State K-12 Assessments Evaluated for Readiness: Jobs for the Future posts a report analyzing the historical development of education assessments. The report found that existing assessments do not account for the fact that students more regularly retain information when provided with context or for the increasing importance of college readiness skills. The report recommends that states develop assessments to measure skills and knowledge in subject areas beyond reading and mathematics, create clear college- and career-ready standards, and use lessons learned to improve new statewide assessment systems.
Educational Service Agencies Increase Coordination: The ED Institute of Education Sciences releases a report analyzing the benefits of education service agencies (ESAs) in boosting education coordination and services. ESAs are public agencies that offer education services and support to schools and school districts. The report specifically surveyed the employees of an ESA in Washington on how agencies there managed the services provided. The report found: funding of services is almost evenly divided between instructional and non-instructional programs; the number of districts served and the expenditure per district vary substantially across ESDs; and the most important or needed services do not always receive the most funding.
Mismatch Found between Family Support, Target Populations: The Child Trends research center releases a report recommending strategies for improved parental engagement in family support programs. Family support programs work to engage parents in activities such as parental skills classes to improve child outcomes. The report reviewed available research to identify barriers practitioners face in increasing parental engagement. The report found there was often a mismatch between a program’s approach and the cultural values and beliefs of the target population. The report recommends fostering a collaborative approach for program design, partnering with organizations that have established reputations within the target communities, and offering a variety of opportunities for engagement.
Family Income Predicts Post-Secondary Attendance Rates: The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center releases its annual High School Benchmarks report. The report, which focuses on the transition between high school and college, separates data based on urban density, percentage of minority students, and family income for high schools across the country. The report found the strongest indicator of whether or not a student attends college is whether or not their high school was predominantly made up of students from low-income families. The report also included school-level data that states and districts can use to compare college attendance rates with other high schools that have similar populations.