Research published by the RAND Corporation assesses the impact of the New York City Community Schools initiative (NYC-CS) on outcomes related to attendance, achievement, pupil behaviour, and school climate and culture.
Launched in 2014, the NYC-CS is a strategy to organise resources in schools and provide various services to address the comprehensive needs of pupils, families, and communities through collaboration with community agencies and local government. As part of the study, William R Johnston and colleagues assessed the effects of NYC-CS during the 2017–2018 school year to determine whether pupils were performing better than they would be had their schools not been designated as Community Schools, using average pupil outcomes in each school.
Among the key findings, the results indicate that NYC-CS had positive effects on most of the outcomes examined. In particular, NYC-CS had a positive impact on attendance for pupils in all grades, and these effects appeared to be increasing over time. There was also evidence that NYC-CS led to a reduction in disciplinary incidents for elementary and middle school pupils (Years 1–9) but not for high school students (Years 10–13).
Source: Illustrating the promise of Community Schools: An
assessment of the impact of the New York City Community Schools initiative
(January 2020), Rand Corporation, RR-3245-NYCCEO
Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT) is a
classroom programme designed to increase academic, social and behavioural
success for pupils. The programme emphasises group contingencies and
self-management. It teaches positive social skills, uses teacher praise and
group points for good behaviour, incorporates goal setting and provides
In order to build CW-FIT’s research base, a randomised controlled trial was carried out over four years, designed to replicate one site’s original study by adding two more research groups and to include investigators who were not the developers of the programme.
Seven elementary (primary) schools in three US states participated. Pupils were in grades K–6 (Years 1–7), 55% were of minority ethnicities, and 69% received free- or reduced-price school meals. Within each school were experimental and control classes – 83 experimental and 74 control in total. Baseline data collection included measures of pupil time on-task and teacher use of reinforcement during business-as-usual conditions for two to three weeks. At baseline, no teacher was observed using token rewards or group rewards. During the study, control group teachers received a two-hour training in general classroom management and were referred to district protocol when pupil behaviour problems occurred. Experimental group teachers implemented CW-FIT during one targeted period three to five times per week from October to March. During CW-FIT sessions, after teaching pupils the appropriate way to get attention, follow directions, and ignore inappropriate behaviour, the teacher set a timer at two to five minute intervals, awarding a point to teams with all members behaving at that moment. At the end of class, awards were given to all team members who met specific goals.
At the end
of the study, results favoured the CW-FIT group. On-task behaviour for CW-FIT pupils
increased from 55% to 80%, while the control group remained close to baseline
at 58%. Teacher classroom management behaviours increased from 52% to 86% for
the CW-FIT group, but remained at 55% for the control group. These results are
reflective of earlier studies’ findings.
Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT): student and teacher outcomes from
a multisite randomized replication trial (September 2018), The Elementary School Journal 119, no. 1
The results of a randomised controlled trial of a whole-school intervention designed to build a supportive school environment and reduce bullying found that it did not produce significant changes in the treatment schools.
The study, published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence, evaluated the Restorative Practices Intervention to assess the extent of implementation and changes in school connectedness, positive developmental outcomes, and bullying. The intervention involves training all school staff on how to carry out 11 restorative practices (eg, communication approaches that aim to build stronger bonds among leadership, staff, and pupils such as using “I” statements, encouraging pupils to express their feelings).
For the randomised
controlled trial, Joie Acosta and colleagues collected baseline and two-year
post survey data from pupils in grades 6 and 7 (Years 7 and 8) at 14 US middle
schools. Schools were randomised so that seven schools received the
Restorative Practices Intervention and seven did not.
The results of the study suggest that the intervention did
not produce any significant changes in the treatment schools. Intervention
schools did not report more school connectedness, better school climate, more
positive peer relationships, or less victimisation. Indeed, the Restorative
Practices Intervention only delivered a modest amount of restorative experiences,
and not much different from the amount control schools received.
However, pupils’ self-reported experience with restorative
practices significantly predicted improved school climate and connectedness,
peer attachment and social skills, and reduced cyberbullying victimisation. The
researchers conclude that, while more work is needed on how interventions can
reliably produce restorative experiences, this study suggests that the
restorative model can be useful in promoting positive behaviours and addressing
of a whole-school change intervention: findings from a two-year cluster-randomized
trial of the restorative practices intervention (March 2019), Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48
A study published in the American Educational Research Journal compares reading processes and outcomes for pupils when reading a text from paper with the same text delivered on a touchscreen laptop.
Amanda P Goodwin and colleagues conducted the study with 371
pupils in grades 5–8 (Years 6–9) from three schools in an urban district in the
southeastern US. Pupils were randomly assigned to two conditions: Condition A
read the first section of a text on paper, and the second half digitally,
whereas pupils in Condition B read the first part digitally and the second part
on paper. The content in both conditions was identical. When reading on paper, pupils
had access to highlighters, pens and sticky notes; when reading digitally, they
had access to digital highlighters, annotating and dictionaries.
Results suggest that pupils highlight and annotate more when reading on paper vs. digital text. Also, reading on paper vs. digitally was slightly supportive of reading comprehension for the longer sections of text, although effect sizes were very small (odds ratio of 1.077).
Source: Digital versus
paper reading processes and links to comprehension for middle school students (December
209), American Educational Research
A report from the Institute of Education Sciences has found that an intensive approach to providing support for using pupil data to inform teaching did not improve pupil achievement, perhaps because the approach did not change teachers’ use of data or their reported classroom practices.
For the study, researchers recruited 102 elementary
(primary) schools from 12 US districts. Schools were randomly assigned to
either a treatment or control group. Treatment schools received funding for a
half-time data coach of their choosing, as well as intensive professional
development for coaches and school leaders on helping teachers use pupil data
to inform their teaching. The control schools received no additional funding
for a data coach or professional development. Impacts on teacher and pupil
outcomes were measured after an 18-month
The results suggest that despite the additional resources,
teachers in the treatment schools did not increase how often they used data or
change their teaching practices in response to that data. Similar percentages
of teachers in treatment and control schools reported data-related activities,
such as analysing data to understand pupil needs. The intervention also had no
effect on pupil achievement. On average, pupils in treatment and control
schools had similar achievement in maths and English.
of support for using student data to inform teachers’ instruction (September
2019), Institute of Education Sciences,
US Department of Education. NCEE 2019-4008
Out-of-school suspensions have typically been used as punishment for pupils who are truant (absent from school without parental consent) or chronically absent (missing 10% or more of school days). Given that the goal is to keep pupils in school and academically engaged, a few US states have banned this practice. A recent JESPAR article examined the effects of this ban on absence rates in Arkansas, which established a law in 2013 banning out-of-school suspensions. The state offered no training to schools, and each was left to make its own way with the policy change. Although out-of-school suspensions were banned, other punishments were allowed to continue, including in-school suspension, which takes a pupil out of the regular classroom for a time but allows them to continue their work elsewhere.
data from all Arkansas state
schools, researchers compared the attendance of truant and non-truant pupils between 2012–13 (pre-policy) and 2013–14
(post-policy) to see if there were any dramatic changes in attendance for
truant pupils that did not occur with non-truant pupils. Subjects were limited
to grades 7–12 (Years 8–13), in which 96% of truancy occurs.
found that compliance with the law was low, particularly in
disadvantaged schools, with only a third of all schools complying. Among
schools that did comply, there was no evidence of change in student behaviour
after the policy went into effect. Three key findings were:
Policy alone is not enough to change behaviour—implementation
of a policy must be overseen and reinforced.
When policies change, schools must be evaluated
regarding whether their resources are sufficient to enforce this change, or
whether they need support or training in order to be able to comply.
High-level policy changes need to be followed by
quantitative and qualitative evaluation to assess key outcomes and compliance.
In addition, researchers reflected that, perhaps because
there was still other punishment, truancy continued. They stated that
punishment does not address the root causes as to why pupils are truant, and
that pupil outcomes might not
change if schools simply replace out-of-school suspensions with other types of
Source: Discipline reform: The impact of a statewide
ban on suspensions for truancy (January 2019), Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), Volume 24,