America Forward’s Evidence in Action blog series highlights the voices of social innovation organizations, including those in the America Forward Coalition and our network partners, the results-driven solutions our community has to our country’s most pressing social problems, and the evidence-based federal programs that are critical to scaling the impact of this work. Follow along on Twitter using #EvidenceinAction to stay updated on the series.
Compiled by Jessica Crawford
The organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition provide diverse support to thousands of schools across the country, serving large numbers of students and teachers from under-resourced communities. To help states, districts, schools, and, most importantly, students reach their full potential, America Forward and members of the America Forward Coalition believe federal education policy must prioritize and incentivize the creation of effective partnerships, continued innovation to identify and scale up additional effective practices, and develop and use data and evidence to guide decision making.
As the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) continues to be implemented, and as reauthorization legislation including the Higher Education Act, the Career and Technical Education Act, and Head Start Act await consideration in Congress, it is critical to understand where evidence-based programs are having an impact on students and educators across the education spectrum. Here are five #EvidenceinAction stories highlighting how evidence is delivering results in the education space.
- Early Childhood Learning [Bangor Daily News Opinion] – “Head Start has proven to increase school readiness for children from prekindergarten to third grade in the areas of language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills and social-emotional aspects. Studies found that students who graduated from Head Start are more likely to finish high school and stay out of jail, compared with children who needed the services but were unable to access them…Increasing access to Head Start, will not only positively affect the educational development, but will also enhance the health and social services for children in poverty, or with disabilities. Moreover, more funding will help pay for well-trained teachers, allow for smaller classrooms that have one-on-one support, and will improve the quality of the curricula delivered.”
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers [AEI Blog] – “According to a 2016 American Institute for Research (AIR) report about the CCLC program in Texas, researchers identified ‘a relationship between participation and improved … mathematics performance as well as participation and reduced school-day disciplinary incidents and absences’…A 2013 AIR report identified the following: 9th-12th grade participants had higher test scores in Reading/ELA & Mathematics, compared to non-participants; 6th-12th grade participants had fewer disciplinary incidents, compared to non-participants; 4th-11th grade participants had fewer school day absences; ACE participants attending 60 days or more had an increased likelihood of grade promotion, ranging from 18% to 97% with the largest increase in high school. A 2014 AIR Report about afterschool programs in Washington indicates that participants improved their math and reading achievement as well as an improvement in GPA. In a 2012 report about a statewide evaluation of CCLCs in California, researchers at UCLA concluded that African American students, special education students, and below proficient students participating in the After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program performed better in English language arts than non-participants. In South Carolina, a four-year, peer-reviewed, randomized control trial (RCT) evaluation of the WINGS program shows positive results for lowering absenteeism and disciplinary referrals, two factors that influence a student’s likelihood to drop out of school.”
- Social and Emotional Learning Initiatives [Education Dive] – “A new research brief from Penn State University and the Robert Wood Foundation found that for every $1 spent on social emotional learning initiatives, there is an $11 return on investment.”
- Teachers and School Leaders [The McGraw Prize in Education] – “Across the nation, school districts are now turning to New Teacher Center (NTC) to help them establish a system that gives teachers the hands-on coaching and mentoring guidance needed to overcome challenges and changes the odds for students…NTC started seeing positive results almost immediately, became a national organization in 2009 and has expanded to currently help over 40,000 teachers and 7,500 teacher leaders in 600 school districts across the United States…Since being implemented into classrooms across the country, the NTC programs have become a helpful tool for teachers who are placed into low-income, minority districts without the proper resources needed to succeed. Last year alone, NTC’s work resulted in over 3.4 million students across the U.S. who had access to more competent, more confident, more engaging and more effective teachers than the national average.”
- College Access and Success Efforts [Education Post] – “KIPP Through College tackles both the academic and non-academic issues low-income students contend with. It advises students on what classes they should take to be competitive applicants to college and helps their families negotiate financial aid packages. And it addresses the seemingly small, often overlooked hardships that can derail low-income, first-generation college students, like…transportation problems. Nearly a decade later, it’s clear the program is working. KIPP students are increasingly crossing the finish line. Currently, 81 percent of KIPP alumni enroll in college after graduating from high school. By last fall, 44 percent of KIPP alumni earned bachelor’s degrees a decade after completing eighth grade – higher than the 33 percent of adults nationwide who earn bachelor’s degrees and more than four times higher than the number of low-income students who finish college.”
Jessica Crawford is America Forward’s Director of Strategic Partnerships
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