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November 2019 Newsletter

Dear Knowledge Network members,  

Welcome to our November newsletter. 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 proactive classroom management. The lead author on this paper is Kendra Guinness. This overview is Kendra's first paper for the Wing Institute.

This newsletter also includes summaries from five recent studies that we hope you will find of interest. This research includes work on how to determine which teacher preparation programs produce the best teachers, how to increase teacher praise, the use of video in professional development, how effective is the use of computers in boosting learning, and using cost-effectiveness analyses in decision making.

We also have the results from our 2019 Student research grant recipient, Kristen Rolf. Her research is titled State Department of Education Support for Implementation Issues Faced by School Districts during the Curriculum Adoption Process.

A very Happy Thanksgiving 


The Wing Institute


Did you know?

  • Public school teachers in New Jersey earn the highest average salary in the nation: $51,443. Lowest? Montana with an average $31,418. The national average is $39,249. 
  • Over the past decade, the average classroom teacher salary has increased 15.2% but after adjusting for inflation, the average salary has actually decreased by $1,823 or 3.0%. 

Wing Original Papers

What can teachers do to support appropriate student conduct?


Supporting Appropriate Student Behavior Overview. Proactive classroom management strategies promote appropriate behavior and reduce or prevent misbehavior. Reinforcement is at the core of most proactive strategies. It is defined as a consequence that follows a behavior and increases the frequency of that behavior. Contingent praise is a versatile strategy based on reinforcement. Through positive statements delivered by the teacher, contingent praise acknowledges appropriate conduct and informs students what they did well. A rule of thumb is to maintain a 4:1 ratio of positive praise to corrective statements. Teachers should avoid the trap of becoming overly critical, which can damage the student-teacher relationship and lead to increased misbehavior. Other reinforcement-based strategies that use praise as well as material reinforcers include class-wide group contingencies, point systems, and behavior contracts. Material reinforcers commonly used in schools include tangible reinforcers (stickers, toys, food), preferred activities (games, computer time), and privileges (running errands, distributing papers). Read More


Can teacher surveys predict the quality of teacher preparation?

What Do Surveys of Program Completers Tell Us About Teacher Preparation Quality?  Identifying which teacher preparation programs produce highly qualified teachers is understood to be a means to improve the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs (TTP). One proposed method for measuring TTP effectiveness is surveying recent graduate’s satisfaction with the training received. Research suggests that analysis of the surveys correlate satisfaction with teacher classroom performance, evaluation ratings, and retention data. If correct, this data offers schools a wealth of information to aid in deciding which pre-service programs to focus recruiting efforts. It also suggests that surveys can provide data for holding TTP accountable.  

But much of the available research lacks sufficient rigor. This paper uses survey data from teachers in the state of North Carolina to gauge graduate’s satisfaction with TTP training to raise the validity and reliability of the study’s findings. The study concludes perceptions of preparation programs are modestly associated with the effectiveness and retention of first and second-year teachers. The researchers find, on average, those who feel better prepared to teach are more effective and more likely to remain in teaching. These results indicate that surveys of preparation program graduate satisfaction be monitored to assure validity and reliability of polling, given the interest accreditation bodies, state agencies, and teacher preparation programs show in using this data for high stakes decision making. The results also imply that surveys alone do not provide sufficient data to identify which programs offer the best teacher training. Read More

What practices increase teacher praise?

Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis. This research examines the literature supporting teacher training in the use of behavior-specific praise. One of the most common problems confronting classroom teachers concerns managing student behavior. Praise is a straight forward cost-effective intervention used to increase appropriate behavior and decrease troublesome student conduct. In the absence of training, teachers fail to adequately use behavior-specific praise and frequently fall back on the use of negative statements to control student conduct. The current knowledge base finds this approach to be counter-productive. 

On the other hand, rigorous research indicates that when teachers receive training in the use of praise, disruptive behavior decreases, and appropriate conduct increases. This meta-analysis examined 28 single subject designed studies. The authors found an aggregate large effect size for teachers who received training increase the use of behavior-specific praise with students. Read More

How effective is the use of video in professional development?


A systematic review of single-case research on video analysis as professional development for special educators. Professional development is viewed as essential to providing teachers with the skills needed to be successful in the classroom. Research strongly supports the need to go beyond the typical in-service training that is commonly provided teachers. Coaching and feedback have been found to be very effective in increasing the likelihood that training will be implemented in classrooms. The use of video has been offered as a cost-effective way to trainers to provide feedback to teachers in training based on actual performance in classroom use of the new skill(s). Read More

Can considering the costs help educators make better decisions?


Using Resource and Cost Considerations to Support Educational Evaluation: Six Domains. Assessing cost, along with the effectiveness of an initiative is common in public policy decision-making, but is frequently missing in education decision-making. Understanding the cost-effectiveness of an intervention is essential if educators are to maximize the impact of an intervention given limited budgets. Education is full of examples of practices, such as class-size reduction and accountability through high-stakes testing, that produce minimal results while consuming significant resources. It is vital for those making critical decisions to understand which practice is best suited to meet the needs of the school and the schools’ students that can be implemented using the available resources. The best way to do this is through the use of a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA).  

A CEA requires an accurate estimation of all added resources needed to implement the new intervention. Costs commonly associated with education interventions include; added personnel, professional development, classroom space, technology, and expenses to monitor effectiveness. The second variable essential to a CEA is the selection of a practice supported by research. In the past twenty years, a significant increase in the quality and quantity of research supporting different education practices has occurred. A CEA compares the extra expenditures required to implement a new intervention to current practices against targeted education outcomes. Examples of educational outcomes are standardized test scores, graduation rates, or student grades.

The focus of this essay is on which economic methods can complement and enhance impact evaluations. The authors propose the use of six domains to link intervention effectiveness to the best technique needed to determine which practice is the most cost-effective choice. The six domains outlined in the paper are outcomes, treatment comparisons, treatment integrity, the role of mediators, test power, and meta-analysis. This paper provides examples of how analyzing the costs associated with these domains can complement and augment practices in evaluating research in the field of educations. Read More

How effective is computer assisted learning?


A Powerful Hunger for Evidence-Proven Technology. The technology industry and education policymakers have touted the benefits of computers in learning. As a consequence, schools in the United States now spend more than $2 billion each year on education technology. But what are schools getting in return for this significant investment in technology learning? Robert Slavin examines the results from five studies designed to answer this question. Slavin concludes that the impact of technology-infused instruction on reading, mathematics, and science in elementary and secondary schools is very small. His analysis finds a study-weighted average across these five reviews to be a +0.05 effect size. This effect size appears to be an insignificant return on investment for such a substantial allocation of resources. Slavin concludes that how software is designed is at the heart of the problem. Commercial companies most often develop education technology. Given technology companies are market-driven, education software developers value profit margins, attractiveness, ease of use, low cost, trends, and fads, over evidence of efficacy. Slavin proposes a solution to improve upon this current model needs to include boosting the incentives to technology developers for creating products based on rigorous research and proven technology-based programs. Regardless of how best to solve the problem, educators need to take seriously this call to address this issue. Read More

Student Research Grant

State Department of Education Support for Implementation Issues Faced by School Districts during the Curriculum Adoption Process


The curriculum-adoption process is an important stage in the process of implementing an instructional program that will support students to achieve at high levels. During this stage, state departments of education and/or local education agencies explore the curricula that are available and choose the one(s) that will, presumably, best meet the needs of their students. In addition to considering the content of the curricula under review, local education agencies need to consider issues related to the implementation of a curriculum. Metz, Halle, Bartley, and Blasberg (2013) describe four stages of implementation: exploration, installation, initial, and full. The process of adopting a curriculum that is likely to be effective is a critical activity within the exploration stage. To help organizations address these types of issues during the exploration stage, the National Implementation Research Network created The Hexagon Tool (National Implementation Research Network, 2018). The Hexagon Tool is a document that leads individuals and teams through evaluating implementation issues related to the adoption of an innovation and defines six facets of implementation: evidence, supports, usability, need, fit, and capacity.

The amount of attention paid to implementation-related issues during the curriculum-adoption process by researchers and practitioners is unknown. In an attempt to learn more about the type of support that states provide to their local education agencies regarding implementation during the curriculum-adoption process, I asked the following question: How do state-created curriculum evaluation tools in core academic areas (i.e. English/language arts and mathematics) intersect with The Hexagon Tool created by the National Implementation Research Network? Read More

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