Reconciling long-term education policy goals with short-term school accountability models
Learn more about the effect of seasonality on estimates of school effectiveness and how ignoring summer loss can impact which schools are identified as low performers.
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Using achievement data from fall and spring of grades K-8 for 840,000 students in 8,800 public schools, this study provides novel evidence on how achievement and growth differ between rural and nonrural schools. Rural students start kindergarten slightly ahead of nonrural students but fall behind by middle school. The divergence is driven by larger summer losses for rural students. In both rural and nonrural schools, Black–White achievement gaps widen during the school year.
Schools as refractors: Change in variance in children’s cognitive skills change while in school versus out
How does schooling affect inequality in students’ academic skills? This study uses seasonal comparisons to examine the possibilities that schooling exacerbates, reduces, or reproduces overall skill inequality in math, reading, language use, and science with recent national data on US public school students spanning numerous grade levels from the NWEA MAP Growth assessment. Results suggest that schooling has a compensatory effect on inequality in reading, language, and science skills but not math skills. Theoretical implications of findings are discussed.
By: Dennis Condron, Megan Kuhfeld, Douglas Downery
Supporting COVID-19 recovery for students with disabilities: Research findings, policy recommendations, and lessons from the ground
In this webinar by the Alliance for Excellent Education, NWEA, and the National Center for Learning disabilities, learn about recent research on academic growth for students in special education before the pandemic and implications for policies and practices designed to spur COVID-19 recovery.
New research examining academic achievement and growth of students in special education and their peers who were never in special education during each school year and summer in grades K-4 shows that students with disabilities grow as much or more academically during the school year than their peers without disabilities during some years, but that steeper summer learning losses for students with disabilities contribute to widening disparities.
This study compares within- and across-years academic growth for students who were ever in special education (ever-SPED) to students who were never in special education (never-SPED) in grades K-4. Ever-SPED students grew more in math and reading than never-SPED students during many school years, but lost more learning during every summer than their peers, leading to expanding disparities. These findings suggest that summer learning opportunities are crucial for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
To avoid the subjectivity of having a single person evaluate a construct of interest, multiple raters are often used. While a range of models to address measurement issues that arise when using multiple raters have been presented, few are available to estimate growth in the presence of multiple raters. This study provides a model that removes all but the shared perceptions of raters at a given timepoint then adds on a latent growth curve model across timepoints. Results indicate that the model shows promise for use by researchers who want to estimate growth based on longitudinal multi-rater data.
To avoid the subjectivity of having a single person evaluate a construct of interest (e.g., a student’s self-efficacy in school), multiple raters are often used. This study provides a model for estimating growth in the presence of multiple raters.