Significant Work: Improving School Performance

Current Work:

Analytical Technical Support for Evaluation Capacity Building: SEDL’s R&E Evaluation Capacity Building team provides analytical technical assistance to state and local educators and policymakers around evaluation designs, methods, and analyses to assist in planning and implementing evidence-based education programs, policies, and practices.

Southeast Comprehensive Center Evaluation: SEDL staff are conducting annual internal evaluations to document the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the work of the Southeast Comprehensive Center and its progress toward achieving its goals. This center provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals.

Texas Comprehensive Center Evaluation: SEDL staff are conducting annual internal evaluations to document the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the Texas Comprehensive Center and its progress toward achieving its goals. The center provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals.

Past Work:

Southeast Comprehensive Center Evaluation (2005–2012): SEDL staff conducted annual internal evaluations to document the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) and its progress toward achieving its goals. The SECC provided professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools. Work varied by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center Evaluation (2005–2012): SEDL staff conducted annual internal evaluations to document the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) and its progress toward achieving its goals. The TXCC provided professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools.

Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle, Lancaster School District:
Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle, Lancaster School District: Final evaluation report

The Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC) is an ongoing cyclic process designed to work systemically to improve the quality of professional development, the use of data to inform instructional and programmatic decisions, the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the state standards, the monitoring of student learning, and leadership support systems for continuous school improvement. SEDL's Research and Evaluation staff conducted an evaluation of the extent to which the PTLC process was changing teaching and learning in the Lancaster County School District.

Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle, Lancaster School District: Final Evaluation Report (PDF 1.9MB)

National Staff Development Council Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI) Revisions and Secondary Data Analyses: This project built on SEDL's previous work conducting reliability and validity studies to further develop the Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI) for the National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward). The study involved conducting multilevel factor analyses on large multistate data sets and using the findings from those analyses to assess the predictive validity of the SAI in regard to student academic achievement.

SEDL's Working Systemically Approach of Reform Evaluation: This 5-year research and development effort was intended to assess the effect of SEDL's Working Systemically approach on low-performing districts' and schools' capacity to work systemically and on student achievement in reading or mathematics. This research and development project employed a quasi-experimental mixed-methods design to compare low-performing districts involved in the project with other similar low-performing districts in the same state. The study assessed the implementation and impact of the Working Systemically approach in 12 sites distributed across the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. SEDL gathered four sets of data to assess sites' progress in developing systemic work and improving student achievement: (1) electronically maintained site contact records documenting the ongoing implementation of the approach; (2) interviews conducted twice annually with key district and school personnel to document district and school operations and the work of leadership teams at the district and school levels; (3) surveys of district and school personnel conducted annually to assess their capacity to work systemically; and (4) student scores on state achievement tests to assess student growth over the project's duration.

Final Report: SEDL's Working Systemically Model Final Report (PDF 2.3MB)

Educator Professional Development Programs Implemented at the Regional and Local Levels Evaluation: SEDL, Gibson Consulting, Academic Information Management, Inc., and two other firms evaluated the statewide teacher training activities funded through the Texas Student Success Initiative, which encompassed the Texas Reading, Mathematics, and Science Teacher Academies. SEDL conducted a literature review of best practices in professional development; expert reviews of academy training materials and resources; and surveys to ascertain how teachers perceived the training and if they were implementing the strategies in the classroom.

Final Report: Evaluation of Educator Professional Development Programs Implemented at the Regional and Local Levels Final Report (PDF 2.6MB)

Teacher Resources and Student Achievement in High-Need Schools Investigation: As part of SEDL's recently completed 5-year regional educational laboratory contract, SEDL conducted a series of three policy research studies that addressed the relationship between educational resource allocation and student achievement. The studies assessed the benefits of using state databases from Texas and the surrounding states to document the relationship between teacher resources, including teacher salaries, education, and experience, on student achievement. SEDL designed and developed three studies to assess the relationship using large secondary state and federal data from more than 1,500 districts and provided the findings to policymakers and stakeholders through policy briefs and regional and state policy forums.

Final Report: Teacher Resources and Student Achievement in High-Need Schools (PDF 616KB)

Texas High School Completion and Success (THSCS) Grant Program Evaluation: SEDL and its partners, Gibson Consulting and Academic Information Management, Inc., conducted an evaluation study to determine the degree to which THSCS grant funds have been implemented by grantees to support high school student retention and increase graduation rates and access to higher education. SEDL coordinated and conducted site visits, surveys, and best practices research and served as quality assurance on all project deliverables.

Final Report: Evaluation of the Texas High School Completion and Success Grant Initiative, Cycle 2 Final Report (PDF 560KB)

Interim Report: Evaluation of the Texas High School Completion and Success Grant Initiative, Cycle 2 Interim Report (PDF 3.3MB)

Arkansas Delta Academic Initiatives Evaluation: SEDL evaluated a multiyear district-level systemic initiative in five rural districts in Arkansas. The intervention sought to improve academic achievement outcomes for K–12 students through programs developed by or run from the University of Arkansas. SEDL conducted on-site interviews with program developers and administrators, as well as principals, teachers, and students in the local school districts.

Arkansas Education Renewal Zones (ERZ) Initiative Evaluation: SEDL staff conducted a multiyear evaluation of the ERZ initiative in eight sites across the state of Arkansas. The evaluation included both formative and summative data collection and reporting functions. The primary goals of the evaluation were to document the context in which the ERZ initiative takes place in each site, the implementation of the initiative according to the guidelines specified in the legislation, and the short- and long-term outcomes resulting from the implementation of the initiative. SEDL collaboratively developed a program logic model that was used to identify qualitative and quantitative outcome measures to be monitored as the initiative is implemented. Using a cluster evaluation framework, the evaluation was focused on identifying and describing (1) the policies, practices, and conditions that foster improvements in public school performance and student achievement; (2) the ways in which the partnerships established through the renewal zones leverage large-scale education improvement across the state; and (3) what will be needed to sustain the initiative over time.

Final Report: Arkansas Education Renewal Zones Initiative - 2007 Final Evaluation Report (PDF 1.8MB)

AERA Presentation: Education Renewal Zones: Increasing Partnerships and Sharing Resources for School Improvement (PDF 376KB)