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Kristin Michell (the presenter), Director of Technical Assistance, was kind enough to send me a note yesterday. Her presentation style was quite vivacious and engaging.

Here’s the note and my session notes follow afterwards:

Thanks for attending and blogging about my session yesterday, it was nice to meet you.

I wanted to send two resources per our discussion of online professional development and online learning yesterday. First, I wanted to share the ED-Funded evaluation that was conducted by Mathematica which looked at Ed Tech across over 15 instructional technology interventions for students – it is the large scale study I mentioned yesterday.


Also, I mentioned that I had worked on a publication about Evaluating Online Learning for the US Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. Here is a link:

In this document we featured the Maryland Public Television program and the specific unpublished research by Helene Jennings and Michael Long at ORC Macro is attached. Their paper was presented at the 2004 American Evaluation Association conference. The evaluation about the Louisiana Online Algebra I program is also included in the publication.

Hope these research resources are helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or need any other information!

Session Notes

  • There are 10 regional labs
  • Lots of opportunities to serve constituents
  • History of Labs
    • Authorized in 1965 under the ESEA
    • 2005 “ A corner turned with NCLB and Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA)
  • Institute for Education Sciences (IES)
    • offers funding and is an independent research entity that provides best available research.
  • Mission of REL
    • Emissary of science
      • Provide policy makers and practitioners high quality, scientifically valid education research
      • Assist in the evaluation of education policies and programs
      • Focus on improved student achievement
      • Reading content has lots of research, while Math may not be researched. We can research to existing or current research studies and how you can use that evidence. Where there is not a research, we can work with you as a District to design an evaluation to the body of evidence that exists.
  • Key Characteristics of the Labs
    • Independent research entities
    • Defined by IES Contract
    • Report objective, scientifically valid results
    • Free of political influence
    • Governing Board
  • Governing Board Membership
    • 21 members
    • Each State Chief
    • Texas Members – 6 members

What Labs Don’t Do

  • Program or product development
  • Professional development
  • General technical assistance
  • Program advocacy

What Labs Do

  • Evidence
  • Rigorous peer review process of all research
  • Lab network strengthened
  • Common branding

What Constitutes Good Education Research

  • Answers specific research question
  • Methodology appropriately matches question
  • Findings are consistent with evidence
  • Rigorous Review
  • readily understood by constitutents
  • Practical appications resulting in improved student outcomes

3 Kinds of Research

  • Needs Sensing/Market Research
  • Technical Assistance and Fast Response Studies
  • Randomized controlled trials (RCT)

Needs Sensing and Market Research

  • Solicitation of input from key region constituents
    • State interactions
      • Legislator

Priority Needs to Date

  • Educator staffing and quality
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Response to intervention
  • College Readiness, High School Redesign and dropout prevention
  • English Language Learning
  • Mathematics
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Rural Education

(Aside: No Ed-tech mention)

Rural Education

  • Spend 25% of dollars working on rural issues.
  • First report ever done was about rural.
  • 6 commonly used definitions of rurality and they greatly affect funding.
  • Research Ready Source – our reference desk service. Greatest level of interaction. Email or call us with a request and we have operators standing by.

Fast Response Projects

  • Focus on student outcomes
  • Project completed within 12 months
  • Existing data used to conduct research
  • 25% focus on rural education

Published Research Reports from REL Southwest

  • Alternative Assessments for Special Ed students
  • How the Government Defines Rural has Implications for Educ. Policies and Procedures
  • La Frontera: Student Acheivement in Texas Border and Nonborder Districts
  • Reviewing the Evidence on How Teacher Professional development affects student achievement
    • This report looked at over 1300 studies and winnowed it all down
    • 9 studies were found to meet the levels of evidence of rigor
  • A review of avoidable losses: High Stakes accountability and the dropout crisis

Expert Events

  • Response to Intervention: Tiers 1 & 2 in Practice
  • Deferred Teacher Compensation
  • English Language Learners
  • Research Literacy
  • Improving Adolescent Literacy
  • Turning Around Low-Performing Schools

Randomized Control Trials

  • Causal
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Conducted over 3–5 year period
Program effectiveness

Collaborative Strategic Reading

  • 5th grade ELL Social Studies
  • RCT – Classroom Level Random Assignment
  • 37 treatment/37 control classrooms
  • Teachers receive training and coaching on how to implement CSR program

Math Response to Intervention

  • Small group tutoring for At-risk 1st graders in Math
  • RCT – School Level Random Assignment
  • 40 treatment/40 control schools
  • 4 districts/ 4 states

Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR)

  • Corpus Christi, Tx – completed
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Houston Area

Math RTI

  • Houston (HISD), Tx
  • (More listed in other states but omitted in these notes)

Product Dissemination

  • District Administrator News: Measuring the Investment in PD
  • Policymaker News: Evidence of the Effect of PD on Student Achievement
  • PolicyMaker News: Aligning Science Assessment Standards
  • Educator News: La Frontera, Border and nonborder schools

IES Web site

What Works Clearinghouse

Practice Guides

Doing What Works

  • Review Research
  • Learn about effective practices-video and steps
  • Access planning templates
  • URL:

Content Assistance Centers

  • Content centers disseminate knowledge on scientifically based research on effective practice and research-based products in their area of specialty.
    • Center on Accountability and Assessment
    • Center on Teacher Quality
    • Center on Intruction
    • Center on Innvation and Improvement
    • National High School Center
  • URL:

Contact Info

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