Teacher Leadership Is Linked to Higher Student Test Scores in New Study

Source: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2017/10/teacher_leadership_student_achievement.html

 

Students who go to schools where their teachers have a leadership role in decisionmaking perform significantly better on state tests, a new study finds.

But some of the leadership elements that are most related to student achievement are the ones that are least often implemented in schools.

That’s according to a new analysis of data from the New Teacher Center’s Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning survey, which asks questions about teaching, learning, and working conditions in schools. Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the report’s lead author, studied responses from 2011 to 2015, which included data from nearly 1 million teachers from more than 25,000 schools, in 16 states.

He looked at two aspects of leadership: Do school leaders have an instructional focus, in the sense that they place teaching and learning at the center of their decisionmaking? And are teachers included in that decisionmaking beyond the classroom?

Schools with the highest levels of instructional and teacher leadership rank at least 10 percentile points higher in both math and English/language arts on state tests, compared to schools with the lowest levels—even after controlling for factors like school poverty, size, and location.

This is the first large-scale study that has linked teacher leadership to student test scores, Ingersoll said.

read more:  http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2017/10/teacher_leadership_student_achievement.html

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/09/29/552929074/if-your-teacher-looks-likes-you-you-may-do-better-in-school

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School

Having a teacher that looks like you may help you succeed in school.

Zai Wei Zhang for NPR

Think back to grade school for a moment and envision that one teacher who could captivate you more than any other. Did that teacher look a bit like you? One recent study says: probably.

There’s mounting evidence that when black students have black teachers, those students are more likely to graduate high school. That new study takes this idea even further, providing insight into the way students actually think and feel about the teachers who look like them and those who don’t.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Researchers surveyed more than 80,000 public school students, grades four through eight, across six different states.
  • These students were asked to evaluate how well their teachers led their classrooms.
  • The researchers paid special attention to the way students — black, white and Hispanic — in the same classes rated the same teachers.

The study found that when students had teachers of the same race as them, they reported feeling more cared for, more interested in their schoolwork and more confident in their teachers’ abilities to communicate with them. These students also reported putting forth more effort in school and having higher college aspirations.

When students had teachers who didn’t look like them, the study found, they reported lower levels of these feelings and attitudes. These trends were most visible in black students, especially black girls.

These findings support the idea that students do better in school when they can view their teachers as role models, says Brian Kisida, who coauthored the paper. And if that teacher looks like you, you might perceive them as precisely that, a role model.

One problem: a growing number of students don’t have teachers who look like them. The majority of students in public school are students of color, while most teachers identify as white. And this so-called teacher-diversity gap likely contributes to racial disparities in academic performance.

“The national achievement gap is unidirectional,” says Anna Egalite, another coauthor. Students who are white fare far better than students who aren’t, and that might have something to do with the relative homogeneity of teachers. According to recent statistics, just 18 percent of teachers were people of color.

But a more diverse population of teachers alone won’t help students of color, says Gloria Ladson-Billings, a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To change attitudes and behaviors about school, she says, “We need teachers who view their students of color as whole people.”

And that’s key because diversifying the teaching force might take a while. But one thing policymakers can do to shrink the achievement gap, Egalite and Kisida say, is pay attention to the things students of color say they appreciate about having teachers who look like them. Only then, they say, can practitioners train teachers to communicate with diverse bodies of students.

New SAT, Old Gaps on Race

New SAT, Old Gaps on Race

As College Board unveils results from the new version of the exam, Asians beat all other groups.

September 27, 2017

More than 93 percent of the students who took the SAT during the 2016-17 academic year took the new version of the test. That makes the results released Tuesday the baseline against which future scores can be compared. But since this is the first time the SAT has had a majority of test takers using the new version of the test, the College Board maintains that it would be inaccurate to compare this year’s scores to previous scores for the annual articles here and elsewhere (at least most years) on whether scores are up or down.

That said, the data do show that an issue that has worried educators for years — gaps in average scores by race and ethnicity — remains. Similar gaps are apparent in this year’s ACT scores.

For SAT scores, a particularly striking figure relates to the performance of Asian-Americans who took the test.

In the last year before the College Board started to switch to the new version of the SAT, white students outscored Asian students in one category, critical reading. In the new version of the SAT, Asian students scored higher on average on both parts of the test than did all other student groups. Experts on admissions know of course that colleges admit on the basis of more than test scores, and typically on a wide range of factors.

But critics of affirmative action — perhaps including the U.S. Justice Department — have focused on test scores to argue that elite colleges are discriminating against Asian applicants. The new data not only show Asian students earning top scores, but also that Asian students were significantly more likely to have met what the College Board calls “benchmark” scores indicating that students have a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in various college courses. The table below shows the percentage of students who met the benchmark for both the mathematics and the reading and writing sections of the test.

2017 Mean SAT Scores, and Percentage Meeting Benchmarks, by Race and Ethnicity

Group Reading and Writing Mathematics Met Both Benchmarks
American Indian/Alaska Native 486 477 27%
Asian 569 612 70%
Black 479 462 20%
Latino 500 487 31%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 498 488 32%
White 565 553 59%

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New Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on Resource Equity

From: U.S. Department of Education
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2014 9:56 AM
Subject: New Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on Resource Equity

Dear Colleague:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education, through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter to ensure that students have equal access to educational resources. The guidance provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards established by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The guidance is one part of President Obama’s larger equity agenda and takes into account the ongoing efforts of states, school districts, and schools to improve equity. All students—regardless of race, color, national origin, or zip code—deserve a high-quality education that includes resources such as academic and extracurricular programs, strong teaching, technology and instructional materials, and safe school facilities.

The guidance is directed to all federal fund recipients that oversee or operate elementary and secondary education programs, including state and local superintendents, school board members, principals, and other education officials. It will help educators, parents, students, and advocates understand how OCR addresses resource equity in our nation’s schools. Today’s guidance builds upon the resource equity guidance issued by the Department in 2001.

  • To read the new Dear Colleague Letter and related materials (including a Resource Equity Fact Sheet, today’s press release, and a list of available technical assistance), please click here.
  • La página de datos sobre recursos de equidad y el comunicado de prensa están disponibles en español aqui.

Please share this information widely with your members, affiliates, and networks.

Thank you,

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education

 

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.