New Resources for Districts from CAREI

by Kim Gibbons, Ph.D., Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement

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Kim Gibbons
Associate Director
Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI)

The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement remains committed to identifying and creating resources for school districts to use in implementing evidence-based practices. We recognize that it is sometimes hard to scale-up research in your own settings, and our goal is to help you identify potential solutions to your unique problems of practice and help you evaluate the impact on student outcomes. To that end, I would like to provide you with some resources we have developed to address some common issues and concerns.

Research Briefs

CAREI has partnered with Dr. Katie Pekel from the Organizational Leadership and Policy Department (OLPD) to develop six “briefs” that highlight reviews of research in six areas. Our goal was to develop tools to aid educators in making research-informed decisions about practice. These briefs include looping, platooning, class size, literacy universal screeners, and homework. We would like to continue developing more briefs and would welcome feedback from you about practices to review!

Research Briefs: http://bit.ly/2U7oNDm

Attendance

The reauthorization of federal education law with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 has prompted state level focus on student attendance as a robust metric of school quality/student success. In addition, ESSA requires states to report how many students are chronically absent on their school report card. During the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent national data available, the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) found that nearly 8 million students were chronically absent, defined as missing 15 or more school days during the year. In Minnesota, 102,071 students missed 15 or more school days in 2016. That is enough students to fill US Bank Stadium, Target Center, and Target Field!

Chronic absenteeism significantly impacts a variety of student outcomes including mathematics and reading achievement, social-emotional development, grade retention and dropout, and student discipline and is associated with risky behaviors such as substance use. Students with excessive absenteeism are also at increased risk for school dropout which is further associated with economic, social, and health problems in adulthood. In addition to the individual effects of absenteeism, research has found that classrooms with high rates of absenteeism have spillover effects with lower test scores observed for all students in the classroom, even the students with good attendance.

CAREI has two resources to help districts address chronic abseentism. First, we are offering districts an opportunity to participate in a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) with other districts to identify solutions and evaluate the impact of these solutions on student attendance. CAREI will assist districts in reviewing their attendance data using a tool we have developed to easily disaggregate attendance by a number of important variables.  We will also help districts collect and analyze the “root causes” of attendance problems using a student and parent survey developed by one of our researchers, Dr. Amber Humm Patnode. Once root causes are identified, we will facilitate the development of action plans to address the root causes and evaluate whether solutions are having a positive impact on attendance. We are willing to host these NIC’s regionally. Please let us know if you have interest in starting a NIC in your district or region!

Second, we have conducted a literature review on Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism for our CARE District Assembly members. We are providing open access to this document to assist educators across the state in addressing this important issue.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Literature Review: http://bit.ly/2BJsozZ

We hope this resources are useful to your district in your ongoing effort to implement evidence-based practices. Please feel free to contact me at kgibbons@umn.edu with any questions or comments!

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