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Closing the Achievement Gap for Economically Disadvantaged Students? Analyzing Change Since No Child Left Behind Using State Assessments and the National Assessment of Educational Progress

A critical state-level indicator of progress in public education is student achievement annual performance and change over time. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has been very active in tracking and reporting on student achievement results and using state assessment scores and other data to analyze achievement trends. A central goal of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was to close the gap in student achievement between students from different social and economic backgrounds.

The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency A Study of 16,000 Sixth through Ninth Grade Classrooms

In the study, The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency, authors analyze Tripod student survey data from 16,000 sixth to ninth grade classrooms during the 2013-14 school year. The report reveals how distinct components of teaching help students become more conscientious, more focused on preparing for the future, and more convinced that smart is something that you become by working hard.

Avoid Simple Solutions and Quick Fixes: Lessons Learned from a Comprehensive Districtwide Approach to Improving Conditions for Learning

Urban schools are often viewed as disorderly and unsafe and often have poor conditions for learning that affect student attendance, behavior, achievement, and safety. These conditions include the experience of emotional and physical safety, connectedness to and support from caring adults and peers, peer social and emotional competence, and academic engagement and challenge. Although connectedness and appropriate mental health services can improve safety as well as conditions for learning, many school districts focus on control through hardware and security officers.

Solution-Finding Report: Good Instruction and Decreased Suspensions and Expulsions

This Solution-Finding Report provides information, requested by a State Department for any research “that demonstrates that good instruction (including relationships and high expectations) is a preventive measure or shows a correlation of a decrease in suspensions and expulsions.” The following articles range from somewhat anecdotal (though with useful information) to those with more scientific rigor. Of special note are: Decker, Dona, & Christenson, 2007; Gregory, Cornell, & Fan, 2011; Gregory & Ripski, 2008; Hinojosa, 2008; and REL Northwest, 2012.

Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?

The main body of this report documents gross disparities in the use of out-of-school suspension experienced by students with disabilities and those from historically disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and gender subgroups. The egregious disparities revealed in the pages that follow transform concerns about educational policy that allows frequent disciplinary removal into a profound matter of civil rights and social justice. This implicates the potentially unlawful denial of educational opportunity and resultant disparate impact on students in numerous districts across the country.

Advancing School Discipline Reform

Published by the National Association of State Boards of Education in Education Leaders Report, this report focuses on how to address students’ behavioral issues while enabling them to succeed. It describes current discipline practice—which is often reactive, punitive, and exclusionary—and its impact on students, achievement, and school climate. The report then reviews alternatives and shows what states can do to advance discipline reform. Each section includes questions that state boards can address in partnership with key stakeholders and using related resources.

My Brother's Keeper Task Force: One Year Prorgress Report to the President

This one-year progress report submitted to the President identifies comprehensive, forward-looking recommendations to help ensure that no young person is left behind and that all have the tools to achieve. The strategies focus on addressing the barriers to the path into the middle class and to social mobility more broadly. They include an emphasis on implementing policies to address disparities, developing strong communities that commit to nurturing and mentoring our youth, and encouraging unique public-private collaborations.

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