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 Limits and Contradictions of Systemic Reform: The Philadelphia Story(2002-11-01) Corcoran, Thomas B.; Christman, Jolley BruceIn Philadelphia, the Annenberg Challenge was known as Children Achieving and was a districtwide systemic reform initiative designed and led by a small core group of District officials and external partners. This report examines the Children Achieving Challenge and the strategies the designers employed to improve teaching and learning in the public schools. Among the conditions associated with the Annenberg Challenge were requirements that two matching dollars be raised for each one received from the Annenberg Foundation and that an independent management structure be created to provide program, fiscal, and evaluation oversight of the grant. In Philadelphia, a business organization, Greater Philadelphia First, assumed these responsibilities, and with them, the challenge of working with the School District to build and sustain civic support for the improvement of the public schools. PublicationThe Varieties of Knowledge and Skill-Based Pay Design: A Comparison of Seven New Pay Systems for K-12 Teachers(2002-10-01) Milanowski, AnthonyA number of lines of research (e.g., National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996; Slavin & Fashola, 1998; Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997; Bembry, Jordan, Gomez, Anderson, & Mendro, 1998; Ferguson & Ladd, 1996) have identified teacher instructional capacity as a key variable in the success of educational reforms in improving student achievement. Since 2000, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education has been studying a new form of teacher compensation that may have the potential to support improvements in the capacity of teachers to deliver instruction that would enable all children to achieve to high academic standards, as well as to respond to the growing public concern that there be some link between teacher salaries and teacher performance. This innovation -- knowledge and skill-based pay -- rewards teachers with base pay increases and/or bonuses for acquiring and demonstrating specific knowledge and skills needed to meet educational goals, such as improving student achievement. The application of this pay concept to K-12 education has been suggested by Conley and Odden (1995), Mohrman, Morhman, and Odden (1996), and Odden and Kelley (1997). This report examines a study of seven knowledge and skill-based pay systems for teachers that have been developed by U.S. schools or districts. 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. PublicationThe Mathematics and Science Teacher Shortage: Fact and Myth(2009-03-01) Ingersoll, Richard; Perda, DavidContemporary educational thought holds that one of the pivotal causes of inadequate school performance is the inability of schools to adequately staff classrooms with qualified teachers, especially in fields such as mathematics and science. Shortages of teachers, it is commonly believed, are at the root of these staffing problems, and these shortfalls are, in turn, primarily due to recent increases in teacher retirements and student enrollments. The objective of this study is to empirically reexamine the issue of mathematics and science teacher shortages and to evaluate the extent to which there is a supply-side deficit—a shortage—of new teachers in these particular fields. The data utilized in this investigation are from three sources—the Schools and Staffing Survey and its supplement, the Teacher Follow-Up Survey; the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System; and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Survey, all conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data show that there are indeed widespread school staffing problems—that is, many schools experience difficulties filling their classrooms with qualified candidates, especially in the fields of math and science. But, contrary to conventional wisdom, the data also show that these school staffing problems are not solely, or even primarily, due to shortages in the sense that too few new mathematics and science teachers are produced each year. The data document that the new supply of mathematics and science teachers is more than sufficient to cover the losses of teachers due to retirement. For instance, in 2000 there were over two and half teachers in the new supply of math teachers for every one math teacher who retired that year. However, when preretirement teacher turnover is factored in, there is a much tighter balance between the new supply of mathematics and science teachers and losses. The data also shows that turnover varies greatly between different types of schools and these differences are tied to the characteristics and conditions of those schools. While it is true that teacher retirements are increasing, the overall volume of turnover accounted for by retirement is relatively minor when compared with that resulting from other causes, such as teacher job dissatisfaction and teachers seeking to pursue better jobs or other careers. PublicationLearning About Assessment: An Evaluation of a Ten-State Effort to Build Assessment Capacity in High Schools(2009-02-01) Weinbaum, Elliot HIn 2006, the State of Delaware and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) partnered with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) to conduct an evaluation of a ten-state initiative that sought to enhance assessment practices at the high school level. This effort aimed to help states, districts, and schools build familiarity with instruction that uses assessment as part of the learning process, a practice known as assessment for learning. This report focuses primarily on the third goal of this project, the creation and function of teacher learning teams focused on assessment for learning. PublicationTeacher Learning and Instructional Change: How Formal and On-the-Job Learning Opportunities Predict Change in Elementary School Teachers' Practice(2010-03-01) Parise, Leigh Mesler; Spillane, James PRecent education reform has emphasized the importance of teacher learning in improving classroom instruction and raising student achievement. This article focuses on teachers' learning opportunities, including formal professional development and on-the-job learning that occurs through interactions with colleagues. Using data from 30 elementary schools in a mid-sized urban school district, the authors concurrently explore the relationships between teachers' formal professional development and on-the-job learning opportunities and instructional change. Results suggest that formal professional development and on-the-job opportunities to learn are both significantly associated with changes in teachers' instructional practice in mathematics and English language arts. PublicationScaling Up Instructional Improvement Through Teacher Professional Development: Insights From the Local Systemic Change Initiative(2006-03-01) Weiss, Iris R; Pasley, Joan DThere is a widespread view in the research and policy communities that the quality of mathematics and science instruction offered to students in the United States is low. The widely discussed results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) suggested that the reasons for American students’ poor performance in mathematics and science are complex, but at least partly due to weaknesses in the knowledge and skills of those teaching the subjects. In order to enhance teaching in these content areas, states and school districts need to act on what research has discovered about professional development (PD) and instructional improvement. The purpose of this brief is to share results from a major PD effort that extend our understanding of what is entailed in creating improvements at scale. PublicationInstruction, Capacity, and Improvement(1999-06-01) Cohen, David K; Ball, Deborah LoewenberbSince World War II, efforts to improve schools have numbered in the thousands. Most efforts have concentrated on improving the curriculum materials used in schools or on "training" teachers in new instructional methods. Many of these efforts have gone under the banner of "building instructional capacity," a term that for decades has been featured prominently in conversations about educational reform. Unfortunately, three decades of research has found that only a few interventions have had detectable effects on instruction and that, when such effects are detected, they rarely are sustained over time. A review of research and professional experience with school improvement suggests several explanations for these disheartening findings. One is that schools are complex social organizations situated within, and vitally affected by, other complex social systems including families, communities, and professional and regulatory agencies. The larger social environment of schools constrains and shapes the actions of teachers, students, and administrators, often in ways that greatly complicate the work of school improvement. Challenges to school improvement are particularly acute in highpoverty settings where recruiting wellqualified teachers is difficult and where the emotional and health problems of students often deflects attention to educational issues or impedes work on them. As a result, many researchers now believe that school improvement involves much more than efforts to change interactions occurring within schools. To succeed, school improvement interventions also must attend to the complex relationships that exist among intervention agents, schools, and their social environments. PublicationTeaching for High Standards: What Policymakers Need to Know and Be Able to Do(1998-11-01) Darling-Hammond, Linda; Ball, Deborah LoewenbergIn this report, Ball and Darling-Hammond discuss the relationship between teacher knowledge and student performance; they summarize what the research suggest about what kinds of teacher education and professional development teachers need in order to learn how ot teach to high standards; and they describe what states are doing to provide these opportunities for teacher learning, and with what effects. 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.