Working Papers

  • Basic Skills Instruction in Community Colleges: the Dominance of Remedial Pedagogy

    Norton Grubb. Policy Analysis for California Education. July 2011

    A previous working paper argued, that, to understand basic skills education, it is necessary to observe classrooms to see what the “instructional triangle” involving the instructor, students, and content is like. This working paper presents the results of observing classes in 13 community colleges. It starts with a conceptualization of instruction, distinguishing behaviorist teaching, constructivist teaching, and hybrid teaching that combines the two (as well as several other dimensions of quality), and provides various reasons why hybrid or constructivist teaching is likely to be more effective than behaviorist teaching.

  • Understanding the “Crisis” in Basic Skills: Framing the Issues in Community Colleges

    Norton Grubb. Policy Analysis for California Education. June 2011

    While increases in remedial education (or basic skills instruction or developmental education) have taken place at several levels of the education and training system, there are reasons for thinking that the issue is particularly acute in community colleges. This introductory working paper divides the problem into two. The first is the high proportion — perhaps 60 percent for the country, and 80 percent in California — of students entering colleges who assess into developmental courses. This can be explained by the pattern of dynamic inequality in American education, where inequalities among students increase as they move through the system.

  • Decentralizing Resources in Los Angeles High Schools – California’s Quality Education Investment Act

    Margaret Bridges, Bruce Fuller, Andrew McEachin , Icela Pelayo, Neal Finkelstein. Policy Analysis for California Education. July 2010

    In a new PACE Working Paper, Margaret Bridges and Bruce Fuller from the University of California, Berkeley; Andrew McEachin and Icela Pelayo, from University of Southern California; and Neal Finkelstein from WestEd, San Francisco worked together to inquire about the use of the Quality Education Investment Act funds.

  • Alternative Teacher Compensation – A Primer

    Julia E. Koppich, Jessica Rigby. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2009

    A new PACE Working Paper has been released in conjunction with our Learning About New Forms of Teacher Compensation Conference on March 30 and 31, 2009. Written by Julie Koppich and Jessica Rigby, this policy primer is designed to provide baseline information about new forms of teacher pay that are emerging around the country, to support the local conversations and negotiations that will lead to the development of innovative compensation systems.

  • Smart Schools, Smart Growth – Investing in Education Facilities and Stronger Communities

    Policy Analysis for California Education. December 2008

    California is midway through one of the grandest public infrastructure projects ever attempted. Over the coming decade school officials will complete an $82 billion effort, building new schools and renovating old facilities, supported by taxpayers and private investors. But are state officials and local planners building schools mindfully to advance educational quality and lift local communities?

  • Parallel Play – Preschool and K-12 Finance Reform in New Jersey and Texas

    Bruce Fuller, Joseph Wright. Policy Analysis for California Education. July 2007

    In a PACE Working Paper, Co-Director Bruce Fuller and Joseph Wright offer policy and implementation lessons from two states – New Jersey and Texas – that have moved to advance preschool and K-12 finance reform in tandem. These states have assembled the puzzle pieces in differing ways, but both states are determined to widen access for families who can least afford quality preschool. The policy experiences of these states over the past quarter century yield notable lessons for current policy debate on pre-school and education finance reform in California.

  • The Unequal Opportunity to Learn in California's Schools: Crafting Standards to Track Quality

    Andrea Venezia, Julie Maxwell-Jolly. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2007

    This paper, stemming from a PACE seminar, examines the idea of crafting opportunity to learn (OTL) standards—how the state might collect and analyze indicators of school quality that are predictive of student achievement. The idea is not new. Such standards were put forward by Congress over a decade ago. However, questions remain regarding which quality indicators can be feasibly monitored and which are empirically related to achievement gains. Developing, implementing, and monitoring such a system would be challenging.

  • Community Voices: California Preschool Directors Speak on Policy Options

    Bruce Fuller, Kathryn Gesicki, Thea Sweo, Sunyoung Jung. Policy Analysis for California Education. January 2007

    PACE’s statewide survey of 439 directors of community preschools, those funded outside of school districts, inquired about basic facts and their perceptions of long-term issues. Preschool access and quality remain unfairly distributed among California’s diverse communities. Persisting questions examined include how to grow more plentiful and higher quality preschools, and how to ensure a robust balance between organizations run by schools or community organizations.

  • Snapshots of Reform: District Efforts to Raise Achievement across Diverse Communities in California

    Elisabeth L. Woody, Soung Bae, Sandra Park, Jennifer Russell. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2006

    In California, policymakers and educators had already turned their attention to addressing inequities in student achievement with the passage of the Public School Accountability Act (PSAA) in 1999. PSAA provided a framework for learning with curriculum standards, and set expectations for improvement through the Academic Performance Index (API). For the first time, schools were responsible for meeting achievement targets not just school-wide, but for racial/ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups of students.

  • Is the No Child Left Behind Act Working? The Reliability of How States Track Achievement

    Bruce Fuller, Kathryn Gesicki, Erin Kang, Joseph Wright. Policy Analysis for California Education. January 2006

    Debate is well under way regarding the effi cacy of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, including whether this bundle of federal rules and resources is prompting gains in student achievement. Spirited conversation will intensify as the Congress discusses how to adjust and reauthorize this ambitious set of school reforms. Both state and federal gauges of student achievement will inform this debate.


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