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Building District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Cincinnati Public Schools

December 1, 2013

This 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 Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). The purpose was to closely analyze the district's capacity to support system-wide instructional improvement. To understand how CPS, one of the four Developing FuturesTM districts that were examined, built capacity for system-wide instructional improvement, our study during Phase Two focused on a single, overarching question: to what extent has CPS central office adopted and institutionalized the seven core principles of Developing FuturesTM?

Building District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Erie Public Schools

December 1, 2013

This 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 Erie Public Schools (EPS). The purpose was to closely analyze the district's capacity to support system-wide instructional improvement. To understand how EPS, one of the four Developing FuturesTM districts that were examined, built capacity for system-wide instructional improvement, our study during Phase Two focused on a single, overarching question: to what extent has EPS central office adopted and institutionalized the seven core principles of Developing FuturesTM?

Building District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Stamford Public Schools

December 1, 2013

This 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?

Building District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Jefferson County Public Schools

September 1, 2013

This 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?

The Lived Experience of Standards Implementation in New York City Schools, 2011

July 1, 2013

The College and Career Readiness Standards, referred to as the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) in New York City, are increasingly the focus of educational reform efforts across the United States. Each year for the past several years, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) has created a set of focusing expectations for schools in order to guide their engagement with the CCLS. In the 2011-12 school year, which is the focus of this report, the New York Citywide Instructional Expectations (CIEs) asked schools to engage in two central activities. First, teachers in grade levels or subject areas were asked to collaboratively examine student work and analyze the gaps between current curriculum, instructional practice, and student performance relative to the expectations of the Standards. Second, schools were asked to identify and implement performance-based assessments, or "tasks," within a CCLS-aligned curricular unit, such that all students would experience at least one task in literacy and one in mathematics. The NYCDOE designed these activities as a set of carefully chosen opportunities for schools to engage with the more rigorous expectations for teaching and learning embodied in the Standards. The hope was that, by engaging with these learning opportunities, school staff would develop a deeper, shared understanding of the Standards, and could begin to address the scope of change necessary to meet the higher expectations. CPRE's evaluation of CCLS implementation in New York City in 2011-12 allowed us to examine how a diverse sample of 16 elementary and middle schools engaged with the CIEs.

Building a Foundation for School Leadership: An Evaluation of the Annenberg Distributed Leadership Project, 2006-2010

August 1, 2012

Leading school change is a challenging endeavor. Successful leadership requires strategic and sustained effort, particularly in the shifting and uncertain environment of urban public schools. The concept of distributed leadership -- in which multiple actors tackle the challenges of school leadership in concert -- is a promising way to strengthen professional practice and thereby improve the educational experiences of all students. The Annenberg Distributed Leadership (DL) project was one of the first efforts in the nation to deliberately take on the challenge of designing and implementing a concerted effort to build distributed leadership capacity in a diverse set of urban schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning.The DL project featured the careful selection of leadership team members to identify and lead instructional improvement efforts; ample professional development to build cohesive teams and help members understand the motivational, psychological, and pedagogical aspects of advocating instructional change; resources to apply to the task; and ongoing school-based coaching to guide leadership team efforts.This report describes the Consortium for Policy Research in Education's mixed-method evaluation of the DL project. The evaluation featured a cluster randomized control trial, where schools first agreed to participate in the study, and then were chosen by lottery to participate in the DL project or serve in the comparison group. Overall there were 16 DL schools and 21 comparison sites in the evaluation.

Can Interim Assessments Be Used for Instructional Change

December 1, 2009

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.

From Testing to Teaching: The Use of Interim Assessments in Classroom Instruction

December 1, 2009

The past ten years have witnessed an explosion in the use of interim assessments by school districts across the country. A primary reason for this rapid growth is the assumption that interim assessments can inform and improve instructional practice and thereby contribute to increased student achievement. Testing companies, states, and districts have become invested in selling or creating interim assessments and data management systems designed to help teachers, principals, and district leaders make sense of student data, identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, identify instructional strategies for targeted students, and much more. Districts are keeping their interim tests even under pressure to cut budgets (Sawchuk, 2009). The U.S. Department of Education is using its Race to the Top program to encourage school districts to develop formative or interim assessments as part of comprehensive state assessment systems. Much of the rhetoric around interim assessments paints a rosy picture, often with the ultimate claim that such measures will lead to increased student achievement. Much of the belief in the potential of interim assessments to improve student learning comes from the growing body of research on formative assessment. However, the majority of this research has not focused on interim assessments themselves, but rather practices that are embedded within classroom instruction. Very few studies exist on how interim assessments are actually used, by individual teachers in classrooms, by principals, and by districts. Furthermore, we know little about how teachers and other educators use the results from such assessments, the conditions that support their ability to use these data to improve instruction, or the interaction of interim assessments with other classroom assessment practices. Our study begins to fill that vacuum.