Consortium for Policy Research in Education
The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) is a community of researchers from renowned research institutions and organizations committed to advancing educational policy and practice through evidence-based research.
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PublicationDefining, Developing, and Using Curriculum Indicators(2001-12-01) Porter, Andrew C; Smithson, John LWe begin with a brief review of the lessons learned in the Reform Up Close study, a Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) project funded by the National Science Foundation, then discuss the central issues involved in defining and measuring curriculum indicators, while noting how our approach has developed over the past 10 years (1992-2002). This is followed by a discussion about using curriculum indicators in school improvement, program evaluation, and informing policy decisions. PublicationOut-of-Field Teaching and the Limits of Teacher Policy(2003-09-01) Ingersoll, RichardThe failure to ensure that the nation’s classrooms are all staffed with qualified teachers is one of the most important problems in contemporary American education. Over the past decade, many panels, commissions, and studies have focused attention on this problem and, in turn, numerous reforms have been initiated to upgrade the quality and quantity of the teaching force. This report focuses on the problem of underqualified teachers in the core academic fields at the 7-12 th grade level. Using data from the nationally representative Schools and Staffing Survey, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, this analysis examined how many classes are not staffed by minimally qualified teachers, and to what extent these levels have changed in recent years. The data show that while almost all teachers hold at least basic qualifications, there are high levels of out-of-field teaching—teachers assigned to teach subjects that do not match their training or education. Moreover, the data show that out-of-field teaching has gotten slightly worse in recent years, despite a plethora of reforms targeted to improving teacher quality. The report discusses possible reasons for the failure of these reform efforts. My thesis is that, despite the unprecedented interest in and awareness of this problem, there remains little understanding of a key issue—the reasons for the prevalence of underqualified teaching in American schools—resulting thus far in a failure of teacher policy and reform. I conclude by drawing out the lessons and implications of these failures for the prospects of the No Child Left Behind Act to successfully address the problem of underqualified teachers in classrooms in the coming years. PublicationTASK: A Measure of Learning Trajectory-Oriented Formative Assessment(2013-06-01) Supovitz, Jonathan A; Sirinides, Philip M; Ebby, Caroline BrayerThis interactive electronic report provides an overview of an innovative new instrument developed by CPRE researchers to authentically measure teachers’ formative assessment practices in mathematics. The Teacher Analysis of Student Knowledge, or TASK, instrument assesses mathematics teachers’ knowledge of formative assessment and learning trajectories, important components of the instructional knowledge necessary to teach to the high expectations of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Researchers found that the majority of teachers of mathematics in grades K-10 in urban and urban fringe districts focused on their students' procedural skills rather than their conceptual understandings, indicating that there is significant room for growth in teacher capacity to identify, interpret, and respond to students' conceptual understanding. PublicationEvaluation of the i3 Scale-Up of Reading Recovery | Year Two Report, 2012-13(2014-12-01) Goldsworthy, Heather; Armijo, Michael; Gray, Abigail M; Sirinides, Philip M; Blalock, Toscha J; Anderson-Clark, Helen; Schiera, Andrew J; Blackman, Horatio; Gillespie, Jessica; May, Henry; Sam, CecileReading Recovery is a short-term early intervention designed to help the lowest-achieving readers in first grade reach average levels of classroom performance in literacy. Students identified to receive Reading Recovery meet individually with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher every school day for 30-minute lessons over a period of 12 to 20 weeks. The purpose of these lessons is to support rapid acceleration of each child’s literacy learning. In 2010, The Ohio State University received a Scaling Up What Works grant from the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund to expand the use of Reading Recovery across the country. The award was intended to fund the training of 3,675 new Reading Recovery teachers in U.S. schools, thereby expanding service to an additional 88,200 students. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) was contracted to conduct an independent evaluation of the i3 scale-up of Reading Recovery over the course of five years. The evaluation includes parallel rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental designs for estimating program impacts, coupled with a large-scale mixed-methods study of program implementation. This report presents the findings of the second year of the evaluation. The primary goals of this evaluation are: a) to provide experimental evidence of the impacts of Reading Recovery on student learning under this scale-up effort ; b) to assess the success of the scale-up in meeting the i3 grant’s expansion goals; and c) to document the implementation of the scale-up and fidelity to program standards. This document is the second in a series of three reports based on our external evaluation of the Reading Recovery i3 Scale-Up. This report presents results from the impact and implementation studies conducted over the 2012-2013 school year—the third year of the scale-up effort and the second full year of the evaluation. In order to estimate the impacts of the program, a sample of first graders who had been selected to receive Reading Recovery were randomly assigned to a treatment group that received Reading Recovery immediately, or to a control group that did not receive Reading Recovery until the treatment group had exited the intervention. The reading achievement of students in this sample was assessed using a standardized assessment of reading achievement—the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). The data for the implementation study include extensive interviews and surveys with Reading Recovery teachers, teacher leaders, site coordinators, University Training Center directors, members of the i3 project leadership team at The Ohio State University, and principals and first-grade teachers in schools involved in the scale-up. Case studies were also conducted in nine i3 scale-up schools to observe how Reading Recovery operates in different contexts. PublicationMeasuring School Capacity, Maximizing School Improvement(2012-07-01) Beaver, Jessica K; Weinbaum, Elliot HGiven the nearly ubiquitous use of the term "capacity" in education policy discourse, this policy brief offers a common framework for analyzing capacity that educators, policymakers, and researchers alike can apply and understand with consistency. Drawing data from a larger three-year CPRE study of school responses to accountability in Pennsylvania, the authors' goal is not to provide an easy, new, one-sentence definition, but rather to create a shared language that can be applied to research and improvement efforts in schools. To accomplish this, the authors break capacity down into component parts, explaining how each one builds off the next and contributes to theoverall concept. PublicationDiscipline in Context: Suspension, Climate, and PBIS in the School District of Philadelphia(2017-10-01) Gray, Abigail M; Sirinides, Philip M; Fink, Ryan; Flack, Adrianne; DuBois, Tesla; Morrison, Katrina; Hill, KirstenThe report details a two-year exploratory, mixed-methods research study on the disciplinary practices and climate of schools serving K–8 students in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Findings reveal that SDP schools are making efforts to reduce suspensions and improve climate, but critical barriers to these efforts include resource limitations and philosophical misalignments between teachers and school leaders. The study identified three profiles among SDP schools serving K–8 students based on information about disciplinary practices and climate, and found that these profiles are predictive of suspension and academic outcomes. Students attending schools with collaborative climates and less punitive approaches to discipline have lower risk of being suspended and better academic outcomes. The report offers a series of recommendations for strengthening the implementation of climate initiatives, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), in challenging urban settings. PublicationParallel Play in the Education Sandbox: The Common Core and the Politics of Transpartisan Coalitions(2016-01-01) McGuinn, Patrick; Supovitz, Jonathan AIn Parallel Play in the Education Sandbox: The Common Core and the Politics of Transpartisan Coalitions,” Patrick McGuinn and Jonathan Supovitz examine the successes and limits of transpartisan opposition to Common Core. What are the lessons of the Common Core fight for education policy? Are there lessons applicable to other fragile areas of bipartisan cooperation? This report is the third in a series of New Models of Policy Change case studies published by New America. PublicationPathways for Analyzing and Responding to Student Work for Formative Assessment: The Role of Teachers’ Goals for Student Learning(2019-07-26) Ebby, Caroline Brayer; Remillard, Janine; D'Olier, Jordan HThis study explored how teachers interpreted and responded to their own student work during the process of formative assessment. The study involved a purposefully selected sample of 32 teachers in grades K-5 who had been trained by the Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP) to use learning progressions to analyze and respond to evidence in student work. Since formative assessment is fundamentally an interpretive process, involving continually eliciting and interpreting evidence of student thinking from student work in order to inform teaching and learning (Black & Wiliam, 2009), the study analyzed data collected through semi-structured interviews. The study found variations in the way teachers make sense of their student work for formative assessment that were related to their underlying goals for student learning. Teachers with an achievement orientation tended to focus on performance goals: giving formative assessment items to gauge student performance on problems that reflected what had recently been taught and focused on singular or multiple components of performance to make a binary judgment (i.e. students who “get it or don’t get it”). Teachers with a learning orientation gave items to learn more about what students were able to do on different types of problems and focused on student strategies as an indicator of underlying understanding and development. These orientations also had implications for the instructional response teachers developed; as teachers looked beyond surface features of student work and binary distinctions, they developed more differentiated responses that built on students’ knowledge and their ability to develop more sophisticated understanding. In between these two extremes, we found three categories of hybrid approaches to formative assessment, demonstrating a push-and-pull between achievement and learning orientations at different decision points during the steps of the formative assessment process. Those decision points – the teachers’ purpose in giving an item, the evidence focused on, the interpretive framework used to analyze the evidence, and the focus of the instructional responses – offer multiple footholds in the formative assessment process where teachers can begin to try out new approaches that reflect a shift in orientation to student learning. The study shows that using formative assessment is not simply a matter of taking up new practices and using new tools. The variations in understanding and use of the ideas that were offered in professional development, as reflected in teachers’ actual practices, suggests that it is important to provide opportunities for sustained learning and supported use over time. PublicationKeystone Scholars: A State-wide Pennsylvania Child Savings Accounts Initiative(2019-08-01) Nathenson, Robert A; Jones-Layman, AmandaIn 2019 the Pennsylvania Treasury launched a state-wide children’s savings account (CSA) initiative, Keystone Scholars. Keystone Scholars provides $100 in college savings to eligible families - all children born or adopted in Pennsylvania after January 1, 2019. In this introductory research brief, we describe how CSAs are an important tool for families to increase educational expectations and asset accumulation, particularly for college savings, offer a preliminary look into college savings accounts in Pennsylvania, and explore how the Pennsylvania Treasury is using data-driven insights to encourage college savings of Pennsylvanian households. PublicationOut-of-Field Teaching, Educational Inequality, and the Organization of Schools: An Exploratory Analysis(2002-01-01) Ingersoll, RichardContemporary educational theory holds that one of the pivotal causes of inadequate student achievement, especially in disadvantaged schools, is the inability of schools to adequately staff classrooms with qualified teachers. Deficits in the quantity of teachers produced and in the quality of preparation prospective teachers receive have long been singled out as primary explanations for underqualified teaching. In this study, I hypothesize that the manner in which schools are organized and in which teachers are utilized can account for as much of the problem of underqualified teaching as do inadequacies in teacher training or the supply of teachers. This analysis specifically focuses on a little recognized source of underqualified teaching—the problem of out-of-field teaching—teachers being assigned by school administrators to teach subjects that do not match their training or education. I use data from the Schools and Staffing Survey—a large, comprehensive, nationally representative survey of teachers conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The results show that while most teachers, even in disadvantaged schools, hold basic qualifications, a significant proportion of these qualified teachers, especially in disadvantaged schools, are assigned to teach classes out of their fields. Data also show that out-of-field teaching is not primarily due to school hiring difficulties resulting from teacher shortages. In contrast, the analysis shows that a number of aspects of the administration and organization of schools are significantly related to out-of-field teaching. For example, school district regulations concerning minimal education requirements for new hires, the quality of principal leadership, the strategies schools use to cope with teacher recruitment and hiring, and average school class sizes all have an independent association with the extent of out-of-field teaching in schools, after controlling for other factors.