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Now showing 1 - 10 of 91
  • Publication
    Measuring School Capacity, Maximizing School Improvement
    (2012-07-01) Beaver, Jessica K; Weinbaum, Elliot H
    Given 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.
  • Publication
    Keystone Scholars: A State-wide Pennsylvania Child Savings Accounts Initiative
    (2019-08-01) Nathenson, Robert A; Jones-Layman, Amanda
    In 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.
  • Publication
    School-Based Management: Promise and Process
    (1994-11-01) Wohlstetter, Priscilla; Mohrman, Susan Albers
    This issue of CPRE Finance Briefs summarizes research that investigated how school-based management can be implemented so that it is more than just a catch-phrase. Making the transition to SBM is neither simple nor quick. Neither is it possible for SBM to succeed simply by giving schools more power over such things as budgets, personnel and curriculum. In addition to power, schools need hefty portions of three other commodities that private sector research has found to be essential for making good and productive decisions: Knowledge of the organization so that employees can improve it. Teachers and other stakeholders need technical knowledge, such as how to employ new approaches to teaching, business knowledge, sch as how to develop a budget, and knowledge of interpersonal and problem-solving skills so they can apply what they know to achieving school goals. Information about student performance and comparisons with other schools about whether parents and community leaders are satisfied with the school, and the resources available, either monetary or other. and Rewards to acknowledge the extra effort SBM requires as well as to recognize improvements.
  • Publication
    Pennsylvania School Tax Burden
    (2016-09-01) Collins, Gregory J
    PA Act 35 was signed into law on June 1, 2016. The act amended the state public school code, including the creation of a school funding formula. In this policy brief, Pennsylvania School Tax Burden, Gregory Collins examines how the new formula directs state basic education funding, how it is allocated to local school districts based on need, its ability to pay, and the local school tax effort. Pennsylvania School Tax Burden examines the claim that differences exist in local school tax burdens across Pennsylvania's 500 districts.
  • Publication
    Can Interim Assessments Be Used for Instructional Change
    (2009-12-01) Goertz, Margaret E; Olah, Leslie Nabors; Riggan, Matthew
    The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the use of interim assessments and the policy supports that promote their use to change instruction, focusing on elementary school mathematics. The study looked at how 45 elementary school teachers in a purposive sample of 9 schools in 2 districts used interim assessments in mathematics in 2006-07. The study focused on teachers' use of data in a cycle of instructional improvement; that is, how teachers gather or access evidence about student learning; analyze and interpret that evidence; use evidence to plan instruction; and carry out improved instruction. Authors conclude that interim assessments that are designed for instructional purposes are helpful but not sufficient to inform instructional change.
  • Publication
    Learning From NCLB: School Responses to Accountability Pressure and Student Subgroup Performance
    (2012-09-01) Weinbaum, Elliot H; Weiss, Michael J; Beaver, Jessica K.
    Much has been written in the last decade about the spotlight that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) shines on schoolperformance. Proponents and opponents alike are quick to discuss the law’s rigid definitions of school performance— exemplified by the classification of schools as making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or not making AYP based largely on annual tests in reading and mathematics, disaggregating school performance by student subgroups, and requiring that all schools reach 100% proficiency. Yet for all its rigidity, the law has offered schools little guidance on how to make use of the performance data that the new systems provide or how to design improvement efforts. As policymakers discuss ways to change NCLB or design new federal education policies targeted at improving academic achievement, we present new research findings that can help to inform those discussions. In this CPRE Policy Brief, we examine the extent to which the assumptions in the law manifest themselves in the actions that school leaders take. This brief asks and answers the question: How do school leaders—administrators and teachers— respond to the results of state assessment systems and the pressure of performance-based accountability? And do those responses seem to matter to achievement outcomes?
  • Publication
    Reform of High School Mathematics and Science and Opportunity to Learn
    (1994-09-01) Porter, Andrew C; Kirst, Michael W; Osthoff, Eric; Smithson, John L; Schneider, Steven A
    This brief concerns the nature of the high school mathematics and science curriculum in the United States. It draws from a large study which documented instructional practices and content using novel methodologies. This research approach is a promising step toward the development of indicators of opportunity to learn. The study also provides encouraging news about the effects of increased standards in math and science - they did not result in a watering down of the curriculum. However, practice in the schools studied is a far cry from the ambitious goals for math and science instruction now being developed by the profession.
  • Publication
    How State Education Agencies Acquire and Use Research in School Improvement Strategies
    (2013-08-01) Goertz, Margaret E.; Barnes, Carol; Massell, Diane
    Over the last two decades, state and federal laws and grant programs, such as state accountability polices, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Race to the Top, Title I School Improvement Grants, and State Longitudinal Data System Grants, have given state education agencies (SEAs) considerably more responsibilities for directing and guiding the improvement of low-performing schools. At the same time, they have pressed SEAs and school districts to incorporate research-based school improvement policies and practices in their statewide systems of support for low-performing schools, technical assistance for districts, professional development for teachers, and school improvement programs. Policymakers have urged SEAs to engage with organizations external to their own agencies to extend their strained capacity, and to help them collect and use research or other evidence. A variety of organizations involved in this enterprise have emerged over the last two decades. For example, the 2002 authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s (ESEA) comprehensive assistance centers was specifically designed to provide and encourage SEA’s use of research. Although studies of districts’ and schools’ use of research exist, we know little about how SEAs search for, select, and use research and other kinds of evidence in their school improvement strategies. While one might assume similarities in research use behaviors, both the organizational structures of SEAs and the population of external organizations with which they interact are quite different than schools and districts, and the most recent in-depth study of SEAs was conducted nearly 20 years ago. The exploratory study on which this brief is based was designed to fill that gap by examining: 1) where SEA staff search for research, evidence-based, and practitioner knowledge related to school improvement; 2) whether and how SEA staff use research and these other types of knowledge to design, implement, and refine state school improvement policies, programs and practices; and, 3) how SEAs are organized to manage and use such knowledge.
  • Publication
    The Organization of Schools as an Overlooked Source of Underqualified Teaching
    (2002-12-01) Ingersoll, Richard
    Behind the headlines about a looming and large teacher shortage lies another story, one that suggests the problem ought to be addressed within schools as much as by external solutions. The organization of schools and how teachers are used account for a great deal of the underqualified teaching in public schools. Most policy actions, however, stress improved recruitment, teacher training, and certification requirements as the best ways to assure qualified teaching in the nation’s schools. This study focuses on one aspect of unequal distribution of quality teaching – out-of-field placement. In schools serving primarily low-income and/or minority students, out-of-field teaching is an acute problem and occurs even though the causes have little to do with the lack of certified teachers. Rather, school district policies and decisions made by school leadership often create inequalities in teaching quality within schools.
  • Publication
    Assessment and Accountability Across the 50 States
    (2001-05-01) Goertz, Margaret E; Duffy, Mark
    In recent years, all 50 states have embarked on education initiatives related to high standards and challenging content. A central focus of these efforts has been the establishment of a common set of academic standards for all students, the assessments that measure student performance, and accountability systems that are at least partially focused on student outcomes. This CPRE Policy Brief summarizes a longer report about state assessment and accountability systems in all 50 states and examines the extent to which state policies meet the intent of federal policy, particularly Title I.