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Report Round-Up

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July 29, 2011 02:40 pm

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s this week’s Report Round-Up. If there’s a report we missed, feel free to add it in the comments section.

This week’s reports are below…

Assessing Deeper Learning, Alliance for Excellent Education

New assessments that measure a broader range of knowledge and skills than typical assessments measure are vital to ensure that students learn what they need to succeed in the future, according to this new policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education. Such assessments would indicate whether students understand challenging content and are able to apply that knowledge to think critically, solve problems, communicate their understanding, and work with their peers. Federal policy can support the development and implementation of new assessments that measure deeper learning, the brief states. The federal government can require that assessments measure deeper learning competencies, support professional development for teachers, ensure that assessments fairly measure the performance of students with disabilities and English learners, and continue to provide support to states for ongoing operational costs of state assessments.

State Education Agencies as Agents of Change What It Will Take for the States to Step Up on Education ReformCenter for American Progress and American Enterprise Institute

In writing this report, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute identified thirteen of the “most innovative and successful former and current chiefs” and interviewed them about what they see as the obstacles to implementing reform and how, despite these challenges, they were able to move their agency forward. Findings and recommendations for moving forward are included in the report.

Quality Control in K-12 Digital Learning: Three (Imperfect) ApproachesThomas B. Fordham Institute

Digital learning allows children to be served by providers from almost anywhere, in new and more customized ways. At the same time, because it destandardizes and decentralizes educational delivery, digital education is far harder to bring under the yoke of the quality-control systems and metrics that have been devised for traditional school structures. In this paper, Hess explores the pros and cons of input regulation, outcome-based accountability, and market signals as solutions to the quality challenge. In the end, he recommends using all three approaches in careful combination so as to leverage their strengths and offset their weaknesses. In practice, that means demanding transparent financial information from providers, holding them to account for student achievement gains whenever possible, and developing “crowd-sourcing” reporting systems to help educators, parents, and students identify the most effective purveyors of online learning.

 

Student Learning Plans: Supporting Every Student’s Transition to College and CareerRennie Center for Education Research & Policy

This policy brief provides policymakers in Massachusetts with a better understanding of what student learning plans (SLPs) are as well as how and to what extent their use is mandated in other states. The brief contains an overview of SLPs and the rationale for their use in public K-12 education, as well as an overview of the research on the effectiveness of SLPs on improving a variety of student outcomes, including engagement, responsibility, motivation, long-term postsecondary college and career planning. It also lists considerations for Massachusetts policymakers, which include: learn from states that are pioneers in the implementation of SLPs for all students; develop a comprehensive implementation plan; and, strengthen career counseling and career awareness activities in Massachusetts schools.

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