Keeping up with hot topics

By Learning Forward
April 2018
Vol. 39 No. 2


Reaching Further and Learning More? Evaluating Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture Initiative
Public Impact, January 2018

In this working paper, Public Impact explores the impact of its Opportunity Culture initiative, which provides a suite of models aimed at extending the reach of highly effective teachers. Using administrative data from three partner school districts, it finds

that students scored higher in math in a multiclassroom leadership model, in which a master teacher with demonstrated effectiveness leads and coaches a team of teachers. In reading, results are mixed but there are positive and significant learning gains for students taught by team teachers.


Developing Great Subject Teaching: Rapid Evidence Review of Subject-Specific Continuing Professional Development in the UK
Wellcome Trust, February 2018

Teachers in England generally do less subject-specific continuing professional development than their colleagues in high-performing countries.  This review describes how some schools have thrived through prioritizing subject-specific continuous professional development and highlights the role senior leaders play in this.

It also describes the challenges school leaders and teachers face in identifying and embedding high-quality continuous professional development, including financial constraints, teacher workload, the need to prioritize external accountability requirements, and the move to school-led improvement.

Addressing these issues may change the culture of low expectations surrounding continuous professional development, leading to improved teacher practice and better outcomes for students.


10 Principles for Building a High-Quality System of Assessments
Alliance for Excellent Education, 2018

High-quality, comprehensive, and timely information about what students know and can do is critical to ensuring that schools and families can prepare all students for success in school, college, careers, and life.

A high-quality system of assessments can facilitate this by providing aligned and coherent information from a variety of assessments about students’ college and career readiness — maximizing efficiency while reducing duplication, in a timely and rich enough manner to inform instruction, student self-direction in learning, and accountability.

The 10 principles, endorsed by 19 organizations and experts from the field, provide a comprehensive road map for school leaders to improve current assessments and systems, focus on equity, and develop a learner’s academic proficiency, career skills, and civic aptitude.


Developing a Professional Learning System for Adults in Service of Student Learning
The Aspen Institute, February 2018

For students to become powerful learners, their teachers must engage in powerful learning themselves. Yet the professional learning many teachers experience is often disconnected from the curriculum, specific students and their learning needs, and their daily work.

What’s needed is a tightly connected systems focus on continually increasing the knowledge and skills of teachers in their context, with their colleagues, as central to improving student learning. At its heart, this is an equity issue, ensuring that all students in a system have equal access to rich, high-quality learning.

The framework presented in this report attempts to make visible the coordinated, multiple parts of a system needed to support deep, effective professional learning for adults so that they can improve student learning outcomes.

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