In the more than 40 years since the IDEA was passed, educational outcomes for students with disabilities have improved, but large achievement gaps remain between students with and without disabilities. In this blog post, Allison Gandhi and Louis Danielson explore how states can ensure that students with disabilities receive meaningful educational benefits, as guaranteed by IDEA—and now required by a Supreme Court decision.
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24 Feb 2017
It’s been 40 years since performance standards were substantially revised for Head Start. The newly Revised Head Start Rules were approved and released last September. They include four major changes: increased duration, expanded access, special supports for vulnerable populations, and improved supports for teachers. In this blog post, Eboni Howard offers a run-down on the evidence-base for these new rules.
23 Feb 2017
U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly hiring contingent faculty, or full- and part-time faculty who work on contract. While institutions say doing so saves money, two studies by the Delta Cost Project at AIR find the strategy has not translated into a large overall savings. In this blog post, Deanna Hill and Steve Hurlburt share these results and consider whether long-term unintended consequences may off-set short-term cost savings.
2 Feb 2017
Failing high school algebra can have serious consequences, and students are increasingly turning to online courses to recover algebra credits. What happens when students try to make up algebra credits virtually instead of in a classroom setting? In this blog post, Kirk Walters shares new findings from a study comparing course content and student outcomes for 1,200 Chicago Public School Students in credit recovery courses.
13 Dec 2016
Education has borrowed many ideas from the medical field. Now a new initiative shows the exchange isn’t just a one-way street. Bookmarking, a widely-used method for establishing student proficiency levels in major education tests—such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress—is being adapted to healthcare so patients and their families can better communicate the severity of symptoms. In this blog post Michelle Langer and Ellen Schultz explain this innovative new approach.
8 Dec 2016
At 21, many foster youth “age out” of financial benefits and supports from the child welfare system—before they even finish college. Given the challenges they face, it’s not surprising that only 3 to 10 percent of them earn undergraduate degrees compared with 34 percent of young adults who weren’t in foster care. What can states do to ensure foster youth have the support they need to graduate from college? In this blog post, Patricia Campie provides an overview of the educational challenges foster students face in the transition to college.
30 Nov 2016
In a rare occurrence, PISA, TIMSS, and NAEP assessments are releasing science and math results in the same year. Chances are the results from the various assessments won’t all tell the same story. So what do you need to know to make sense of this bumper crop of assessments? In this latest blog post, George Bohrnstedt and Fran Stancavage offer a quick run-down on how these assessments are similar and different.
31 Oct 2016
AIR recently analyzed 45 teacher evaluation rubrics to see if they aligned with the messages teachers are receiving about improving instruction to support students in achieving higher and deeper standards. Spoiler-alert: as many teachers likely already know—they don’t align and they are often too generic to provide useful guidance for growth. In this blog post, Matt Welch shares the study’s findings and offers three recommendations for policymakers on improving teacher evaluation instruments.
19 Oct 2016
Eighty-four percent of foster kids say they want to attend college, but only 20 percent will enroll and, at most, 6 percent will earn a bachelor’s degree. What can be done to help foster youths achieve their educational aspirations? In this blog post, Patricia Campie provides an overview of the educational challenges foster students face and highlights a new program that aims to train foster families to build a college-going culture in their homes.
14 Oct 2016
The U.S. Department of Education’s new regulations for teacher preparation programs ask states and organizations that prepare teachers to provide much more data about graduates’ competence, their persistence in the teacher workforce, and their impact on student learning. But is this the right data needed to improve teaching? In this blog post, Jenny DeMonte gives an overview of the new requirements and examines whether they are likely to improve teaching.