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Hanover Research: K-12 Research trends across 2013


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Hanover Research conducted an analysis of research projects completed for 230+ K-12 organizations across 2013, and what their focus will be on in 2014. Learn how K-12 organization are finding solutions to challenges they face in the education sector via comprehensive research. Visit to access the full-size PDF.

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Hanover Research: K-12 Research trends across 2013

  1. 1. K-12 Education Market Leadership A look at how K-12 organizations used research across 2013, and what their focus will be on in 2014
  2. 2. Introduction WELCOME TO THE FIRST EDITION OF K-12 EDUCATION MARKET LEADERSHIP, Hanover Research’s annual review of our research findings and trends. Based on an analysis of projects completed for 230+ K12 organizations across 2013, this report will provide you with insights into how your peers are finding solutions to challenges they face in the education sector via smart and comprehensive research. K-12 THEMES OF 2013 Topics that dominated K-12 research in 2013 and the factors tied to their demand FUTURE TRENDS IN K-12 EDUCATION What you will be seeing more of in K-12 in the coming years INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP PROFILES Snapshots of unique ways in which segments within K-12 used research BEST PRACTICES FOR EXECUTING RESEARCH Six basic steps for effective program evaluation planning HANOVER RESEARCH-2013 IN REVIEW Major Hanover Research developments for K-12 in 2013 WE RECOMMEND K-12 market leaders we are following on social media
  3. 3. K-12 RESEARCH THEMES OF 2013 To identify the topics that were most critical in 2013, we analyzed the 700+ projects completed for our K-12 partners across the year. 1. Personnel Performance Evaluations Connected to many of the other common research topics in its focus on evaluation, evaluating the performance of school personnel was a commonly discussed research theme. The increased scrutiny of personnel performance evaluations seen throughout 2013 includes new evaluations for principals, teachers, and non-instructional staff. Often driven by legislation tied to multimetric evaluations such as peer reviews and classroom observations, and often connected to student achievement results, personnel performance evaluations were a prevalent and often divisive topic within the field. As a component of this topic, research on the provision of professional development opportunities had several major strands this year including how to prepare teachers for leadership roles, providing professional development to teachers, and supporting teachers during the Common Core implementation. 2. Technology Integration Related to Common Core The upcoming implementation of the Common Core standards in states across the country has been a hot research topic, as districts look to better understand the specific components of the standards, and plan management and classroom strategies for the implementation of these standards. As these new assessments will require technological advances for the collection and reporting of data, school districts are exploring ways to effectively plan for and integrate new technology, including researching the selection of vendors and the internal infrastructure needed to support these advancements. 3. Global Learning Districts want to prepare students for our ever-increasingly interconnected world. With the goal of advancing students’ abilities to incorporate new ideas and develop new ways of thinking, global learning initiatives prepare students to become active and informed citizens within and beyond the confines of their own local communities. Common global learning initiatives include 21st Century skill building, outcome-based learning such as personalized learning initiatives and project-based learning, increases in foreign language programs, and immersion programs for multliingual students. 4. Shift In Definition and Expectations of College and Career Readiness While College and Career Readiness is measured by the Common Core standards, this past year experienced a shift in the definition and expectations of College and Career Readiness more generally. In addition to the preparation of students to enter fouryear post-secondary institutions and associate degree transfer programs at community colleges, there is a push for the exploration of career paths that best align with students’ needs. Through more holistic definitions of college and career readiness, as well as the promotion of career and technical education, the notion of the prescribed path to and through post-secondary education has expanded to better suit the needs of a wider variety of students. 5. Parent and Community Involvement Districts are committed to understanding the needs of parents and the community, as well as ways to increase parental and community involvement in an effort to strengthen activities such as afterschool programs, student learning, and donor support. Districts are looking to play a stronger role in the strengthening of their communities through increased outreach and communication with stakeholders. These types of efforts often result in more community partnerships and grant awards, healthier children due to health and wellness partnerships and initiatives, and connections to social service programs in the community. 6. Early Literacy – 3rd Grade “Reading Rule” Understanding and developing key building blocks to establish early literacy is a topic of conversation in districts around the country. Common threads within this discussion are: (i.) determining effective reading assessments by exploring metrics to track and understand why some interventions are ineffective, and (ii.) determining strategies for improving reading-skill development through literacy screening instruments, intervention programs, and support for teachers. A commonly used reading intervention is Response to Intervention (RTI), a systematic approach to implementing interventions for students who are not reaching a target in a specific subject matter. Used for a variety of subjects, RTI is a tiered intervention system that adapts as the student continues to develop learning and development skills.
  4. 4. FUTURE TRENDS IN K-12 EDUCATION School districts will place nearly all administrative information in cloudbased storage, enabling them to reduce costs and develop more efficient school systems by analyzing a growing amount of data on facilities, employees, and students. Today, 250,000 students are enrolled in a virtual school. We will see a continual increase in these schools where students receive all educational content and complete all coursework from their own homes. Though these schools may still incorporate some face-to-face interaction, students and teachers collaborate online with mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. Virtual Classrooms Classrooms will incorporate a wide range of technologies, from mobile devices and computers to interactive white boards to feature desks and furniture designed to support collaboration and personalized interactions between students and teachers. Learning Blended learning approaches employing mobile devices and even Blended Learning and BYOD incorporating innovative elements such as game-based learning - will likely become essential to instructional content delivery. Within the next five years, technologies such as cloud computing, mobile learning, and even 3D printing will be more present in classrooms. Big Data Smarter The above findings are part of our December 2013 report “Future Trends In K-12 Education.” For this report, Hanover turned to a wide range of literature sources to outline topics such as personalized learning practices and online and hybrid learning trends. Throughout the report, Hanover provides concrete examples of the future of K-12 education through profiles of innovative schools and districts already employing technology and pedagogical approaches that will be increasingly common in the future. To download the full report, visit The rise of “big data” and sophisticated learning analytics software will be central to improving student outcomes in the near future. Learning analytics will help teachers and administrators develop more personalized learning environments and better assess student learning needs as they complete coursework digitally. Test designers will focus more on competency-based learning and design assessments that test learning and analytical skills rather than content memorization. Tests will also become more technologically sophisticated, aggregating data that can shape curricular development and content taught in schools.
  5. 5. INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP PROFILES By segmenting our 230+ K-12 partner districts according to location and achievement scores, we found variations in organizational challenges and project deliverables amongst three distinct groups. Below, we present a snapshot of a particularly high-demand project for each group, and explain the methodology we utilized to address the challenge. Social Return on Investment What effect do district inputs such as funding, donations, and volunteer hours have on educational activities? Which student outcomes have the greatest impact on local communities and the public sector? How can a district justify its value to stakeholders?   URBAN/ To answer these questions, Hanover Research developed a qualitative framework BELOW AVERAGE linking district expenditures to student outputs and community outcomes. The ACHIEVING framework allowed us to develop a Social Return on Investment ratio. Using the ratio, we performed a sensitivity analysis to examine the expenditures and outputs that have the greatest influence on outcomes. With the analysis, districts are able to demonstrate proper stewardship of public funds, validate grant requests and program effectiveness, assess internal efficiency, and justify budget changes. Non-Graduate Analysis Districts were committed to determining early warning indicators for students at risk of not graduating so that they could intervene with resources that reduce drop-out rates.   Hanover Research approached this challenge by evaluating several nongraduating student characteristics. Using descriptive analysis to pull insights SUBURBAN/ from years of historical data, Hanover found that students who failed to graduate HIGH high school generally began to struggle during their first year. While several ACHIEVING state departments of education recommend tracking data points like grade point average or test scores, Hanover’s analysis went a step further by identifying district-specific benchmarks. For instance, patterns in the ratio of days absent to potential days in school suggested that non-graduating students generally attend one particular district less than 80 percent of days in their first year, with that percentage worsening in each subsequent year. By identifying the district-specific indicators, the district was able to closely monitor attendance behavior in the first year and identify at-risk students early on. Predictive Power of Assessment The following methodology epitomizes how a little bit of quantitative analysis can make a big difference. Districts within this group approached Hanover Research with the challenge of identifying tests that provided little incremental value. In RURAL/ certain grades at some districts, students could take over 50 different tests. The goal of each district was to increase efficiency by reducing the number of tests to AVERAGE only those that, with reasonable accuracy, can predict a student’s performance on ACHIEVING state tests.    To tackle this request, Hanover created a series of predictive models that identified redundancies in tests. The analysis recommended reducing the number of tests to between two and four for any one grade. Hanover also identified several test series that districts could eliminate completely for all grade levels. The analysis directly affected the districts’ bottom line with respect to instructional and administration time, while also enhancing the student learning experience.
  6. 6. BEST PRACTICES FOR EXECUTING RESEARCH SIX BASIC STEPS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION PLANNING Given the complexity of the program evaluation process, planning represents the single most important stage in effective program evaluation. Decisions made in the planning process will guide all other stages by defining the methodology and scope of the inquiry and by creating shared evaluation processes and documents. This framework, created by Hanover Research by examining a variety of industry planning guides as well as program evaluation and management literature, is commonly implemented by us as it enables administrators and their staff to plan project evaluations in a systematic manner. Step 1: What are you planning to evaluate? In order to ensure accurate records are maintained, list the program under evaluation on a dedicated planning document. This should include: Program title and brief description of the program, program eligibility selection criteria, and potential confounding variables for the participating students (factors outside of the program under evaluation that may influence the program’s effects). Many times identifying these criteria and variables can be challenging, and partners have consequently depended on Hanover’s program evaluation expertise during this stage of the planning process. Step 2: What is the purpose of the proposed evaluation? Clearly stating the purposes enables all individuals responsible for the evaluation process to share an understanding of why the evaluation is critical, and it enhances the focus on a single set of questions that need to be investigated. Make sure to include specifics on why the program is being evaluated and the type of evaluation being planned: formative or summative? Additional tip: Often times, program evaluations can be politically charged; to mitigate the risk of political influences, we recommend you obtain an objective third-party analysis. Step 3: Who will use the evaluation? How will they use it? Not only is it important for the analysis to be completed by an organization with a reputable research background and from a neutral standpoint, it is also imperative that it addresses all the questions key stakeholders reviewing it may have. After identifying audiences and stakeholders, an important step is to work collaboratively to shape the questions being asked, determine the way in which the results will be communicated, and decide what the tone, applicability, and actionable advice of the results should look like. Please note: Sometimes this collaboration requires primary research that can be time-consuming and expensive if done on an ad-hoc basis. Step 4: What key research question(s) will the evaluation seek to answer? A common challenge Hanover Research hears from partners is how to create a comprehensive report that is actionable and digestible for decision makers and stakeholders who may not be intimately involved with the program. Creating a list of questions can provide stakeholders with a focused scope and the ability to prioritize analysis and recommendations in a summary report. Partners will typically task Hanover to assist with creating such a list of questions and the necessary data points in order to ensure the validity and reliability of the report. continued on next page
  7. 7. BEST PRACTICES FOR EXECUTING RESEARCH SIX BASIC STEPS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION PLANNING (continued) Step 5: When is the evaluation needed? It is important to consult with administrators and staff tasked with conducting the evaluation and to assess realistic timelines and available bandwidth. Does your district possess the dedicated internal resources to prioritize, schedule, and proceed with the evaluation process in a timely fashion? For several partners, Hanover has served the dedicated source for program evaluations, resulting in a significant increase in the number of discrete program evaluations being completed within each academic year. evaluation progresses. It will also be easier to pinpoint breakdowns within the process. This is the stage at which many organizations become overwhelmed. With several different people wearing multiple hats, it can become tricky to course-correct and complete the evaluation on time. Many of Hanover’s partners have relied on having their dedicated project manager keep track of the evaluation so that they can carry out their primary responsibility: student success. Step 6a: What stages are required for this evaluation? Step 6b: Who will be responsible for each stage? When will each stage be completed? By creating a map of the necessary stages of an analysis, and by assigning responsibilities and timelines to those stages, everyone can easily be held accountable as the In performing the above planning steps, your organization should be well-positioned to successfully execute an evaluation. However, if you have additional questions or would like expert assistance with program evaluation planning or analysis, e-mail to speak with a K-12 research director. Interested in downloading our free program evaluation planning worksheet? Visit BEST PRACTICES FOR EXECUTING RESEARCH PROGRAM EVALUATION PLANNING WORKSHEET (CONTINUED) STEP 5: WHEN IS THE EVALUATION NEEDED? PROGRAM EVALUATION PLANNING WORKSHEET Below is a worksheet designed to facilitate your program evaluation planning process. These steps and worksheet will create a framework to keep project evaluations organized, focused on common goals, and well-documented. List a general timeframe and/or dates of any key meetings or presentations, if known. PROGRAM NAME: Responsible Staff Member(s): Once steps 1-5 have been completed, the staff responsible for planning the evaluation may need to work with other divisions and/or external partners to complete the remaining steps of the planning process. STEP 1: WHAT PROGRAM OR INITIATIVE ARE YOU PLANNING TO EVALUATE STEP 6A: WHAT RESOURCES WILL BE REQUIRED TO ANSWER THE KEY RESEARCH QUESTIONS? RESEARCH Q. #2 RESEARCH Q. #1 Provide Fill out the tables below for each individual research question, creating additional copies of the table as needed. Use as many a brief description: rows as needed to describe each resource and/or data point that will be used. Information Needed to Answer Source of Information Analysis Required Goals and Outcomes of Analysis Staff Responsibilities Potential Challenges WHAT ARE THE SELECTION CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION? ARE THERE ANY POTENTIALLY CONFOUNDING VARIABLES? STEP 2: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE EVALUATION? Explain why the program is being evaluated and the overarching goals of the evaluation: WILL THE PROGRAM REQUIRE FORMATIVE AND/OR SUMMATIVE EVALUATIONS? WHAT OUTCOMES WILL BE MEASURED? Information Needed to Answer Source of Information Analysis Required Goals and Outcomes of Analysis Staff Responsibilities STEP 3: WHO WILL USE THE EVALUATION? HOW WILL THEY USE IT? Potential Challenges Table 1: Audience and Use of Evaluation Who will use the evaluation? (Audience) How will they use it? STEP 4: WHAT KEY RESEARCH QUESTIONS WILL THE EVALUATION SEEK TO ANSWER? List STEP 6B: WHAT STAGES ARE REQUIRED FOR THIS EVALUATION? WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH succinctly in order of priority. These questions will be expanded upon in Step 6. STAGE? WHEN WILL EACH STAGE BE COMPLETED? 1. Use the table below to answer each question. Stage Staff Responsible 2. Timeframe 3. 4. 5. 6. lly in a word document, e-mail To obtain a worksheet designed to be completed electronically in a word document, e-mail
  8. 8. HANOVER RESEARCHA LOOK BACK ON 2013 TEACHER HIRING INNOVATION: HANOVER’S FIRST SOFTWARE SOLUTION FOR K-12 PA R A G O N K 1 2 Hanover Research was proud to have introduced an inaugural cohort of districts to Paragon K12, our new online teacher selection software tool. Using predictive modeling, Paragon K12 allows districts to rank applicants according to their statistical likelihood to positively impact student achievement outcomes, while providing complementary information on each candidate that a hiring manager can use to assess cultural fit and to help inform in-person interviews. The tool aims to give districts “predictive power” to identify candidates who will impact student achievement, unlike first generation pre-employment screening tools that focus narrowly on the candidate’s disposition and fail to take into account how the candidate will affect student achievement in the long-term. Several leading districts around the country have already incorporated Paragon K12 into their hiring processes. Chula Vista, Calif. school district is one such new adopter of Paragon K12, and its superintendent Francisco Escobedo was recently interviewed by Education Week to speak of its need. “We’ll be using [the new screening tool] to determine which applicants are part of the eligibility pool, and this is an additional data point that principals and staff can use to make determinations between two or three similar candidates who have all done great on an interview,” said Escobedo. Chula Vista currently has about a 70% satisfaction rate of the teachers it hires. Now, with Paragon K12, the District is hoping to push that figure to 90 or 95 percent. The reasons are clear: Not only do ineffective teachers hinder students’ learning, they are also expensive to remove and replace. As districts such as Chula Vista will soon learn, Paragon K12 is a powerful yet simple tool with district-wide benefits. Paragon K12 could help your district quickly identify the best possible teachers and reduce time and cost-to-hire. Paragon K12 is backed by Hanover Research’s robust capabilities and long history of providing research-based solutions to educational organizations. VISIT WWW.HANOVERRESEARCH.COM/PARAGONK12 OR E-MAIL PARAGON@HANOVERRESEARCH.COM TO LEARN MORE.
  9. 9. HANOVER RESEARCHA LOOK BACK ON 2013 ORIENTATION TOWARDS SOLUTIONS-DRIVEN COMMUNICATIONS Until recently, we presented our services from a research-approach standpoint: survey design, administration, and analysis; data analysis; program evaluation; peer benchmarking; and literature review. While these are some of the research techniques we utilize, we wanted to communicate more effectively how our work addresses common and critical K-12 challenges, and how, as long-term partners, we deliver research and recommendations until specific goals are attained. Toward that end, we conducted an exhaustive review of the challenges facing our partners and mapped those to the associated research deliverables we provide that serve as solutions to those challenges. The result of our efforts are detailed below. How we now communicate the research and grants expertise we offer to K-12 organizations: RESEARCH SOLUTIONS Designed to improve your district’s performance, practices, and stakeholder support with custom research and analysis Instructional Integrity Program Evaluation Student Achievement Curriculum Audit Effective Assessments Professional Development Student Success Career/College Readiness Drop Out Prevention 21st Century Learning Environment &Teaching Strategies Technology Integration Student Health & Wellness Community Engagement School Climate & Perception Parent Satisfaction Community Awareness Alumni Engagement Bond/Levy Community Education Extracurricular Activities Resource Management Operational Excellence Competitive Benchmarking GRANT PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS With our grant writing solutions, we help to diversify your funding portfolio and increase the competitiveness of your proposals Capacity Building and Pre-Proposal Grantseeking Strategy Grant Alerts RFP Analysis Funding Prospect Research Relationship Building Strategies Proposal Development Concept Development Program Design Consulting Federal Proposal Production Foundation Proposal Production Review and Post-Award Support Grant Application Renewal Review Proposal Review & Rewriting Grant Outcomes Reporting
  10. 10. HANOVER RESEARCHA LOOK BACK ON 2013 USER-FOCUSED WEBSITE CUSTOMIZATION In addition to K-12, Hanover Research serves more than 15 major industries, and that number has grown each passing year. Our standing website had thousands of webpages, yet only a fraction of them were relevant to each distinct industry. Seeing that our breadth of content was becoming unwieldy, we recognized we needed a website that could provide a customized experience for vistors and one that could scale up with our continued growth. Thus, we sought to improve website usability by: developing industry-specific mini-sites through self-identification in order to tailor content and messaging to the priorities of each audience. We hope that the new achieves the customized experience we sought out to provide, and we invite you to peruse the K-12 pages of the site to see how your peers are using research to make informed decisions. Several key features for K-12 organizations are noted below. K-12 site features 3 main sections: Hanover Model How a partnership with Hanover works Solutions Our areas of expertise in research, grant proposal development, and teacher hiring Insights The latest in K-12 trends, research, and news Insights section features: Monthly research reports Recent case studies Newsletter archives K-12 partner profiles and testimonials …and more! VISIT–WWW.HANOVERRESEARCH.COM
  11. 11. WHO WE’RE FOLLOWING Follow Us and Let Us Follow You! @HanoverK12 The following is a selection of people and organizations we follow on Twitter to stay on top of leading K-12 innovations and trends. @sbanchero Stephanie Banchero is the National Education Reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Follow her to obtain in-depth coverage of what’s happening across the nation. @edutopia Access researched-based best practices to teaching, learning, and leading through The George Lucas Foundation’s Twitter account. @DigitalPromise Whether you are an educator, technologist, or a researcher, you’ll enjoy Digital Promise’s posts on breakthrough ideas and innovations in education. @PoliticsK12 Follow these two EdWeek writers if you want a constantly flowing and clean feed of news on regional and national education policies. @NMHS_Principal School principal, author, speaker and avid Twitterer who believes digital leadership is critical to moving districts forward. Eric Sheniger practices what he preaches, though we are not sure how he has time to sleep by doing it all. @DrTonyWagner Dr. Wagner, educator and author, consults nationally and internationally with schools, districts, and foundations. Follow him to learn about change leadership and innovation that advances student achievement. @YJacksonNUA Yvette Jackson is the CEO of National Urban Alliance for Effective Education. Dedicated to improving the potential of underachievers, she shares research and resources on Twitter. @GatesEd Gates Education takes the “economy of words” principle beyond abiding to Twitter’s 140-character limit: they do not tweet every day, but when they do, it is worth reading more about.
  12. 12. HANOVER RESEARCH Hanover Research is a global information services firm providing knowledge support to both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Through our unique, fixed-cost model we deliver customized, timely, and authoritative research and advice enabling our clients to make informed decisions, identify and seize opportunities, and heighten their effectiveness. STRENGTHENING EDUCATION THROUGH SYMBIOTIC PARTNERSHIPS Hanover Research provides industry insights and customized research solutions to leading education companies that also serve K-12. We are committed to not only helping districts on an individual level, but to helping companies produce products and services that improve student achievement and the overall education system in the United States. To learn more about our work, e-mail FOLLOW US FOR ONGOING INSIGHTS @HanoverK12 A go-to source for the latest in K-12 research Where you can learn who’s who and what’s new at Hanover For more information, contact us at: P. 202-559-0050 E.