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The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina

The purpose of this study was to compare American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina to all other students in the same grades both within the same schools and statewide on student demographics, school characteristics, and education outcomes. The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) requested this research based on a prior report identifying achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students. The primary source of quantitative data for this study is longitudinal administrative data provided to the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These data include student-level outcomes for all students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina public schools for the school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Outcomes considered include state test scores, attendance, retention in grade, advanced course taking, graduation rates, and disciplinary referrals. Quantitative analyses include all American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina public schools for school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Students of other ethnicities in the same grades and years both within the same schools and statewide serve as comparison groups. Descriptive analyses compare averages for all student characteristics, school characteristics, and education outcomes for American Indian students compared to their within school and statewide peers. Regression analyses using multilevel modeling were used examine the extent to which controlling for student, school, and teacher characteristics accounts for differences in outcomes between American Indian students and their peers. The analyses found that American Indian students are demographically different from non-American Indian students statewide, but similar to other students attending the same schools. Schools attended by American Indian students are more likely to be rural and in the Coastal plain. American Indians also tend to attend schools that serve more economically disadvantaged students and more disadvantaged minority students. Across all middle school and high school standardized tests, American Indian students have lower average scores than other students statewide and within the same schools. American Indian students are absent more often on average than their peers both statewide and within the same school, are less likely to take advanced courses, and graduate at lower rates, but are equally likely to be retained in grade as their peers. When school and student demographics are held constant, the size of the gaps on most outcomes between American Indian students and their peers both within the same schools and statewide are substantially reduced.

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Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools

The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools' policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked an average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools' policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.

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Professional Learning Communities Facilitator's Guide for the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade

The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast developed a Professional Learning Community (PLC) Facilitators Guide to support educators in the implementation of recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse. The practice guide focuses on the foundational reading skills that enable students to read words, relate those words to their oral language, and read connected text with sufficient accuracy and fluency to understand what they read. The practice guide, developed by a panel of experts comprised of researchers and practitioners, presents four recommendations that educators can use to improve literacy skills in the early grades.

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Self-study guide for implementing literacy interventions in Grades 3-8

The Grades 3-8 Self-Study Guide for Implementing Literacy Interventions was developed to help district- and school-based practitioners conduct self-studies for planning and implementing literacy interventions. It is intended to promote reflection about current strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of literacy interventions, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. This guide provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion that may improve the implementation of literacy interventions.

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Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students

This report describes the results of a REL Southeast study comparing short- and longer-term student successes after completion of online credit recovery courses compared to student successes after completion of other credit recovery options, such as traditional face-to-face courses and summer school courses. Credit recovery refers to when a student fails a course and then retakes the same course to earn high school credit. This research question was motivated by the growing importance of online learning in traditional public school settings and a desire on the part of many stakeholders to understand better how students are adjusting to that transition. The data for this study covered eleven core high school courses (courses required for graduation) taken between 2008/09 and 2011/12 in North Carolina. The study compares the likelihood of a student: (a) succeeding on the state end-of-course test for the recovered course; (b) succeeding in the next course in a recovered course sequence (for instance, in English II after English I); (c) remaining in school after credit recovery; and (d) graduating and graduating on time. Results suggest that there was little difference between the short-term success rates of students who completed state-supported online credit recovery and students who completed other credit recovery options. However, on measures of longer-term success, students who completed state-provided online credit recovery courses and did not subsequently drop out were more likely than other credit recovery students to graduate on time. Among credit recovery participants in state-provided online courses, Black students were less likely to reach proficiency in their recovered courses but more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework after their online experience. Because of limitations in the analyses possible with available data, it is not possible to directly attribute these outcomes to participation in online credit recovery, but the results do point toward intriguing and potentially beneficial areas for future, more rigorous study.

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