This REL Appalachia blog summarizes a recent IES report, examining Algebra I course taking pathways and outcomes based on students’ performance on Virginia’s grade 5 statewide math test, which showed significant equity gaps. The blog further encourages systematic data analysis related to course taking access and student success and includes practical advice on accomplishing this, including ideas on specific data points to pull and use.
Students on the path toward dropping out of high school often exhibit signals that they are at risk well before they stop engaging in school. As school closures due to COVID-19 separate students from structured routines and educational supports, the number of disengaged students may continue to grow. Educators should be aware of and look for signs of disengagement and act to maximize engagement and supports for at-risk students during COVID-19 closures.
As part of their graduate education, in-service teachers identified an area of instructional focus, video recorded their classroom instruction at two intervals in a semester-long course, formed peer groups, and shared their videos for the purpose of obtaining feedback for professional growth. After the conclusion of the course, participants were contacted and presented with a summary of four benefits of the peer video review process, as identified in a recent professional article. Through online survey, participants were asked to share their perceptions of the peer video review experiences in the course and address any evidence related to the benefits raised in the professional article. Qualitative analysis revealed evidence of individual and collective benefits at personal and professional levels and consensus around the value of the experience, despite common apprehension about the vulnerability involved in sharing. Additionally, participants identified strengths of the video medium and provided suggestions for practical applications of peer video review in the field.
In a graduate education course geared toward developing reflective teaching practice in in-service teachers, backchannels, in the form of chat rooms, were employed in small groups to facilitate peer feedback during viewings of video recorded instruction. This study examined the nature and quality of peer feedback exchanged in the digital medium and gauged graduate students’ impressions of the technology, with potential for carryover into their professional practices in P–12 instruction. Results revealed that the backchannel was perceived as an easy-to-use tool that promoted rich, real-time, high-quality feedback and a space to collaborate and exchange ideas, while improving engagement. Backchannel comments had mostly positive or neutral tone, and took the form of observations, compliments, and helpful coaching prompts. Comments were overwhelmingly focused on instructional strategies, teacher behavior, and the learning environment. Participants saw value in utilizing backchannels in P–12 settings, but some expressed hesitation in using such tools with young students.
Opportunities to personalize teacher learning: Innovative approaches to bridge evaluation and professional development for continuous improvement
The following seven innovative approaches to personalize teacher learning are explored as possible mechanisms to bridge evaluation and professional development: individual or peer portfolios; National Board Certification; computer-mediated content management; peer evaluation and coaching; computer-mediated coaching; unconferences; and virtual learning communities (VLCs). Relevant research studies on these approaches are summarized, strengths and weaknesses are presented, and recommendations for consideration are discussed.
The term “blended learning” represents a wide spectrum of delivery opƟons, tools, and pedagogies, but conceptually refers to instrucƟon that is a mix or blending of tradiƟonal faceͲtoͲface (f2f) and online components. Horn & Staker (2011) define blended learning as “any Ɵme a student learns at least in part at a supervised brickͲandͲmortar locaƟon away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over Ɵme, place, path, and/ or pace” (p.3). Allen, Seaman, & GarreƩ (2007) further aƩempt to quanƟfy the divide, defining it as “between 30Ͳ79% of content delivered online with remaining porƟons delivered by f2f or other nonͲwebͲbased methods” (Watson, 2008). Lastly, Brew (2008) describes blended learning as “integraƟng online and f2f formats to create a more eīecƟve learning experience than either medium can produce alone.”