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Report Round-Up

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August 12, 2011 02:43 pm

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Here is a round-up of this week’s education-related reports. Did we miss one? Feel free to put it in the comments section!

“Is the Achievement Gap Improving and Are Gaps Narrowing for Title I Students?,Center on Education Policy

This report examines whether the achievement of Title I students has increased with the assistance of the federal assistance program, which gives funds to elementary and secondary schools with low-performing students and relatively high poverty rates. As Congress works on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind, this report serves to investigate whether the program is working toward its goals. The study analyzes testing data in 19 states from at least three years between 2002 and 2009 – it found that the disadvantaged students served by Title I are advancing in math and reading. For example, in Tennessee, 88 percent of students in 4th grade who were served by Title I reached proficiency in reading by 2009, compared to 95 percent of non-Title I students.

National Assessment of Education Progress, National Center for Education Statistics (Part of the U.S. Department of Education)

The National Center for Education Statistics has, since 2003, supported research that compares the National Assessment of Education Progress with state proficiency standards. The study analyzes how states’ rigor and stringency compare to federal standards. The report found, as in the past, that proficiency standards range greatly throughout the country and fall short of national standards. Therefore, students who pass state exams often do not test well on national exams. For example, 35 states have passing reading levels in the fourth-grade that are below the “basic” level on the national NAEP exam. This year’s study also found that eight states have toughened their standards for elementary-school math and reading tests in recent years, although these states – and the majority of others – still fall below national targets.

Incentives for Early Graduation: How Can State Policies Encourage Students to Complete High School in Less Than Four Years?Jobs For The Future

This report examines the increasing trend of encouraging young people to graduate from high school early. Many states are considering or have implemented legislation to make it easier for these motivated students to finish school in less than four years, which could prove beneficial by saving students time and taxpayers money. This report compares legislation from 11 different states that are pending and that would serve as incentives for early graduation.

Recent Teacher Effectiveness Legislation: How Do the States Stack Up? Bellwether Education Partners
Over the course of the 2010 and 2011 legislative sessions, many states aimed to increase teacher effectiveness through legislation, with intiatives such as meaningful teacher evaluations based in part on student achievement; eliminating barriers to the dismissal of underperforming teachers; and  changing state policies that required reductions in force be made solely based on seniority, with no accounting for teacher performance. This study created score cards for each state’s “teacher effectiveness legislation” to show strengths and weaknesses of the laws.

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