Effective Practices Identification Project
This multi-phase project will use the SLDS to identify schools that are most effective at reducing achievement disparities among children of different racial/ethnic or economic backgrounds, engage in qualitative research within the identified schools to inform the development of a school/student survey instrument, and develop and field said instrument to enrich our capacity to understand patterns of practice in schools and promote those associated with reduced equity gaps.
Relationship between Economic and Social Factors and Educational Outcomes
As DPI’s focus is on eliminating equity gaps for economically disadvantaged students, it is critical to go beyond the simple binary indicator of free and reduced lunch eligibility and understand the impact of poverty in more nuanced ways. Using a multi-agency data core to quantify a number of family resources and challenges, IRP will investigate factors that contribute to differences in educational outcomes at the student- and school-level. This will not only afford a more nuanced understanding of how economic disadvantage affects achievement, it will also demonstrate the usefulness of combining administrative data across state agencies to inform policy and practice.
Wisconsin Readiness Equity Network
This project will explore strategies to reduce disparities in the educational opportunities, skills, knowledge and behaviors of children of different racial/ethnic origins at kindergarten entry. Four- and five-year-old kindergarten teachers employed by urban school districts, child care centers and Head Start will convene with researchers to take stock of kindergarten workforce development in the state, discuss problems of instructional practice common across districts and education contexts, and develop a shared agenda around research and practice in 4K through 5K.
Personalization in Practice - Networked Improvement Communities
This project focuses on the personalized learning practice of conferring: regular, goal-oriented teacher-student conversations about learning and progress. The PiP/NIC research track investigates, in part, what conferring looks like in classrooms, what teachers and students talk about when they confer, and how conferring is fit into teacher’s existing schedules. The goal for this research is to identify best practices in conferring within a personalized learning environment.
Evaluation Capacity Building Activities
Although Wisconsin’s SLDS is a powerful resource for practitioner-initiated inquiry, not all school districts in Wisconsin have the evaluation expertise necessary to capitalize on the opportunities the SLDS offers for improving practices in the service of productivity and equity. To assist these districts, our partners at WEC have developed an interactive “Evaluation 101 seminar that describes basic program evaluation concepts, highlights key steps in the evaluation process (for example, how to create a logic model and how to develop good research questions to guide evaluation), and discusses the utility of data from the SLDS and other sources to inform research questions. In addition, WEC is making available to districts a full-range of high-quality evaluation support services, from simple phone conversations on a particular topic, to comprehensive evaluations on a program or initiative of the district’s choosing.
Academic Parent/Teacher Team (APTT) Initiative Evaluation
APTT is a classroom-based, teacher-led, data-driven family engagement model focused on collaborating with families to support children’s academic goals by linking home and school learning. WEC’s external evaluation of the APTT initiative will investigate: patterns of program participation among key stakeholder groups, stakeholder perceptions of program success and challenges of implementation, and evidence of impact on student engagement and achievement.
Wisconsin Education Research Advisory Council
The Wisconsin Education Research Advisory Council (WERAC) is charged with guiding the development of DPI’s research agenda around the most critical issues facing the Wisconsin K-12 educational system, fostering collaboration among stakeholders in research, and aiding in the dissemination of research results so they may inform practice. In addition, WERAC will report to the Superintendent and the membership on a series of important researcher-practitioner interactions, making these interactions more visible to researchers, practitioners and the public, and disseminating useful tools and research. By allowing for bi-directional communication between researchers and practitioners, WERAC will maximize the impact of investigator-initiated research and enable the success of practitioner-initiated inquiry conducted under the SLDS grant.