• 05/01/2015. Edsource

    What’s not on California’s education agenda – and should be

    David Plank, Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education

  • 04/28/2015

    Voluntary gaps in college tenure, be they for professional reasons or otherwise, are common occurrences in the United States. Existing studies of voluntary academic leave (taking a “gap year” or “gap semester”) have focused on causes, while studies of collegiate internships have focused on labor market effects. We estimate the impacts of these two occurrences on returning academic and other collegiate outcomes.

  • 04/21/2015

    Many new teacher evaluation systems include measures of both student growth and teacher classroom observations. Although much of the policy attention focuses on student growth or value-added measures, interview and survey data from 6 urban school districts suggests principals rely less on test scores than classroom observations in their human capital decision making. In particular, the consistency, transparency, and specificity of observation data seem to provide benefits for principals seeking to use these data to inform decisions around teacher hiring, assignment, professional development, and dismissal.

  • 04/14/2015

    Research has long shown that healthy children are better learners and that school programming targeting students' health can encourage long-term wellness and promote academic success. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes their Coordinated School Health (CSH) model as a strategy for improving student health and capacity for learning, with a district-level wellness coordinator at the center. New research provides the first evidence indicating that when district-level wellness coordinators become involved in school health, there can be increased integration of wellness programs within and across schools, reaching more students equitably and leveraging existing resources.

  • 04/07/2015

    Recent research finds that having peers who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) is associated with lower achievement in middle school, particularly for non-LEP students. The overall language mix of LEP students has little if any discernable relationship with achievement. For LEP students, having more LEP peers speak their mother tongue is positively associated with reading achievement and negatively associated with mathematics achievement.

  • 04/07/2015
  • 03/31/2015

    The recent increase in California’s school starting age has implications not only for short-term academic achievement, but also for longer-term outcomes. A new study finds that an individual’s exposure to a higher school starting age leads to a lower likelihood of incarceration in adulthood. The reduction appears to stem from the benefits associated with an older average cohort, which accrue both to those who delayed their entry as well as those who did not. The overall decline in incarceration masks the fact that individuals who had to delay their school entry by a year were harmed by the delay itself (that is, the reduction is smaller than it otherwise would have been).

  • 03/24/2015

    The increasing demand for a STEM workforce and the insufficient supply produced by American educational institutions has led many researchers and policy analysts to focus on the shortage of women in these important fields. The pre-college setting is highly influential on students’ choice of college major and the majority of the students who concentrate in STEM make that choice during high school. Using longitudinal data from students who spent their academic careers in North Carolina public secondary schools and attended North Carolina public universities, this study finds that female high school STEM teachers are key to girls’ decisions to major in STEM. Larger shares of female HS STEM teachers raise girls’ odds of majoring in STEM, while boys’ odds are unaffected.

  • 03/10/2015

    Enrichment programs in K-12 schools, such as the arts, are frequently cut to drive student performance in language arts and mathematics—the focal points of most standardized exams. However, a recent study suggests that high quality arts integration can positively influence student academic achievement. In a longitudinal study of an intensive multi-art integration model implemented in public elementary schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District, consistent and significant gains were observed in student proficiency on standardized tests of English Language Arts when compared to matched comparison sites with standalone arts programming.

  • 03/03/2015

    Few analyses have looked at how increasing walking and cycling can reduce student transportation costs for school districts and families. Using case studies and school bus routing simulations, researchers show that it may be more cost-effective to make engineering improvements to remove hazardous conditions rather than continuing to pay for busing in perpetuity.


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