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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PublicationThe Linking Study: An Experiment to Strengthen Teachers' Engagement With Data on Teaching and Learning(2013-04-01) Supovitz, Jonathan AIn this AERA 2013 paper, Dr. Jonathan Supovitz investigates what it means for teachers to fruitfully use data to enhance the teaching and learning process. Informed by research on the challenges teachers face to use data meaningfully, and clues from the rich literature on formative assessment, this paper reports on the design and effects of an intervention designed to help teachers connect data on their teaching with data on the learning of their students for the purpose of informing subsequent instruction which leads to better student outcomes. The hypothesis of this study, therefore, is that while examining data may be useful, the real value of data use is to examine the connection between data points – in this case the instructional choices that teachers make and the learning outcomes of students. Thus, ‘data use’ in this study means encouraging and facilitating teachers’ analytical experiences of linking data on teaching to data on the learning of their students. PublicationBuilding District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Jefferson County Public Schools(2013-09-01) Darfler, Anne; Riggan, MatthewThis report summarizes findings from one component of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s (CPRE) evaluation of the General Electric Foundation’s (GEF) Developing FuturesTM in Education program in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). The purpose was to closely analyze the district’s capacity to support system-wide instructional improvement. To understand how JCPS, one of the four Developing FuturesTM districts that were examined, built capacity for system-wide instructional improvement, our study focused on a single, overarching question: to what extent has JCPS central office adopted and institutionalized the seven core principles of Developing FuturesTM? PublicationAn Urban Myth? New Evidence of Equity, Adequacy and the Efficiency of Educational Resources(2014-12-01) Steinberg, Matthew; Quinn, RandIn this article, we offer an empirical rejoinder to the oft-told story that large urban districts, like Philadelphia, are inefficient. We situate our study during the very short period in Pennsylvania’s recent history when efforts were dedicated to addressing the inequitable distribution of resources through a fair funding formula and to increasing the amount of resources available for education spending. Even in the presence of a funding formula, school districts like Philadelphia (SDP) with its large percentage of low-income students and English language learners were disproportionately burdened. Unsurprisingly, the SDP, like many districts across the nation, did not receive sufficient resources to educate its students. However, we find that contrary to conventional wisdom, SDP did more per pupil with the resources at its disposal than the average peer district in terms of student poverty and achievement. PublicationFrom the Inside In: An Examination of Common Core Knowledge & Communication in Schools(2014-03-01) Supovitz, Jonathan A; Fink, Ryan; Newman, BobbiIn this report, CPRE researchers explore how Common Core knowledge and influence are distributed inside of schools and how these configurations may help teachers to engage with the Common Core and influence their understanding and implementation. To do so, we used a mixed-method approach to examine knowledge and influence in eight schools, including five elementary schools and three middle schools. Our central method was a survey of knowledge and influence of all faculty members in a sample of eight schools. These data are supplemented with interview data from a purposeful sample of teachers and administrators in the eight schools. Sponsored by the General Electric Foundation, which also provides support to New York City through its Developing FuturesTM in Education Program, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania has examined Common Core implementation in New York City in a series of studies. In 2013 CPRE released the findings of two investigations, one which described how the district constructed the 2011-12 Citywide Instructional Expectations (CIEs) for teachers, which were a small number of assignments for school faculties to complete during the school year to facilitate their engagement with the new Common Core (Supovitz, 2013). The second report examined how a diverse sample of 16 schools understood and implemented these CIEs and how their choices influenced their levels of engagement (Goldsworthy, Supovitz, & Riggan, 2013). A third report is a companion to the current report, focusing on teacher collaboration as a means of cultivating and transferring knowledge about the Common Core. PublicationMapping the Reading Improvement Sector in New York City The Role of External Support Providers in Improving K-3 Reading Outcomes(2019-02-01) Hatch, Thomas; Ahn, Meesuk; Ferguson, Daniel; Rumberger, AlysonThis report shares the results of a project designed to help build the collective capacity and increase the impact of the external support providers working to improve K-3 reading outcomes in New York City public elementary schools. In the first phase of the project, we identified all the programs in what we call the K-3 reading improvement sector in NYC 2014-15. In the second phase, we examined the extent to which a sample of these programs have the goals, resources, and personnel to improve reading outcomes system-wide. In the third phase, we mapped the relationships among a sample of programs in the sector in 2016-17, the sources they rely on to support their work, and the NYC schools with whom they partner. Making these relationships visible shows the extent to which students from different backgrounds and schools can get access to information, resources, and expertise, and the extent to which programs are in a position to increase their collective impact through coordination and collaboration. Among the findings: Over 100 programs are working in the K-3 Reading Improvement Sector in NYC The sample programs in the sector focus on a wide range of reading-related goals, but a limited number of programs have demonstrated effectiveness Twenty-six sample programs are connected to 161 different schools comprising 16% of all elementary schools in NYC (including 28% of the elementary schools in the Bronx and 26% of the elementary schools in Manhattan); and the programs are partnering with schools with relatively high levels of need in terms of both performance and poverty Just over half of the sample programs describe themselves as collaborating or partnering with at least one other sample program, but almost half were not in regular contact with any other sample program Sample programs received support from 57 different funders and 75 different sources for literacy expertise with little overlap These results suggest that sector programs have the goals, services, and personnel that could help improve K-3 reading outcomes in New York City; they have the connections to share resources and expertise with a large percentage of elementary schools; and several clusters of connected programs could serve as a powerful force for increased focus and collaboration in reading improvement across the city. However, the collective impact of the sector suffers from the evidence that goals vary considerably. Student and teacher programs differ in terms of their goals and personnel, and only a few programs have had formal outside evaluations completed. In addition, many of the sample programs in the sector are working in isolation from other sample programs and are informed by a wide range of sources of funding and expertise that are themselves likely to be only loosely connected. Although the clusters of collaborating and frequently connected programs could serve as a basis for expansion within the sector, the unconnected programs and the disparate sources of funding and expertise suggest that explicit strategies will need to be developed to support greater coherence in the sector and to increase the effectiveness of the sector overall. PublicationFederal Investment in Early Childhood Data Systems(2021-09-01) Morrison, Howard; Coffey, Missy; Peyton, SamanthaWithin the last year, there has been an unprecedented amount of federal investment to support states during the pandemic. These funds allowed states to invest in their early childhood data systems, collecting new data and creating new tools to support the needs of families, policymakers, and critical personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief provides a comprehensive overview of funding (past, present, and potential) available to states for early childhood data systems, including the new federal funding which includes or has allowances for early childhood data systems, pending legislation, previous federal investment, and existing federal funding with allowances for data systems support. Although there has been a significant amount of new federal funding that allows for the improvement of data collections, data enhancements, and data integration, there is still a need to support the state’s capacity to implement and maintain these improvements over time. This provides an opportunity for foundations, philanthropic organizations, or additional state and/or federal funds to supplement the data systems efforts. PublicationBuilding District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Stamford Public Schools(2013-12-01) Riggan, Matthew; Fink, RyanThis report summarizes findings from one component of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s (CPRE) evaluation of the General Electric Foundation’s (GEF) Developing FuturesTM in Education program in Stamford Public Schools (SPS). The purpose was to closely analyze the district’s capacity to support system-wide instructional improvement. To understand how SPS, one of the four Developing FuturesTM districts that were examined, built capacity for system-wide instructional improvement, our study focused on a single, overarching question: to what extent has SPS central office adopted and institutionalized the seven core principles of Developing FuturesTM? 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. PublicationThe Bubble Bursts: The 2015 Opt-Out Movement in New Jersey(2016-09-01) Supovitz, Jonathan A; Stephens, Francine; Kubelka, Julie; McGuinn, Patrick; Ingersoll, HannahThe Bubble Bursts: The 2015 Opt-Out Movement in New Jersey analyzes the scope, factors, and context of the opt-out movement that occurred in New Jersey in the spring of 2015. Using test participation data released in February 2016 by the New Jersey Department of Education, we found that approximately 135,000 students did not take the state assessment in the spring of 2015. Depending on how it was calculated, this represented between 11-19% of the population of students eligible for testing in grades 3 to 11 in the state. There was also a positive correlation between higher district opt-out rates and wealthier districts. We found that several factors contributed to these trends. Predominant amongst these were an accumulated skepticism with high stakes testing in general and the new PARCC assessment in particular, concerns from the Common Core State Standards rollout, teacher union opposition to premature teacher accountability, and confusion in the messages of state policymakers about graduation requirements. These explanatory factors were based upon interviews with over 30 state policymakers, professional education association representatives, advocacy group leaders, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students. PublicationEvaluation of the GE Foundation-Supported Demonstration Schools Initiative in Milwaukee Public Schools, SY 2012-2013(2013-12-01) Sam, Cecile; Darfler, Anne; Supovitz, Jonathan A; Hall, Daniella; Newman, BobbiThe Milwaukee Public School district (MPS) Demonstration Schools Initiative provided intensive support to 10 MPS elementary and middle schools implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English language arts. This evaluation report was designed to answer two overarching questions: How did MPS implement the Demonstration Schools Initiative in Year One, and what factors shaped the implementation? Is there evidence of teachers' adoption of the instructional shifts associated with the CCSS? This evaluation found that teachers in the Demonstration Schools ended the 2012-2013 school year with significantly higher CCSS knowledge in both mathematics and English language arts than did teachers in the comparison schools.