Research Reports & Findings

Research Reports & Findings

Research maximizes learning because questions are generated together by district leaders and researchers. Throughout our CORE network, educators get quick results to improve student outcomes. The findings below showcase how real-time, research-based feedback is improving student learning; informing policy; and providing breakthrough solutions to inform continuous improvement in the CORE Districts and beyond.

Recent Findings

Using Surveys of Students’ Social-Emotional Skills and School Climate for Accountability and Continuous Improvement

This report and accompanying policy brief show that there is good reason to pursue the measurement of social-emotional learning (SEL) and school culture/climate (CC) as a way to better understand student and school performance. Using data from California’s CORE districts, we show that SEL and CC measures demonstrate reliability and validity, distinguish between schools, are related to other academic and non-academic measures, and also illuminate dimensions of student achievement that go beyond traditional indicators. We also show how the SEL and CC measures can be used to identify areas of improvement within schools, such as identifying subgroup gaps or differences in reports between various respondent groups.

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Local Control in Action: Learning from the CORE Districts’ Focus on Measurement, Capacity Building, and Shared Accountability

This study examines the major shift in California and across the nation in school accountability policy. As California supports districts statewide to embark on this improvement journey, there are important lessons to be learned from the CORE districts, six of which developed an innovative accountability system under a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The CORE districts are early adopters of the new accountability paradigm: local leaders using multiple measures of school performance and working together to figure out collectively what works best for struggling schools.

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Identity crisis: Multiple measures and the identification of schools under ESSA

Using the innovative measurement system developed by the CORE Districts in California, the authors explore how schools can be identified for support and improvement using a multiple measures framework. They show that 1) Different academic indicators measure very different aspects of school performance, suggesting that states should be allowed and encouraged to make full use of multiple measures to identify schools in the way they see fit instead of reporting a summative rating; 2) The ESSA regulations effectively restrict the weighting of the non-academic “School Quality and Student Success” indicators to zero, which is not in the spirit of the expanded measurement; and 3) The majority of schools will be identified for targeted support under the current regulations, suggesting the need for a clarification in federal policy.

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Expanding the Definition of Student Success

This Transforming Education case study provides an overview of the CORE Districts’ groundbreaking data system and the ways in which this system has been operationalized in practice. We look in depth at how social-emotional competencies—a key component of the system—were prioritized and assessed. We conclude with lessons learned about the CORE Districts’ innovative system that can inform other next-generation assessment and continuous improvement efforts, including those catalyzed by ESSA.

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