LEARN conducts studies, provides technical support, and offers professional development in K-12 environments. Given the ethnic, linguistic and socio-economic diversity in the state of Colorado, we focus our attention on the urban and surrounding diverse communities in which the university resides.
LEARN is available to provide technical assistance to central administrators in the following areas:
- Assist with development and technical validation of district benchmark assessments
Along a continuum of sensitivity to the enacted curriculum, interim or benchmark assessments fall between formative classroom assessment and CSAP. LEARN is able to offer assistance to your district whether it has used interim assessments for years or is beginning to explore them. LEARN can perform statistical analyses to examine relationships among assessments the district currently uses. LEARN can assist the district wanting to develop customized benchmark assessments. LEARN can also provide guidance to districts wanting to compare and contrast the interim assessments currently on the market.
- Coach district staff using a framework to allow them to make sound decisions about the purchase of assessment and curriculum materials and services
Curriculum materials, assessments, and consultant services are marketed frequently with statements about being "research-based" and practitioners may not be well-positioned to adequately judge the quality of that research for a variety of reasons. We will present district staff with a framework to assist them when making those judgments. Our framework addresses the topics of research claims (effects) and conditions under which the research was conducted. It provides a set of questions that you/your review committee can prioritize (weight), augment, and use to score opportunities. Examples of our questions include: what are the goals of this curriculum? Are these curriculum goals important? What was the effect size for students using this "treatment"? What effects does the curriculum have on teachers? How similar is the research context to your context? What context supports might you need? (drawn from Clements, 2007)
- Expand the repertoire of analytic approaches applied to district datasets to answer questions about student growth and program effectiveness
Student growth can be viewed from many perspectives, one of which is the Colorado growth model. You may want to triangulate state-determined growth with indicators from other measures that your district uses. If you use NWEA, it is possible for us to access data from millions of other students and describe growth. We can help you identify growth indicators tailored to the unique measures available in your district. We base the strength of this work on using multiple indicators over time.
- Basic and advanced statistical analysis of existing databases
We assist districts with organizing, accessing and analyzing student achievement data from a variety of sources. Raw data files can be used to link student achievement across years and across data sources. Analysis services range from basic descriptive statistics to advanced hypothesis testing involving multiple variables.
- Provide professional learning opportunities for executive leadership teams and school boards about the appropriate use of assessment results and program evaluation
Often, school board members and district executive leaders need support to make meaningful interpretations from assessment results. LEARN can provide learning opportunities for board members and executives regarding meaningful and appropriate use of CSAP, district assessment results, and other data. School board members and district executive leaders likely want to know more about the impact of educational programs and may want guidance initiating those studies. LEARN can provide development for board members and executives regarding evaluating the effectiveness of programs.
- Provide training and support to district staff involved in internal program evaluation activities
Capacity of district staff to carry out program evaluations will be improved. LEARN will provide district staff with the tools needed to measure the success of district educational programs, as well as provide staff with support to make and implement recommendations to improve programs. Using a variety of models, we will address planning, data collection, data analyses, making recommendations and issues of conflict of interest.
- Design perception surveys (staff, student, parent, and/or community) and analyze survey results
LEARN will provide survey development and analysis services to build the capacity of district staff or relieve staff of this work. We will develop surveys from scratch or revise existing instruments. Online surveys will be promoted, but paper and pencil surveys can be designed. Validity and reliability of surveys will be addressed.
- Guide district-initiated research efforts and development of district procedures to screen external research requests
Districts often initiate internal research studies and are subject to external requests for permission to conduct research, and may benefit from guidance about what constitutes good research. LEARN staff will provide a framework for conducting good research that can be applied to designing internal studies and reviewing external research approval requests.
- Consult with staff regarding district-initiated contracts and grants that involve assessment, curriculum, and instruction
LEARN is willing to partner with districts to pursue research grants related to assessment, curriculum, and instruction. Our staff is available to participate with district staff in grant writing activities.