November 2013

November 2013

AYPF Wishes You a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!



Webinar – Understanding Accelerated Learning Across Secondary and Postsecondary Education, Monday, November 25, 2013, 1:00-2:30 p.m. 
As we strive to create an education system that is responsive to the needs of all, we must foster pathways that afford students the opportunity to move through secondary and postsecondary education at an individualized pace that meets their academic needs. Accelerated learning serves as a promising tool to provide such opportunities to students. This webinar will discuss the recent brieUnderstanding Accelerated Learning Across Secondary and Postsecondary Education featuring both a description of the categories of accelerated learning developed in the brief and presentations from programs that were profiled.

Speakers include Joe Harris, Director, College and Career Readiness and Success Center at AIR;Jennifer Brown Lerner, Senior Director, American Youth Policy Forum; Melinda Mechur Karp, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; Louisa Erickson, Program Administrator, Basic Skills, Washington State Board for Technical and Community College; Thomas Acampora, Field Manager, Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University.

Webinar – Research, Policy, and Practice: The Role of Intermediaries in Promoting Evidence-Based Decisions, Thursday, December 5, 2013, 1:00-2:00 p.m. 
There have been increased calls for the use of research to inform education policy and practice. However, many barriers often prevent researchers, policymakers and practitioners from working together effectively.  In addition to limited understanding of research among policymakers and practitioners, researchers’ agendas often do not coordinate with practitioner needs.  Social networks, intermediaries, and partnerships between research organizations and school districts can play a critical role in disseminating and interpreting research.   The challenge is informing policymakers and practitioners of these existing opportunities and the best way to take advantage of them.

Presenters include Dr. Cynthia Coburn, Professor at Northwestern University and author of “Research-Practice Partnerships: A Strategy for Leveraging Research for Educational Improvement in School Districts”; Dr. Phil Bell, Professor and Director of the Institute for Science and Math Education, University of Washington; and Dr. Amy Gerstein, Executive Director, John W. Gardner Center for Youth at Stanford University.

Capitol Hill Forum – Using Student Surveys: Research Findings and Implications for Teaching and Learning, Friday, December 6, 2013, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
AYPF will host a series of forums examining the use of student surveys to inform continuous improvement of teaching and learning.  The first forum entitled “Using Student Surveys: Research Findings and Implications for Teaching and Learning.”  This forum will focus on what we have learned through recent research on the use of classroom-level student surveys. Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson of Harvard University will discuss how surveys capture key dimensions of classroom life and teaching practices as students experience them.  The validity and reliability of student feedback will be presented as well as the relationship between survey results and student learning outcomes. Paul Ronevich, science teacher at the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, will discuss his experiences using the data from student surveys, and William Hileman, Vice President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers will discuss the challenges and policy implications of integrating student surveys into teacher evaluations. Subsequent forums will examine implications of student surveys for leadership and school improvement initiatives, and district and state policy.

Capitol Hill Forum – The Use of Research in the Development of Common Core State Standards, Monday, December 16, 2013, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
State education agencies and school districts across the country are in the midst of major changes, as they align their work with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Their decisions will have far-reaching implications for instruction, and it is important that they be informed by high-quality research.  However, educators and policymakers do not always incorporate research into their decisions.  Constraints on the decision-making process itself–financial, logistical, or political–sometimes make the careful consideration of research difficult.  At other times, policymakers may feel that existing research is not suited to their context or that the gap between theory and practice is too wide.  To help sort out these issues, the William T. Grant Foundation has sponsored several studies to track how research is accessed, interpreted, and used to inform policy discourse and practice.  This forum will highlight how these studies can illuminate and strengthen the use of research in implementing the Common Core State Standards.

Dr. Lorraine McDonnell, University of California, Santa Barbara, will discuss how research was integrated with other types of evidence in developing the Common Core, and what the CCSS experience suggests for how research might be more effectively used in policy deliberations. Dr. Sandra Alberti, Director of State and District Partnerships and Professional Development, Student Achievement Partners, will share her experience working alongside states and districts as they aligned their work to the Common Core State Standards using evidence-based strategies. Last, we will hear from a school district that is currently aligning its work to the Common Core State Standards. Nancy Gannon, Executive Director of the Office for Academic Quality in the New York City Department of Education, will speak about how the department integrated research into selecting CCSS supports for teachers and schools.

Capitol Hill Forum – Beyond the GED: Preparing for College and a Career in the 21st Century, Friday, January 24, 2014, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
While the GED strives to provide a pathway for many students to transition to postsecondary education and the workforce, studies have shown that in practice many GED prep programs fall short of this goal. According to a 2009 report published by the GED Testing Service, only about one-in-three GED holders enrolled in at least one postsecondary institution five years after attaining their GED; 77 percent of those individuals dropped out after one semester; and only 17 percent of individuals earned a postsecondary credential. In order for the GED to live up to its potential to provide a viable alternative for youth to progress to and through postsecondary education, GED programs must re-evaluate the supports and services they provide to their students.

This Capitol Hill forum, co-sponsored by MDRC, will explore the history of the GED and highlight best practices at LaGuardia Community College’s GED Bridge Program. Richard J. Murnane, Professor of Education and Society at Harvard Graduate School of Education will provide an overview of the historic trends and value of GED attainment to participating youth. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College, will then discuss the development and implementation of the GED Bridge Program at LaGuardia. Vanessa Martin, Senior Associate at MDRC will present the results of MDRC’s GED Bridge Program evaluation and highlight opportunities for future research. Finally,Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, Research Associate at MDRC, will discuss policy implications and highlight future opportunities within federal policy to support successful programming.


Discussion Group Brief – The Role of Expanded Learning Opportunities in Competency-Based Education Systems
State and district education leaders are increasingly considering implementing competency-based pathways and systems as a way to help more students become college and career ready.  Competency-based education allows students to advance at their own pace and provides differentiated, student-centered instruction and assessment across a full range of competencies. Expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), which take place outside of the boundaries of the school day and allow students to access unique and engaging learning experiences, can play a valuable role in such systems by augmenting, reinforcing, and applying learning acquired during the school day.

Because competency education includes individualized measures of proficiency and directly challenges the notion of time-based education, stakeholders have many questions about designing and implementing these new systems. This discussion group provided an opportunity to hear from leaders who are currently incorporating expanded learning opportunities into competency-based systems. Participants discussed and explored the opportunities and challenges inherent in this work, and this brief provides a detailed description of the meeting.

Ready for Success Blog
The Ready for Success Blog, operated by College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the American Institutes of Research, provides practitioners and policymakers with many posts related to college and career readiness. Topics span the field of strategies which help prepare students for postsecondary education and beyond, including accelerated learning; dropout prevention and recovery; increased learning time; and federal, state, and local policy initiatives to name a few.

Recently AYPF has provided several contributions to the Ready for Success Blog, including posts discussing the data sharing system in Metro Nashville Public Schools, as well as a recent discussion group focusing on career academies.

Click here to find all briefs and reports
Click here to view all AYPF publications


Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff

Opportunity Index Opportunity Nation and Measure of America
At the core of America is a shared belief that no matter how humble your origins, with hard work and perseverance, you can improve your prospects in life and give your children a shot at a secure and productive future. But today, the American Dream is at risk, and too often it’s your zip code that predetermines your destiny. The Opportunity Index focuses on the conditions present in different communities and is designed to connect economic, academic, civic and other factors together to help identify concrete solutions to lagging conditions for opportunity and economic mobility.  From preschool enrollment to income inequality, from volunteerism to access to healthy food, expanding opportunity depends on the intersection of multiple factors. The Index measures 16 indicators, and scores all 50 states plus Washington, DC on a scale of 0-100 each year.  In addition, more than 3,000 counties are graded A-F, giving policymakers and leaders a useful tool to identify areas for improvement and to gauge progress over time.

Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Alternative schools—whether charter or traditional—are schools whose mission is to serve special populations including adjudicated youth, dropouts, pregnant teens, and recovering addicts. Over the years states have struggled with defining and implementing accountability systems for the academic performance of these schools. Charter school authorizers, the entities that approve and oversee charter schools, have been left to make high-stakes decisions about these schools without adequate guidance from state policies. This report sets out recommendations for appropriate accountability systems for this growing segment of the American education sector and discusses proficiency, growth  multiyear graduation rates, providing credit for re-engaging students who have dropped out, improving attendance, mastery of material, and college/career readiness.

Career Readiness Assessments Across States: A Summary of Survey Findings Center on Education Policy
This summary report describes how states are defining career readiness and which assessments states and districts are using to measure this attribute.  The report is based on a survey administered in the summer of 2013 to state directors of career and technical education (CTE) or their designees about career readiness assessments.  A total of 46 states completed the survey, counting the District of Columbia.  Also available on this site are four related papers containing additional details on the main topics covered in the summary report, including the responses of specific states and profiles of major career and technical assessments.

The Promise of High-Quality Career and Technical Education: Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy The College Board, Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, and The Business Roundtable
This paper describes the benefits of high-quality Career and Technical Education (CTE), elements that are essential for such benefits to occur and suggests federal and state policies that would support the expansion of high-quality CTE. The paper outlines a strong economic case for CTE, including research on the value of postsecondary credentials and the need to ensure more students move through the educational pipeline to meet the needs of the labor market. Finally, the paper outlines eight system-level characteristics of a high-quality CTE program, including: career-oriented educational systems; strong options for all students; rigorous academic curricula; rigorous technical skill development; employability skills; professional development for teaching staff and leaders; support services for students; and assessment/accountability.

Data for Action 2013 Data Quality Campaign
States have more capacity than ever to use secure education data, but they need to place a greater focus on using the right data to answer the right questions to improve student success. This section of the website shares results and analyses from Data for Action 2013, DQC’s annual survey on the progress of the 50 states and the District of Columbia toward implementing the 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use and toward addressing other key policy issues.

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels.

AYPF events and publications are made possible by a consortium of philanthropic foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationWilliam T. Grant FoundationThe Wallace FoundationCharles Stewart Mott FoundationWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others.

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