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The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement and College Entrance

Heidi H. Erickson, Jonathan N. Mills, and Patrick J. Wolf

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How did the LSP affect student outcomes?

A new study estimates the average impact of the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) on student achievement in math, English Language Arts (ELA), and science after four years of the program. After large initial declines in achievement in the first year of the program, students in grades 1-5 who used LSP scholarships won through lotteries regained some of their lost ground. However, they continued to perform below similar students who did not receive a scholarship by a lottery.

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English Corequisite Remediation Improves Students’ Early Course Progression Outcomes but Does Not Increase Persistence Rates

Trey Miller, Lindsay Daugherty, Paco Martorell, and Russell Gerber

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What are corequisites?

Faced with troubling evidence on the success of students who take traditional developmental education (DE) courses, states and higher education institutions across the United States are rethinking the way they address college readiness. Corequisite remediation is one promising and common approach to DE reform. Under corequisite remediation, students skip the traditional DE course(s) and move immediately into a foundational college-level course, while also being required to enroll in concurrent DE support in that same semester. Corequisites also call for changes to instruction to better align content in DE with college-level coursework and some models build in opportunities for more personalized support and/or peer support through various design features such as smaller class sizes and the mixing of college ready and DE students.

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Impacting 9th Grade Educational Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the BARR Model

Trisha Borman, Johannes Bos, So Jung Park & Amelia Auchstetter

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BARR students earn more core course credits, perform better on math standardized tests, and report better in-school experiences

The transition from eighth grade to ninth grade is a critical point for students. It can set them on a path toward successfully graduating from high school or dropping out. A growing number of schools have sought to support ninth-grade students through the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) model. BARR focuses on building in-school relationships and using students’ strengths to improve student outcomes.

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The Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Children’s Attendance in Preschool

Summary by: Jonathan Seiden

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What was this study about?

When children are absent from early childhood education (ECE) at centers and preschools they are unable to fully realize the positive effects ECE can have on their lives. Younger children and those from families with lower income are more at risk for absenteeism and may benefit most from ECE. Therefore, efforts to reduce absenteeism could have greater-than-average benefits for these students.

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Comprehensive College Transition Program Increases Students’ Psychosocial Outcomes

Tatiana Melguizo, Paco Martorell, Elise Swanson, W. Edward Chi, Elizabeth Park, & Adrianna Kezar

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Is there an added benefit of providing college students with comprehensive support in addition to a scholarship?

An experimental evaluation of the Thompson Scholars Learning Communities (TSLC) program in the University of Nebraska system finds that participating in a comprehensive college transition program increases students’ sense of belonging (e.g. feeling part of the institution) and feelings of mattering (e.g. feeling they are valued on campus) relative to their peers. We find some evidence to suggest that program may be equity enhancing, given large observed increases in feelings of mattering among traditionally underserved students. We focus on the impact of the program on four key psychosocial outcomes that provide insight into students’ experiences on campus and help capture a broader understanding of student success than purely academic outcomes. Our findings suggest that comprehensive programs can improve students’ psychosocial outcomes.

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Unpacking the Treatment Contrast in the Head Start Impact Study: To What Extent Does Assignment to Treatment Affect Quality of Care?

Summary by: Elizabeth Hentschel

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Background

Attending high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs can lead to positive child outcomes across multiple developmental domains including cognitive and social-emotional. Children from low-income families rarely have access to high-quality ECCE – less than one quarter attend center-based childcare rated as high-quality. The National Head Start (HS) Program is one affordable (free) option to low-income families, but data from 2006 find that only 40% of National Head Start Programs are considered high quality. This study seeks to understand if children who were randomly selected and offered an opportunity to participate in Head Start enroll in higher quality ECCE than they otherwise would have.

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Promoting Parents’ Social Capital to Increase Children’s Attendance in Head Start: Evidence From an Experimental Intervention

Summary by: Samantha Batel

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Increasing attendance in early childhood education is a national goal

Head Start is the nation’s largest federally funded early childhood education program for children from low-income families. This type of programming, which is a central policy lever for expanding opportunity, can only be effective if children attend regularly. However, there is no systematic evidence on whether or why strategies to improve attendance are effective. 

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Examining the Impact of QuickReads Technology and Print Formats on Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary Development for Elementary Students

Summary by: Yining Hua

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What is QuickReads Technology? Is it effective?

QuickReads (QR) is a curriculum that uses science and social studies texts to build reading skills. It has both print-only and technology + print formats and utilizes 15-minute instructional sessions built on a model with wide and long-lasting support in comprehension instruction. This study finds that QR enhanced students’ reading skills in all evaluated areas: reading fluency, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. The figure shows the outcome of the reading comprehension assessment. The three bars within each grade group represent students who 1) did not use QR (control), 2) used QR print materials, and 3) used QR technology-based and printed materials, respectively (from left to right). Across all grades, QR effectively enhanced students reading fluency.

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Early College, Continued Success: Longer-Term Impact of Early College High Schools

Mengli Song, Kristina L. Zeiser, Drew Atchison, and Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes

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What are Early College High Schools?

Early Colleges are small high schools designed to increase the opportunity for students–particularly students traditionally underrepresented in higher education­–to earn a postsecondary credential. To achieve this goal, they partner with colleges and universities to provide high school students with college experience with the expectation that all students will earn an associate’s degree or up to 2 years of college credits during high school at no or low-cost to their families. Early Colleges also provide a rigorous and supportive high school environment to help students navigate and succeed in college coursework.

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Investigating Efficacy, Moderators, and Mediators for an Online Mathematics Homework Intervention

Summary by: Muqi Guo

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ASSISTments is an online math homework intervention developed to target formative assessment. Teachers and students can assign, do, and review homework using the ASSISTments platform. While doing homework in ASSISTments students receive immediate feedback on their work, opportunities to improve their answers, and hints and tutorials for select problems. Teachers receive a report that identifies which assigned homework problems were difficult for students, along with common wrong answers.

What are the impacts of the ASSISTments intervention?

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The Choice Architecture of School Choice Websites

Summary by: Sophia Li

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Displays of school information affect parents’ decisions and decision-making process

Parents increasingly choose between schools for their children to attend. The way in which school data - safety, resources, distance, and academic performance - is presented affects how parents rank and choose schools.

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Impact of Providing Teachers and Principals with Performance Feedback on Their Practice and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Experiment

Mengli Song, Andrew J. Wayne, Michael S. Garet, Seth Brown, and Jordan Rickles

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What is the intervention tested in this study?

The 2-year intervention consisted of three components that were designed to provide educators with performance feedback on classroom practice (four times per year), student growth (once per year), and principal leadership (twice per year), respectively. The intervention targeted principals and teachers of reading and mathematics in grades 4–8, whose participation in the intervention was voluntary with no consequences for tenure or employment.

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Iterative Design and Pilot Testing of the Developing Talkers Tiered Academic Language Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Tricia A. Zucker, María S. Carlo, Susan H. Landry, Saba S. Masood, Jeffrey M. Williams, Vibhuti Bhavsar

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Can Developing Talkers improve academic vocabulary?

Yes, according to a rigorous study conducted in Texas with young students who were mostly English learners (ELs, 63%). Students who participated in a 26-week shared reading program, which taught academic vocabulary and asked inferential comprehension questions, learned more sophisticated words compared with students who did not (see bar chart below). This study shows that an intervention can cause children as young as pre-kindergarten (pre-k) and kindergarten to learn more academic words. This extends past research on direct instruction to academic level words. Developing academic level language in the earliest grades aligns with modern learning guidelines that view rigorous classroom discourse as foundational to college and career readiness.

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Early College High Schools Increase Students’ Early Postsecondary Degree Attainment

Julie Edmunds, Fatih Unlu, Elizabeth Glennie, Lawrence Bernstein, Lily Fesler, Jane Furey, & Nina Arshavsky

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Are early college high schools effective?

Yes, they are, according to a rigorous study conducted in North Carolina. Students who attended Early College High Schools enrolled in and completed college more than comparable students who did not (see bar chart below). The increase in degree completion is one of the largest ever observed in a randomized trial! Early college students also earned 8 times as many college credits in high school as their peers in the control group.

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Partially Identified Treatment Effects for Generalizability

Wendy Chan

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Will this intervention work for me?

This is one of the questions that make up the core of generalization research. Generalizations focus on the extent to which the findings of a study apply to people in a different context, in a different time period, or in a different study altogether. In education, one common type of generalization involves examining whether the results of an experiment (e.g., the estimated effect of an intervention) apply to a larger group of people, or a population.

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Immediate and Long-Term Efficacy of a Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention

Ben Clarke, Christian Doabler, Keith Smolkowski, Evangeline Kurtz Nelson, Hank Fien, Scott K. Baker, Derek Kosty

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Early intervention can reduce the achievement gap in mathematics

More than half of elementary school students in the United States score below proficient in mathematics in fourth grade. To address this problem, educators can provide early intervention on whole number skills (e.g., counting by ones; adding two numbers to make 10; decomposing numbers). Early intervention may be integral to children’s long-term success with mathematical thinking because difficulty at school entry typically persists into later elementary grades. Persistent frustration and hardship in learning mathematics are associated with a mathematics learning disability (MLD). Students with MLD are most vulnerable to lifelong difficulty managing daily tasks that involve numbers (e.g., money management). Students with or at risk for MLD will likely benefit from intervention as early as possible to reduce adverse long-term impacts.

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Between-School Variation in Students’ Achievement, Motivation, Affect, and Learning Strategies: Results from 81 Countries for Planning Cluster-Randomized Trials in Education

Martin Brunner, Uli Keller, Marina Wenger, Antoine Fischbach & Oliver Lüdtke

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Does an educational intervention work?

When planning an evaluation, researchers should ensure that it has enough statistical power to detect the expected intervention effect. The minimally detectable effect size, or MDES, is the smallest true effect size a study is well positioned to detect. If the MDES is too large, researchers may erroneously conclude that their intervention does not work even when it does. If the MDES is too small, that is not a problem per se, but it may mean increased cost to conduct the study.  The sample size, along with several other factors, known as design parameters, go into calculating the MDES. Researchers must estimate these design parameters. This paper provides an empirical bases for estimating design parameters in 81 countries across various outcomes.

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Improving the general language skills of second-language learners in kindergarten: a randomized controlled trial

Kristin Rogde, Monica Melby-Lervåg, & Arne Lervåg

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There are increasing numbers of children whose first language differs from the predominant language of instruction in their school. Entering school where the language of instruction is a student’s second language is associated with undesirable social, educational, and economic outcomes. This study investigates the efficacy of an intervention aimed at improving second-language skills of kindergarteners.

How did we test the intervention?

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The Higher Education Enrollment Decision: Feedback on Expected Study Success and Updating Behavior

Chris van Klaveren, Karen Kooiman, Ilja Cornelisz & Martijn Meeter

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Secondary school students tend to be overly optimistic about how well they will perform in college. This overconfidence leads to suboptimal decision making. But what if secondary school students were told their likelihood of succeeding in the college program they applied to prior to their decision to enroll?  Would this influence their decision to enroll?

This study presents the results of a field experiment in which a random half of 313 secondary-school students applying to higher education received personalized predictions on study success (the other half did not receive such predictions). A comparison of the enrolment rates of the two groups of students helps us understand the effect of receiving these personalized predictions. We find that:

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Quality Preschool for Ghana Program Improves Teacher and Student Outcomes

Sharon Wolf, J. Lawrence Aber, Jere Behrman & Edward Tsinigo

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Preschool teacher training program improves classroom quality and child outcomes in Ghana

Children around the world are attending preschool more than ever before. But many preschools are poor quality and children are not learning. Ghana, a lower-middle income country in West Africa, has been at the forefront of expanding access to preschool and adopting a progressive- child-centered curriculum.

Yet, preschool quality remains poor and most teachers have not been trained in the national curriculum. 

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