Recently in Assessment, Standards, & Accountability Category

**Updated 3/4/14
The revised copy of this report is now available at the link above. Please contact us at carei@umn.edu with any questions.

Minnesota Statute requires that districts begin evaluating teachers in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statute, during early winter 2011, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group to consult with the Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model (hereafter "Model") and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013- 2014 school year (hereafter "Pilot").

The Model includes three components: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the districts are implementing the full Model (all three components) and nine districts are implementing one or two components of the Model (see Appendix I). The size of participating districts varies widely, ranging from 287 students to 7,356 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot. This report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted during November and December 2013 with Pilot participants.

This status report is the first of three reports. The report for the entire Pilot year will be available in August 2014 and a final report, which will include information on the value-added assessments, an element of the student learning and achievement component, will be submitted to the Joyce Foundation in December 2014. The data in this report is preliminary and encompasses only the first three months of the school year; thus readers should not over-generalize the findings or conclusions presented here. The purpose of this interim report is to provide formative feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

**Updated 3/4/14
The revised copy of this report is now available at the link above. Please contact us at carei@umn.edu with any questions.

Minnesota Statute requires that districts begin evaluating teachers in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statute, during early winter 2011, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group to consult with the Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model (hereafter "Model") and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013- 2014 school year (hereafter "Pilot").

The Model includes three components: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the districts are implementing the full Model (all three components) and nine districts are implementing one or two components of the Model (see Appendix I). The size of participating districts varies widely, ranging from 287 students to 7,356 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot. This report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted during November and December 2013 with Pilot participants.

This status report is the first of three reports. The report for the entire Pilot year will be available in August 2014 and a final report, which will include information on the value-added assessments, an element of the student learning and achievement component, will be submitted to the Joyce Foundation in December 2014. The data in this report is preliminary and encompasses only the first three months of the school year; thus readers should not over-generalize the findings or conclusions presented here. The purpose of this interim report is to provide formative feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

Truancy has reached epidemic levels in schools in the United States. School truancy is associated with delinquency, substance abuse, educational failure, and school attrition. This paper describes 2010-2011 evaluation results of the be@school truancy intervention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota's most populous county. The program was implemented to increase school attendance through coordinated, progressive early intervention efforts that provide educational and support services to school-age children and their families. Over 6,000 children, grades K-12, and their families were referred to the program. The evaluation compared children's attendance records before and after program interventions. Results showed a significant reduction in unexcused absence rates among students whose families participated in parent group meetings. Moreover, students whose families received community agency support had significantly fewer absences than their counterparts who received no such support. The findings suggest that early school interventions that include community and parental involvement can markedly reduce student truancy rates.

This conference paper was presented at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) Conference.

In 2006, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) received grant funding from the Department of Education's Foreign Language Assistance Program to support its Chinese Articulation Project (CAP). The three-year funding period started on September 15, 2006, and ended on September 14, 2009. SPPS established four main goals for the project: 1. Expand the Chinese program. 2. Articulate and align the Chinese language curriculum and instruction to provide continuity of student experience, standards-based programming, and district-wide structure. 3. Enrich the Chinese language program to provide a comprehensive rigorous academic experience. 4. Develop a national model and demonstration site of the articulated Chinese language program. CAREI was asked to evaluate the project's impact in each of these areas.

The be@school Program was implemented to increase school attendance and to improve community connections across Hennepin County through a coordinated early intervention effort that provides educational and support services to school-age children and their families. The program builds on the Minneapolis schools' attendance improvement activities which include making automated calls to parents after the first unexcused absence, sending a Principal's letter to parents after three unexcused absences, and offering helpful resources to the families. This report presents evaluation findings for the 2010-2011 school year of Hennepin County's be@school Program. The program used early intervention strategies with individual families to address children's poor school attendance. Over 6,000 children in grades K-12 and their families were referred to the program during the time frame under study. Referrals came from 21 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools across Hennepin County. The evaluation focused on comparing children's attendance records before and after program intervention. Additionally, analyses were completed between students whose families participated in the program and those who were referred, but did not participate (comparison group). Qualitative data analyses were also carried out to identify impediments to school attendance. Throughout this report, demographic information and program activities are described and related to the findings.

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study--Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning--provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education--including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles--provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning. This study was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study--Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning--provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education--including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles--provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning.

This report discussed the results of a four year study of an all-day kindergarten cohort in Burnsville, Minnesota. During the 2003-2004 school year, all kindergarten students in the Burnsville school district received full-day kindergarten. This was the first and only year that universal, free, full-day kindergarten was implemented in Burnsville. Each summer, the teachers who would receive the 03-04 universal full-day kindergarten cohort participated in a staff development program to prepare them for a potentially more advanced group of students. The 2003-04 kindergarten students were in 4th grade during the 2007-08 school year. Students' performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) in reading and math was compared to the cohort of students who enrolled in kindergarten during the 2004-05 school year, as well as to all students who joined their class by transferring into Burnsville after kindergarten.

This report describes the results of an evaluation of the Stillwater Area Public Schools laptop initiative at Stillwater Junior High School (SJHS) and Oak-Land Junior High School (OLJHS). A major impetus for the laptop initiative was the need to increase junior high students' engagement in school. The district hoped to enhance students' interest in learning by increasing the use of technology in the curriculum. The district also identified a need to develop students' "21st century skills," such as critical thinking, problem solving, technology literacy, and to support teachers in meeting the needs of diverse learners.

This study investigated the use of fidelity of implementation measures in concert with standardized tests in a matched-pairs, quasi-experimental design for evaluation of a pilot intervention program that was designed to increase second and third graders' mathematics and reading achievement. Although students in pilot classrooms characterized by high fidelity generally performed at the same level as control students , students in low fidelity pilot classrooms performed at a significantly lower level compared to both control students and students in high fidelity pilot classrooms. We found that the fidelity measures allowed more in depth analysis of the intervention's component parts and increased the confidence with which the project's major questions could be addressed, thereby providing more useful information to school district personnel.