze germane data, and continually monitor plans and progress, making adjustments to plans as appropriate. Guiding team members in these efforts are clear protocols that structure teams’ work and help ensure that all team members are positioned to contribute to plans and implementation and are accountable for doing so. CTE staff provide materials, training, coaching, and assistance to support teams in their work, and DI team members seem to respect the CTE team’s expertise and value their support. Participants generally reported a smooth experience, despite some frustrations around logistics and workload. While the expectations of DI team members are high, particularly given other demands on educators’ time, team members for the most part reported strong investment in the DI process and high fidelity in implementing its protocols. Participants generally indicated that they believe DI protocols are effective and that DI is strengthening their schools. Benefits identified included effective teaming and collaboration; shared vision and coordinated activity around goals, informed by data and involving well-chosen interventions; and ongoing engagement with the SIP as a living document. The most common area for improvement that participants noted was to increase the engagement and investment of educators at their schools beyond those on the DI teams.