Middle Level Education Month: Celebrating the early adolescent years

This blog honors middle school education by highlighting current IES-funded research projects that are developing or testing interventions to promote appropriate behavior, support executive functioning and self-regulation skills, and enhance academic engagement in middle schoolers with or at risk for disabilities.

All NC schools required to hold in-person summer school program

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is now requiring school districts to offer in-person summer school programs for at-risk students. Although the summer school programs are required, the state won’t offer any additional funding. Schools will be expected to use federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to run the programs designed to help students struggling after a year of remote learning.

Chicago asks its high schools to come up with alternatives to campus police

Seeking alternatives to assigning police to campuses, Chicago is asking 55 high schools to draft safety plans based on restorative justice and crisis management. The school district has assigned newly appointed safety committees at each school to devise the plans then send them to local school councils for approval in June.

Toward a better understanding of middle-schoolers’ argumentation skills

A project led by Dr. Yi Song is exploring how teachers help middle-school students improve their ability to generate better oral and written arguments. This blog showcases a series of videos that describe their work, including why the project is important to education, how they will conduct their research, and how educators can apply what they are learning in classrooms.

School funding evaluation focuses on equity for students—and taxpayers

As states prioritize equity in education—an equal opportunity for all students to succeed—school funding looms large as a factor that can accelerate or hinder progress. For nearly two decades, AIR researchers have conducted increasingly sophisticated evaluations of school funding in California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. AIR’s most recent study of school funding in New Hampshire, a collaboration with Professor Bruce Baker of Rutgers University and Professor Tammy Kolbe of the University of Vermont, exemplifies how conventional and novel research methods can provide states with a deep understanding of the impact of school funding on student success.

Summer learning and beyond: Opportunities for creating equity

While many education stakeholders have called for intensive remediation for students to address this year of disrupted schooling and potential learning loss, a new report argues that intensive remediation alone will not meet students’ needs and—if conducted in a way that is segregating, stigmatizing, and separated from children’s real-life concerns—could even deepen inequalities and exacerbate trauma. Students have experienced multiple forms of trauma this past year from the pandemic and from racialized violence and have shown remarkable strength, resolve, and caring. They deserve learning experiences that are rooted in evidence about how people learn best; experiences that are intellectually honest and authentic; that provide opportunities for joy, exploration, play, and self direction; and experiences that offer them a chance to study and understand the world.

Chicago Equity-Centered Innovation Forum

Education Systems Center at NIU is pleased to announce the launch of the Chicago Equity-Centered Innovation Forum (CEIF). In collaboration with leaders of Chicago Public Schools, competency-based education (CBE) pilot schools, and other interested stakeholders, EdSystems will support the implementation of innovative instructional models as strategies for dismantling systemic inequities in traditional educational approaches. 

Supports for Social and Emotional Learning in American Schools and Classrooms: Findings from the American Teacher Panel

Schools across the nation are embracing social and emotional learning (SEL) to help students build skills like setting goals, working together and making good decisions. But what do teachers think about the SEL-related efforts in their districts and schools? How do they see these efforts affecting their students and themselves? Do they feel they are getting enough support to work on SEL in their classrooms? 

Recent Research and Developments in School Finance

IES-funded projects that examine school finance may contribute to a better understanding of education spending and how some spending models and practices can relate to student outcomes. This blog highlights IES-funded studies, recently completed and ongoing, as well as additional planned data collection efforts across the IES centers.

Study links later middle, high school start times to better student achievement

Changes in school start times have a “significant effect” on the amount of sleep and reported grade point averages of students, according to a working paper to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. The researchers examined eight districts in Minnesota, four of which transitioned to later start times between 2016 and 2019, affecting 38,019 students in grades 5, 8, 9 and 11. 

The Center for the Success of English Learners Launches Website to Support Policy and Practice for English Learners

The IES-funded Center for the Success of English Learners (CSEL) aims to address policies and practices affecting English learners’ education access and quality. CSEL has launched their website to engage with the larger education community, disseminate information and resources based on their findings, and create learning and collaboration opportunities for state and local education agencies.

Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning

The largest and longest study of its kind on summer learning programs reveals short- and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary, five- to six-week summer learning programs. The findings suggest that these programs can be an important component of how school districts support learning and skill development among children in low-income communities.

Linked Learning and Community Schools

This brief from Linked Learning Alliance and the UCLA Center for Community Schools describes a framework for bringing the community schools and the Linked Learning approaches together at the high school level so that all students, particularly those in communities that have been historically marginalized, are on a path to postsecondary success. Both models are community-based efforts providing in-school and out-of-school educational experiences that are meaningful and engaging, foster strong relationships with caring adults, and integrate support structures that address students’ academic, social-emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

States, districts debate whether to end remote learning option

Several school systems across the country have recently announced the next school year will not include a key feature of education during the pandemic — the district-led option for remote or hybrid learning. In removing those options, districts are hoping for a more typical school year with full-time, in-person classes and fewer logistical disruptions. But while many federal, state and local education experts say in-person learning is better for students’ academic attainment and social and emotional wellbeing, many also acknowledge the benefits of remote learning for certain students, as well as the concerns from some families — particularly families of color — about the safety of in-person learning while the public health crisis continues. 

New Test Scores Show Students Rebounding After Pandemic-Related Learning Loss

Many students are starting to rebound from academic setbacks more than a year after coronavirus pandemic restrictions upended education nationwide, according to a report on new testing data. On average, students are performing below pre-pandemic expectations, but the learning gaps that existed for many at the start of the 2020-21 school year are shrinking, particularly in math, according to a report from Renaissance Learning Inc., an online testing program used in thousands of U.S. schools.

Out-of-School Time Programs This Summer: Paving the Way for Children to Find Passion, Purpose & Voice – Parent, Teacher & OST Provider Perceptions

A new, national survey by Arlington, VA-based market research firm Edge Research, in conjunction with Learning Heroes, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the voice of parents in education, was commissioned by Wallace to explore the unique, differentiated role out-of-school time (OST) programs play in youth development compared with home and school, how parents assess quality in OST programs and the impact of COVID-19 for summer 2021—and beyond. ​​Findings revealed substantial worries among parents about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many feeling their children are struggling academically, socially and emotionally: 40 percent worried that children were missing out on social connections and friendship; 32 percent about too much screen time; and 26 percent about falling behind academically.