English Language Arts

Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools—A Report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Alliance for Excellent Education conducted a meta-analysis on 11 research-based practices aimed at improving the writing skills of fourth to 12th graders. The practices are: (1) writing strategies, (2) summarization, (3) collaborative writing, (4) specific product goals, (5) word processing, (6) sentence combining, (7) prewriting, (8) inquiry activities, (9) process writing approach, (10) study of models, and (11) writing for content learning. The results of the meta-analyses indicate that the practices examined had a large to medium effect size on students’ writing skills.

Reading Between the Lines: What the ACT Reveals About College Readiness in Reading

This report from ACT, Inc., recommends that considerable experience with complex reading texts in high school is the key to the development of college-level reading skills, and is the clearest differentiator of students who are ready for the post-secondary world of college and/or work versus those who are not. The report also defines the types of materials that need to be included in all high school courses, and offers recommendations to educators and policymakers on how to help increase the number of high school graduates who are ready for college-level reading.

Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work

ACT’s report recommends that schools strengthen their core high school curriculum to better prepare students for post-secondary success. Even with a high school diploma, many students leave high school without the necessary skills that will assist them in college or the workforce and research demonstrates that students at all levels of achievement benefit from taking rigorous courses.

Excellence in English in Middle and High School: How Teachers’ Professional Lives Support Student Achievement

The Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA) has been studying the characteristics of successful English programs in middle and high schools. This report discusses the findings of the first two years of their 5-year Excellence in English study and focuses on the educational practices that support student literacy as well as the characteristics of teachers' professional lives that accompany student achievement. The report addresses the issue of teachers' professional environments.

Five Years of READ 180 in Des Moines: Improving Literacy Among Middle School and High School Special Education Students

Over the first five years of implementation, more than 1,200 special education students have participated in Scholastic READ 180 in the Des Moines Independent Community School District. During this period, district personnel have produced annual reports on student outcomes and they have collected evidence that indicates that the program has been implemented reasonably well across the district. This report builds on the school district’s reports and provides additional analyses that take advantage of the full complement of five-year longitudinal data.

Beating the Odds: Teaching Middle and High School Students to Read and Write Well

This study investigated the characteristics of instruction that accompany student achievement in reading, writing, and English. It focused on English language arts programs in schools that have been trying to increase student performance, comparing those whose students perform higher than demographically comparable schools with schools whose scores are more typical. The study took place in four states and included 25 schools, 44 teachers, and 88 classes studied over a 2-year period each.

Out-of-School Time Programs: A Meta-analysis of Effects for At-risk Students

Schools and districts are adopting out-of-school-time (OST) programs such as after-school programs and summer schools to supplement the education of low-achieving students. However, research has painted a mixed picture of their effectiveness. To clarify OST impacts, this synthesis examined research on OST programs for assisting at-risk students in reading and/or mathematics. Researchers analyzed 35 OST studies that employed control or comparison groups and met other inclusion criteria.

Condition of Education 2011 Reports New Education Statistics

Today the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released The Condition of Education 2011, a Congressionally-mandated annual report that details all aspects of U.S. education, including early childhood education, student achievement, postsecondary education, teacher effectiveness, and school environment. There were a number of key findings related to high schools, their students, and implications for transitions to college, including:

National and Pilot State Results from 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Reading and Mathematics at Grade 12

Results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics at grade 12 were released on November 18th and show gains in both reading and mathematics performance.


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