Research Digest — October 2021

A monthly digest for state education agency staff, highlighting research and resources supporting state priorities.

Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Rural Schools

The National Comprehensive Center released a brief highlighting the need for, and the importance of, implementing TI approaches in rural school communities, and shares recommendations for planning and implementation by schools and districts. The brief is intended for educators, leaders, and practitioners at the school, district, and state level who are in the initial stages of considering TI approaches and/or planning the implementation process.

Links Among Teacher Preparation, Retention, and Teaching Effectiveness

The National Academy of Education released a paper reviewing large-scale, quantitative studies of teacher education. The paper begins by describing the groundbreaking work by the New York City (NYC) Teacher Pathways Project, which identified clinical experiences—including student teaching and pre-student teaching experiences—and its alignment with other aspects of programs generally, as predictive of teaching effectiveness. It then reviews literature on features of clinical experiences, including their duration, the features of the field placement schools in which they occur, and cooperating teacher characteristics Finally, it focuses on coursework, beginning with new evidence on practice-based course simulations and then the amount of coursework generally.

Interrupted Instruction

The Education Commission of the States released a policy brief highlighting legislative examples from 17 states that address interrupted instruction. The legislation addresses one of seven themes:

  • Extended learning time and supports.
  • High dosage tutoring.
  • Literacy.
  • Special education.
  • Student and family decisions.
  • Student mental health.
  • Technology.

Attendance Supports Reflection Tool for State Education Agencies

The Student Engagement and Attendance Center developed a tool to help state education agencies (SEAs) review their attendance guidance and supports to identify opportunities to strengthen these supports for LEAs across instructional settings. This tool comprises considerations and reflection questions to help SEAs identify areas in which they can strengthen attendance guidance and supports for LEAs, should not be construed as a compliance instrument.

Teacher Hiring in the United States: A Review of the Empirical Research (2001-2020)

Annenberg Institute at Brown University released a literature review of 71 empirical studies in an era of federal accountability (2001-2020) providing a full portrait of K-12 teacher hiring research. The authors identify what is known while also unearthing the many knowledge gaps that exist due to factors such as sample and methodological limitations. As such, this review of the literature provides practitioners and policymakers with a number of guideposts to help them with hiring decisions. This review also shows how much more there is to learn and signals to researchers where and how they might build off of the current knowledge base.

After Action Review Guide for Learning Recovery Planning

The National Comprehensive Center released a guide giving users the steps and content to hold an After Action Review about Learning Recovery programming. An After-Action Review (AAR) could assist schools and districts identify the lessons learned from previous summer and extended learning programs, as well as from current attempts at providing hybrid and remote learning. These lessons could then inform learning recovery strategies to implement during the summer and throughout the school year to assist students recover some of the lost learning.

Can Four Equal Five?: Assessing the Four-Day School Week

RAND released the results of a study on four-day school week (4dsw) using data from 36 districts across Idaho, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. They also used administrative data from these states, as well as from Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota. They analyzed both qualitative and quantitative data to compare experiences with a 4dsw and a five-day school week (5dsw).

4dsw is becoming more common, especially in areas across the western United States. States with large rural areas are spearheading this change. For example, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Dakota have more than 500 districts using a 4dsw. Champions of the shorter week contend that it saves money, improves student attendance, and helps recruit and retain teachers to rural districts by offering them an extra day off each week.

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