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October 2019 Newsletter

Dear Knowledge Network members,  

Welcome to our October newsletter, the 10th of 2019. We wish you a fabulously frightening Halloween. We hope these news items and original papers have helped keep you apprised of the latest news and provide you with useful information. This month we have one original Wing Institute paper on the impact of teacher turnover. The lead author on this paper is Jan Donley, who has been a prolific writer for us since coming on board this past quarter. This edition also has the results from the Wing Institute's 2019 research grant written by Kristen Rolf. This newsletter also provides summaries from five studies that we hope you will find of interest. This research includes work on the effect of feedback on teacher preparation programs, school-based mentoring programs, The effects of charter schools on student performance, and what the research can tell us about effective writing programs. 


The Wing Institute

Education Trivia


What’s a “Schultute”?

In Germany and other parts of Europe, children start school each fall with a large cone filled with toys, sweets, and school supplies. Now that’s a way to start a new school year!

Wing Original Papers

Teacher Turnover Impact


Decades of data attest to high rates of teacher turnover. Almost half of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years. For the past 10 years, turnover has leveled off at a disconcerting 16% per year. High turnover impedes student performance and diverts resources away from efforts to improve schools. It places large numbers of inexperienced, less effective teachers in classrooms, resulting in increased recruiting, hiring, and training budgets. With effective retention, the United States could save a meaningful portion of the $2.2 billion spent annually on replacing teachers. Research shows that increases in teacher turnover consistently correspond with decreases in achievement in core academic subjects. Attrition disproportionately affects schools with the greatest needs, low-achieving and high-poverty schools. Chronic turnover also negatively impacts a school’s culture, increasing student disciplinary problems and principal turnover. It damages collegiality, adding chaos and complexity to schoolwide operations and perpetuating new cycles of turnover. Read more

Wing Institute Student Research Grant

What tools do state departments of education provide for districts to evaluate curriculum?


State Department of Education Support for Implementation Issues Faced by School Districts during the Curriculum Adoption Process. The results of this systematic review of the websites of all 50 of the departments of education in the United States show that relatively few states provide state-created curriculum evaluation tools in the areas of English/language arts and mathematics, and only one state provides a curriculum evaluation tool that thoroughly addresses issues of implementation. In the area of English/language arts, the implementation issue most commonly addressed is fit of an instructional program with the district. Evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of a curriculum and the district’s capacity to effectively implement a curriculum are the next two most frequently addressed implementation-related issues. In the area of mathematics, fit with the district is also the most commonly addressed implementation-related issue. The next two most frequently addressed implementation-related issues are supports for the personnel implementing the curriculum and the capacity of the district to successfully implement. Only one state provided a state-created evaluation tool that thoroughly addressed all aspects of implementation as defined by The Hexagon Tool. Interestingly, this tool was generic. It was not designed to be used with English/language arts or mathematics curricula specifically, but with a variety of innovations that districts may consider adopting. Read More


How effective are year-round schools in mitigating the impact of summer break on learning?


Singletrack yearround education for improving academic achievement in U.S. K12 schools: Results of a metaanalysis. This Campbell Collaboration systematic meta-analysis examines the impact of reducing summer breaks on student academic performance. Research shows that students experience a loss in math and reading performance over summer breaks. Year‐round education (YRE) redistributes schooldays to shorten summer. This study finds that students at single‐track YRE schools show modestly higher achievement in both math and reading. The higher achievement is similar to estimates of summer learning loss. The effects were similar for all students. Given that summer learning loss is thought to be greater among students from disadvantaged groups, the estimated impact for low‐income and minority students were found to unexpectedly be about the same magnitude or smaller than for the full sample. Read More

Feedback on teacher preparation program performance?

Public Accountability and Nudges: The Effect of an Information Intervention on the Responsiveness of Teacher Education Programs to External Ratings.  This paper presents research on external ratings of teacher education programs (TEPs) produced by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) and the results of an experiment to improve school rankings by providing information and feedback to TEPs about how to improve their ratings. Research suggests that higher education institutions are responsive to feedback and public ratings. The college rankings published by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) shows how powerful ratings can be in changing higher education practices such as admissions requirements, financial aid disbursements, and policies. NCTQ released the first ranking of TEP’s in 2014 as a part of an ongoing effort to rate teacher training nationally. The intervention relied upon providing targeted information about specific programmatic changes that would improve the rating for a randomly selected sample of elementary teacher education programs. Average program ratings improved between 2013 and 2016, but we find no evidence that the information intervention increased program responsiveness to NCTQ’s rating effort. Read More

Do school-based mentoring programs improve student performance?


Risks and rewards of school-based mentoring relationships: A reanalysis of the student mentoring program evaluation. School-based mentoring programs are a widely funded intervention adopted as a means to positively impact student conduct and achievement. Despite widespread support, meta-analyses indicate that the effects of school-based mentoring programs are small. The authors hypothesize that the poor outcomes found in previous research happen because mentors do not develop high-quality relationships with the student mentees. To examine this issue, the authors reanalyzed a large randomized trial on this topic. The study concludes that a high-quality relationship has its benefits, but the effect size on academic and behavioral outcomes was near zero and confirmed the original findings. These results suggest that schools proceed cautiously before adopting school-based mentoring programs. Read More

What’s the latest research on charter school performance?


The effect of charter schools on student achievement. Charter schools increasingly play an important role in educating students in the United States. Given the vast resources allocated to charter schools, it is imperative the question is asked, How effective are these schools in comparison to traditional public schools? This meta-analysis focuses on student math and reading performance. The authors found an overall effect size for elementary school reading and math of 0.02 and 0.05 and for middle school math of 0.055. Effects were not statistically meaningful for middle school reading and for high school math and reading. The study offers compelling evidence that charters under-perform traditional public schools in some locations, grades, and subjects, and out-perform traditional public schools in other locations, grades, and subjects. This is not surprising as there is no set management model, quality of personnel, curricula, or pedagogy that distinguishes charter schools from public schools. The study did find a small positive effect size for KIPP charter schools. The absence of significant achievement gains attributed to charter schools should concern school systems considering expanding the number of charter schools as a solution to under-performing schools.  Read More

What writing programs produce the best results? 


A Quantitative Synthesis of Research on Writing Approaches in Grades 2 to 12. This paper looks at randomized or well-matched control group research on outcomes of writing programs for students in grades 2 to 12. The average effect size for those writing programs reviewed was a small effect size of 0.18. The writing programs fell into three categories; those that focus on the writing process, cooperative learning, or interactions between reading and writing. 
The core characteristics of programs that produced the best writing outcomes include:


* Use of cooperative learning 

* Structured approaches that give students step-by-step guides to writing

* Programs that teach students to assess their own and peer writing

* Programs that balance writing with reading
* Programs that attempt to build students’ motivation   to write and enjoy self-expression
* Programs that teach writing conventions (e.g., grammar, punctuation, usage) explicitly and in the context of creative writing

* Programs that provide extensive professional development to teachers, in which teachers experience the writing strategies they will employ. Read More

Conference Presentations

Wing Powerpoint Presentations


We appreciate your interest in our activities and hope you find this information of interest. Read More

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