New Research-August 2018

New Research

Principal Attrition and Mobility

Principals are satisfied with their school (94%), but a quarter would leave if they got a higher paying job according to the 2016-2017 Principal Follow-Up Survey (PFS), which surveys a nationally representative sample of K-12 schools and is administered periodically by the National Center for Education Statistics. About 82% of principals remained at their school across the two school years, while 6% moved to a different school and 10% left the profession. Principals in charter schools were slightly more likely to leave the profession (~14%),but were less likely to switch schools across years. The data also document the demographic profiles of principals. Much like the teaching profession, principals are more likely to be White (79%; 10% are Black and 8% are Latino) and women (54%). The principalship is a demanding position, 60% reported spending 60 or more hours a week on school-related work.

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The Impact of Growth Mindset Interventions

An analysis of 10 separate, rigorous, experimental studies found that teaching students about neuroplasticity- the ability of the brain to make new neural connections as a result of experience- lead to improved motivation. Interestingly, teaching about growth mindset was particularly useful for students at high risk of developing a fixed mindset and was also stronger for math. Other research has not been as conclusive with studies showing little to no effect on grade point average or SAT scores following mindset interventions.

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High School Students Aren’t Interested in Teaching

During a national administration of the ACT, students were asked about their interest in teaching and what about the profession would need to change for more students to be interested. Only about 5% of those surveyed were interested in teaching. Of the students who said they may want to teach almost 75% said an increase in pay would increase their interest. Over the last decade, the interest in teaching has declined. It has been ranked four and for the last several years, it has ranked eight among those surveyed. Health sciences (43%), business (11%), engineering (9%) and social sciences (9%) top the list.

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Closing Achievement Gaps in Low-Poverty and Diverse Schools

A new report from Public Impact looks at why achievement gaps exist in diverse schools and what can be done to improve student outcomes. While students of color or poor students in wealthier schools tend to outperform students in schools with more concentrated poverty, they continue to lag behind their white or wealthier peers at middle-class schools according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. After reviewing more than 150 studies, the authors suggest that interventions need to be multifaceted as the causes of the achievement gap are multidimensional. Educators need to tackle the instructional, emotional and practical needs of students, their families, and educators. The authors also point out that districts need to consider both what strategies to pursue and how to pursue those strategies to ensure positive outcomes.

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