Paper Released by Reform Support Network Highlights Learning Sciences International Research Pilot with Pinellas County Schools

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The Reform Support Network, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, has released a paper featuring Learning Sciences International’s research pilot with Pinellas County Schools.

Learning Sciences International Research Pilot with Pinellas County Schools

Learning Sciences International Research Pilot with Pinellas County Schools

The Pinellas County pilot may represent a step forward in the field of measuring student growth due to its focus on instructional units and providing teachers with more timely feedback.

Data from a research pilot that Learning Sciences International (LSI) conducted in partnership with Pinellas County Schools in 2013–2014 is highlighted in a paper, Emerging Approaches to Measuring Student Growth, published by the Reform Support Network and distributed by the U.S. Department of Education.

The primary goal of the publication is to highlight innovative and emerging approaches to measuring student learning to help school districts and education agencies improve upon current growth-measurement practices in the context of teacher evaluation.

The paper describes how Pinellas County Schools (PCS) piloted a unit value-added model to give teachers more timely feedback, covering a broader range of grades and subject areas than traditional value-added models. LSI and PCS used student data derived from multiple short-duration assessments, administered twice a year, to consistently generate student growth scores. This enabled them to quickly provide teachers with feedback that they could use to adjust their instruction while the same students were still in their classrooms.

The paper explains that "the district wanted to provide student growth scores to teachers during the current school year, instead of over the summer when teachers can no longer intervene with students or adjust their instruction.” It goes on to note that "the Pinellas County pilot may represent a step forward in the field of measuring student growth due to its focus on instructional units and providing teachers with more timely feedback.”

LSI researchers presented preliminary data from the pilot at a convening in Washington, D.C. in February, 2015. They presented evidence that the observation ratings correlated with student growth scores and that the feedback given to teachers in the fall correlated with improved student outcomes and instruction. Encouraged by the results, PCS subsequently expanded the unit value-added model to include additional schools during the 2014–2015 school year.

Learning Sciences International, a leading provider of web-based and on-site solutions for professional development and performance management in education, supports schools and educational initiatives in 11 countries, 3 provinces in Canada, and 40 states in the United States of America. Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, the company currently serves 427 school districts; 5,575 school buildings; 311,000 teachers; and more than 4 million students in the United States alone.

To learn more about Learning Sciences International, contact the company at 877.411.7114 or visit LearningSciences.com. For more on Pinellas County Schools, contact Lisa Wolf, Public Information Officer, at 727.588.6501.

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James Hartnett
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