With Rising Concerns About Dyslexia in Young Learners, Riverside Insights Introduces First-of-its Kind Playbook to Streamline Evaluations

ITASCA, Ill. – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today debuted a new Assessment Playbook focused on streamlining the evaluation of dyslexia, the most common learning disability, affecting 20% of the population. The new playbook makes assessments more effective and efficient by providing a recommended process for selective testing and a specific test list for querying the most salient features of dyslexia.

“The pandemic disrupted teaching and learning, and has led to a dramatic increase in the number of students who are referred for dyslexia evaluations by their teachers and/or parents. Consequently, evaluators must determine if a student’s reading difficulties are primarily a reflection of this disruption or an indication of a true reading disability,” said dyslexia expert Dr. Nancy Mather, a professor in the  College of Education, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona. “To address this issue and the increase in assessment referrals, evaluators need effective and efficient assessment tools to ensure that all students are accurately identified and get the help they need. In this way, children can be provided with systematic interventions prior to experiencing chronic reading difficulties.”

In the 2021-2022 school year, more than 20 states including California, Florida, Texas and Connecticut updated their dyslexia legislation, passing new codes and statutes to support more effective identification and intervention practices to address the increasing dyslexia referrals.…Read More

Educator retention hinges on these 3 things

Confidence in the education profession has dropped for the second year in a row, according to the 2022 Educator Confidence Report from learning technology company HMH. An annual barometer for how educators across the country are feeling about the state of teaching and learning, the report found that 76 percent of educators feel negatively about the state of the teaching profession in the U.S.

The Educator Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence (out of 100), continues to drop and now sits at 40.0—its lowest in the report’s history—down from 42.7 in 2021 and 49.0 in 2020.

According to HMH’s research, which surveyed more than 1,000 K-12 classroom teachers and 125+ administrators, educator retention hinges on immediate needs more than long-term developments, including improved salary and benefits, support for educator well-being and adequate funding for the classroom. Conducted between May and June in partnership with MarketCast, the report revealed three major themes for achieving success in the future: Connection, Community and Customization.…Read More

Research to Identify Effective Math Tutoring Designs for Underrepresented Students Begins in U.S. School Districts

Wappingers Falls, N.Y. — Research shows that high-impact tutoring can produce learning gains for a variety of students, but which tutoring designs are most effective from a cost and academic perspective? Three school districts across the country will begin data-driven experiments to answer that question and more as part of a research project led by Littera Education. The project, which is funded by a Gates Foundation grant, will use the Littera Tutoring Management System (TMS) in conjunction with assessment and curriculum from Renaissance.

Littera, which was founded expressly to address inequities in public education, launched the research project with the aim of improving the implementation of math tutoring programs that support students who are Black, Latino, or experiencing poverty. 

“The pandemic not only left students months behind in math, but it widened achievement gaps for historically disadvantaged students,” said Justin Serrano, CEO and co-founder of Littera. “Federal emergency relief funding has been a tremendous help in supporting learning recovery through high-impact tutoring, but what happens when that funding ends? This grant project will provide insights into key factors that impact student achievement so districts can design sustainable tutoring programs that are outcomes-driven and cost-effective.”…Read More

5 ways relationship mapping supports your students

When students have “positive and diverse” relationships, they are less likely to be at risk, more likely to boost their academic performance and persistence, and are also more likely to have access to a wider range professional opportunities, according to new research from the Clayton Christensen Institute.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, students without positive connections and relationships suffer when it comes to their well-being, academic success, and career potential. Schools often rely on existing faculty and staff to help grow students’ networks. And while mentoring and advising, volunteering, and new initiatives can positively impact students, these efforts are often institution-centric instead of student-centric–and they can burden staff who are already exhausted, along with placing added stress on tight budgets.

But according to Students’ Hidden Networks: Relationship Mapping as a Strategy to Build Asset-Based Pathways, taking an asset-based approach–leveraging the connections arising from people students already know–can help. A number of future-thinking groups are focused on equitably building students’ social capital and connections, and as they continue their work, helpful strategies and best practices have emerged for teachers and school leaders. The report is authored by Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.…Read More

Learning acceleration is best to move kids forward in math

As the nation works to collectively get students back on track after pandemic-era learning disruptions, new research provides promising evidence that learning acceleration can help all students catch up and move forward in math.

Powered by two years of pandemic-era math-learning data, researchers found when a student is consistently accelerated, they complete twice the amount of grade-level lessons and struggle less in their math learning.

“We decided to conduct this research as a way to deepen our support for teachers who are contending with more than two years of disruptions and are forced to make intervention decisions for each student, each time they struggle,” said Shalinee Sharma, Zearn’s CEO and co-founder. “This research gives us hope that with the right learning strategies students can catch-up and move forward with their math learning.”…Read More

Gaggle and AWS Collaborate to Create Mental Health Hotline that Connects K-12 Students to Trained Crisis Counselors, Anywhere, Anytime

DALLAS, TX – According to the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of teens reported having seriously considered suicide, and nine percent have attempted suicide. U.S. schools are doing their best to support students, but with staffing shortages and additional challenges exacerbated by the widespread disruption in teaching and learning, the education community needs solutions to help with recovery.

Gaggle, the leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology, is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to address the issue by providing in-the-moment support for students experiencing mental health crises including anxiety, depression, bullying, abuse, and suicide ideation. This effort combines the advantages of Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use, cost-effective, cloud contact center, with Gaggle’s ReachOut, a 24/7 mental health crisis hotline for schools. 

“We’re excited to work with AWS to provide convenient access to our mental health hotline to thousands of students nationwide,” said Jeff Patterson, CEO of Gaggle. “We created ReachOut to provide immediate support to students who not only need to be listened to but also advised by trained coaches who can handle crisis situations, hopefully preventing things from getting worse.” He continued, “At Gaggle, we want to do everything we can to help kids who are struggling. This new hotline is another tool we are offering to do just this.”…Read More

4 ways to address learning gaps for underserved students

While it is now clear that the pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning – especially for historically underserved students – we are still discovering the most effective ways to help students recover. It turns out that summertime has the potential to be a big part of the solution for some of our most marginalized students. 

Recent findings from NWEA’s research team show the power of summer learning in changing academic trajectories for students. More specifically, the studies reveal that students with disabilities, rural students, and English learners make academic gains at rates equal to or faster than their peers during the academic year but experience greater learning loss when they’re out of school in the summer. The backsliding is so significant that it causes persistent or growing achievement gaps over the course of these students’ academic careers.

The lesson for pandemic recovery is clear. Summer learning provides an underutilized opportunity to help students regain lost ground due to COVID-19 and ensure that achievement gaps do not continue to widen. It should also be part of longer-term strategies to advance learning for historically underserved students. When summer learning is not part of the instructional strategy, the research suggests that it may lead to persistent opportunity gaps and diminished school-year gains over time.  …Read More

New research shows slight rebound in post-pandemic learning

NWEA, a nonprofit, research and educational services organization serving K-12 students, has released new research highlighting the latest data on achievement during the pandemic.

Key findings from this third school year impacted by COVID-19 suggest early signs of rebounding offering some hope. However, results also underscore that recovery is still years away and there is a need for sustained urgency in addressing interrupted learning.

The study is the latest in a series of research from NWEA focused on tracking the impact of the pandemic on learning. It used data from over 8.3 million students who took the MAP Growth assessment in reading and math during the COVID-impacted years (spanning 2018-19 to 2021-22) and compared these data to an equivalent sized sample of students who tested before the pandemic (spanning 2015-16 to 2018-19). Key takeaways from this latest data bring both hope and concern.…Read More

Phenix City Schools Awarded Cognia STEM Certification

Phenix City, Ala. (August 4, 2022) — Phenix City Schools (PCS) are now STEM certified, becoming the largest and fourth district in the nation. Every school in the PCS system earned Cognia’s STEM Certification in June.

According to Cognia, its STEM Certification Program, “guides leaders with a specific framework and improvement process, culminating in recognition for programs that demonstrate a strong and effective STEM focus… These standards, which Cognia identified through robust research and extensive observations, focus on characteristics like problem-based experiential learning and the integration of
STEM thinking into a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”

PCS met and exceeded each of the standards and expectations set forth by Cognia. Cognia recognizes and certifies PCS’ STEM program:…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More