Improving Specialized Services for Specific Student Populations

 

There is both a moral imperative and federal mandate to provide students who require specialized services, such as English language learners and students with disabilities, equal access to instruction. Yet, in many cases, these groups of students are not receiving the supports they need to succeed academically.  WEPC researchers leverage large-scale administrative datasets and rigorous causal research designs to study the effects of policies and evaluate the efficacy of commonly used practices targeted for English learners, students with disabilities, and others who benefit from targeted supports. 

 

 

Teacher working with students

Latest Projects

Examining the Supply of New Special Educators

Examining the Supply of New Special Educators

Authors: Tuan D. Nguyen, Elizabeth Bettini, Allison F. Gilmour, Christopher Redding Project Summary Special education teacher shortages have been a consistent problem around the U.S. for decades and have only grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, reports of declining interest in special education among prospective teachers are especially concerning. The authors of this study examined the supply of new special education teachers into the workforce and the institutions...

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Deconstructing the EL Gap

Deconstructing the EL Gap

Authors: Marcus A. Winters & Yasuko Kanno Project SummaryAcross U.S. schools, students classified as English learners (ELs) tend to achieve lower educational outcomes than their non-EL peers. What explains these differences? Are they a product of ELs’ developing English language proficiency and/or the services they receive at school, or do other factors play a role? The authors of this study attempt to deconstruct the "EL gap" in Massachusetts by examining the extent to which differences...

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Using Classroom Observations in the Evaluation of Special Education Teachers

Using Classroom Observations in the Evaluation of Special Education Teachers

Authors: Nathan D. Jones, Courtney A. Bell, Mary Brownell, Yi Qi, David Peyton, Daisy Pua, Melissa Fowler, Steven Holtzman Project Summary While teacher evaluation systems and policies have evolved nationwide during the past decade, the use of structured classroom observation tools remains nearly universal. This paper examines one of the most popular observation systems in the country—Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (FFT)—and asks the question: “How well do common observation...

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The Effect of Charter Schooling on Student Mobility and Classification Status

The Effect of Charter Schooling on Student Mobility and Classification Status

Authors: Allison Gilmour, Colin Shanks, & Marcus A. Winters Project SummaryThe characteristics of students enrolled in charter schools often differ from those of surrounding traditional public schools. Anecdotes of charter schools inappropriately discouraging unwanted students from applying (“cream skimming”) or encouraging struggling students to leave for a different school (“pushing out”) have led to the concern that such “enrollment gaps” are caused by charter schools systematically...

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Professional Development at Scale: The Causal Effect of Obtaining an SEI Endorsement Under Massachusetts’s RETELL Initiative

Professional Development at Scale: The Causal Effect of Obtaining an SEI Endorsement Under Massachusetts’s RETELL Initiative

Authors: Jesse Bruhn, Nathan Jones, Yasuko Kanno, & Marcus A. Winters This project was funded by a generous grant from the William T. Grant Foundation.  Project Summary English learners (ELs) are among the most rapidly-growing and lowest-performing student groups in American public schools. Lack of access to teachers who have been trained to serve their specific needs is one potential explanation for ELs’ unequal educational outcomes relative to non-EL students. Jesse Bruhn, Nathan Jones,...

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Are Two Teachers Better than One? The Effect of Co-Teaching on Students with and without Disabilities

Are Two Teachers Better than One? The Effect of Co-Teaching on Students with and without Disabilities

Authors: Nathan Jones & Marcus A. Winters Project SummaryCo-teaching has become a common strategy for educating students with disabilities in inclusive environments. It involves a general education teacher and a special education teacher working together to teach students with and without dis­abilities in a single classroom. Co-teaching is meant to give students with disabilities access to both the general education curriculum and the specially designed instruc­tion outlined in their...

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