Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Papers
These Texas Comprehensive Center briefing papers address topics requested by our partners at the Texas Education Agency. Center staff collected information regarding research and practices related to these topics and summarized that information so that educators could use it to support their work at the state, district, and campus level to meet student needs more effectively. Each briefing paper also includes an extensive list of references to guide readers to additional resources on the topic of the paper.
All briefing papers are from TXCC previous funded work October 2005 through September 2012; information contained therein may have changed and is not being updated.
Often, literacy instruction is not implemented at the secondary level in part because of discipline-specific frameworks and characteristics. Educators must recognize that it is because of these factors that they must incorporate instruction around content-area literacy into courses for secondary students. This will enable the students to develop deep knowledge and high-level thinking skills that will help them become critical readers and life-long learners.
Most experts agree that major changes are needed in teacher preparation programs in the United States, however there is little scientifically based evidence regarding what kind of program produces effective teachers. Some innovative and promising practices are discussed, but more research is needed.
Rural educational issues cannot be addressed by a onesize-fits-all approach to school improvement, but current research offers some solutions and insights into turning around low-performing rural districts and schools. Of the four possibilities set forth by the U.S. Department of Education, the transformation model holds the most promise for rural schools. Successful transformation is often attributed to thoughtful and flexible school leadership and staff actions that integrate a community’s unique qualities into the change process.
Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics to ELs at the Secondary Level
It is difficult for secondary-level ELs to achieve academic success comparable to their non-EL peers because of linguistic challenges specific to secondary-level core-content areas, in addition to barriers faced by ELs in general. Some promising strategies for use in mathematics, science, and social studies are reported.
Multiple ways of assessing teaching effectiveness are being implemented by many states. Student survey instruments can provide valuable insight into the teaching and learning environment of a classroom. Students have the “deepest, broadest, and most veridical perception of their teacher.” Thus, student survey instruments can be a valuable component when designing a 21st century comprehensive teacher evaluation system.
Effectively meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students presents challenges for educators across the United States, including the Texas and Southeast Comprehensive Center regions. Increasingly rigorous achievement expectations must be supported with flexible, accessible curricula, offering multiple pathways to success in order to secure opportunities for all children.
The impact of class time lengths on student achievement is a complex issue with multiple extraneous factors and without definitive answers. A major theme across many of the studies reviewed is that the amount of instructional time is not so important as how that time is spent..
Research indicates that teenage parents experience reductions in their educational attainments compared to teenagers who are not parents. However, strategies have been reported that can help close this gap between teen parents and non-parents.
Title III Supplemental Funds: Creative Ways to Support the Education of English Language Learners in Texas Schools
Two Texas districts have used Title III funds in innovative ways to support achievement of English language learners by assisting students, teachers, and parents.
Rigorous research on alternative high schools for at-risk students is extremely limited, especially for rural areas. There are case studies and descriptive reports of successful programs for rural students whose needs are not met in traditional schools. In general, these programs share the same characteristics as those found in urban areas. Some programs and schools are profiled in two appendices included in this report.
The literature addressing how family and community involvement impacts a culture of college and career readiness suggests there is a positive association for certain types of involvement. Providing support and encouragement, as well as assisting with planning, increases the probability of attending and graduating from college. Key Points
The transition from eighth grade to high school results in a higher drop-out rate and more grade retentions than any other grade. However, when districts and schools develop and implement a sound transition program, the outcomes for ninth graders are improved.