This report offers a framework for reviewing CoolThink@JC’s accomplishments to date and computational thinking education (CTE) initiatives in other jurisdictions.
CoolThink@JC aims to nurture students’ proactive use of technologies for social good from a young age, preparing them for a fast-changing digital future through hands-on, minds-on, and joyful learning experiences. After a successful pilot in 32 schools, CoolThink’s co-creators, led by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (HKJC), have undertaken an ambitious initiative to take CoolThink to scale within Hong Kong, supporting high-quality adoption in 200 primary schools and laying a foundation throughout the system for more widespread adoption. By demonstrating success at scale, CoolThink partners hope to create a new paradigm for CTE at the upper primary level that will serve as an international model for other cities and states.
To capture the lessons learned from this effort, HKJC has engaged SRI International to study the implementation of CoolThink at scale. This implementation study will:
Assess the extent to which schools’ adoption of CoolThink is consistent with the initiative’s design principles and sustained over time,
Identify the conditions that support or impede successful adoption at the classroom and school levels, and
Validate an implementation model that will help interested stakeholders to learn from CoolThink’s scaling experience.
CoolThink partners began scaling CoolThink in summer 2020, when a third cohort of 47 schools joined the first two pilot cohorts in teaching CoolThink lessons. Drawing on data from teacher and school leader surveys administered between November 2020 and January 2021, this baseline report sets the context for the rollout of CoolThink in Cohort 3 schools.
This report is the first in a series from an implementation study being conducted by SRI International (SRI). The purpose of the study is to help stakeholders understand how CoolThink is taking shape in classrooms, schools, and systems, and to offer models for other initiatives as they seek to go to scale. This baseline report, based on surveys of school leaders and teachers prior to their implementation of CoolThink, focuses on conditions for success.
High-quality STEM+CS curricula should not only incorporate our most current standards; they should also be equitable and inclusive. Curricula do not exist in a vacuum; teachers interpret curricula based on their own frameworks, and students experience curricula through their own lenses. This human interaction with curricula means that issues of equity and inclusion must be addressed; without doing so, some people will have greater access than others. But how well suited are established approaches to informing, designing, and implementing STEM+CS curricula to the diverse needs of diverse students? This whitepaper series proposes a novel approach to designing and/or modifying instructional materials that address diversity by purposefully and systemically integrating equity and inclusion principles at the onset of curriculum design.
This paper, the first in a series of three, describes why current approaches to designing STEM+CS curricula are inadequate; defines diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of curriculum design; and introduces The Equity and Inclusion Framework for Curriculum Design (EI-CD) approach for designing and adapting STEM+CS curriculum materials to meet the needs of diverse students. A second paper describes the EI-CD approach in detail, showing how the structure, coherence, and rigor of evidence-centered design is leveraged. The third and final paper explores how state and local education leaders can work with the EI-CD approach to make STEM+CS instruction more equitable and inclusive.
Beginning teachers enter a profession that places particularly challenging demands on novice practitioners. The New Teacher Center’s (NTC) induction model provides intensive, instructionally focused coaching to teachers during their first two years in the classroom, in-depth training for induction mentors, a suite of tools to guide coaching cycles, and capacity-building for district leaders to sustain induction mentoring programs after NTC’s direct involvement in the district ends.
With funding from a U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant, NTC tested strategies for scaling its validated induction model to 301 schools in five school districts serving high proportions of students of color and students from low-income households. NTC adapted its model to support district adoption at scale, including an option for deploying part-time, school-based mentors, reduced requirements for mentor training, and online training and video-sharing tools.
SRI’s evaluation of the implementation and impact of NTC’s i3 scale-up grant employed a cluster-randomized controlled trial design with schools as the unit of randomization. All first-year teachers in randomized schools were included in the study. Treatment teachers received induction supports from NTC-trained mentors, while control teachers received the supports provided by their districts under business-as-usual conditions.
The evaluation examined fidelity of implementation to the model as designed, the contrast between the induction supports in the treatment and control conditions, and impacts on three key outcomes: 1) teachers’ classroom practice as measured by the Danielson Framework for Teaching, 2) student achievement on state standardized assessments in mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) in grades 4 through 8, and 3) teacher retention within district.
NTC’s induction model was not implemented with adequate fidelity in any of the five sites according to thresholds set by NTC, and the mentoring received by NTC treatment teachers was not substantially different in key respects from the mentoring received by control teachers. There were no statistically significant impacts of the model as implemented on overall teacher practice, student achievement, or teacher retention.
Exploratory findings suggest conditions under which NTC might see a greater impact. There was a positive correlation between students’ mathematics achievement and mentoring that met NTC’s fidelity thresholds for frequency and duration, as well as between mathematics achievement and mentoring that met NTC’s expectations for instructional focus. NTC induction supports also had a positive impact on student ELA achievement in schools with higher proportions of historically underserved students.
These findings indicate the importance of ensuring high-quality implementation of a program. Under the i3 scale-up grant, NTC attempted to adapt its model for scaling, but the partner districts failed to fully implement key components and mediators as intended. There is evidence that the model has promise when fully implemented, particularly in schools with higher proportions of historically underserved students, but without further research this evidence is simply suggestive.
In 2017–18, New Leaders partnered with SRI Education to undertake a randomized control trial of the Emerging Leaders program in three sites: Arlington Independent School District and San Antonio Independent School District in Texas and Shelby County Schools in Tennessee. The Emerging Leaders program was implemented largely as designed and had a positive, statistically significant impact on participants’ data-driven instruction leadership knowledge. This large impact on leadership knowledge led to few measured impacts on the instructional practice of teachers on Emerging Leaders participants’ instructional teams. The program had positive impacts on the math achievement of some subgroups of students. Impacts on overall math achievement were mediated by (i.e., operated through) program impacts on participants’ leadership knowledge and by teachers’ participation on instructional teams. The Emerging Leaders program had no measured impact on students’ English language arts (ELA) achievement. Supplemental analyses suggest that these differences in student achievement impacts may have been driven by differences in how datadriven instruction was enacted by math- and ELA-focused instructional teams.
Evaluation of education connections: Supporting teachers with standards-based instruction for English learners in mainstream classrooms
The Center for Applied Linguistics developed an online site, Education Connections, to train and support teachers in integrating English language proficiency standards with content standards to deliver lessons that are both content rich and accessible to English learners. This report provides results from the implementation and impact studies.
A comprehensive model of teacher induction: Implementation and impact on teachers and students evaluation of the New Teacher Center’s i3 validation grant, final report
SRI Education’s evaluation of the New Teacher Center’s (NTC’s) Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant examined the impact of the NTC induction model on teacher practice and student achievement. To account for different local contexts and needs, the study used randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in two districts—Broward County Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools—and a quasi-experimental design in Grant Wood Area Education Agency, a consortium of districts in Iowa. In the RCT districts, the study found positive impacts of the induction model on student achievement in English language arts and mathematics. The study found no statistically significant differences between NTC-supported teachers and comparison teachers on teacher practice measures or on teacher retention into their third year of teaching.
However, the high implementation fidelity levels and contrasts in induction experiences between treatment and comparison teachers indicate that the NTC induction model can be implemented well in a range of district contexts.