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Is Daily Parental Help with Homework Helpful? Reanalyzing National Data Using a Propensity Score–Based Approach

Angran Li and Daniel Hamlin

ABSTRACT   Previous analyses of large national datasets have tended to report a negative relationship between parental homework help and student achievement. Yet these studies have not examined heterogeneity in this relationship based on the propensity for a parent to provide homework help. By using a propensity score–based approach, this study investigates the relationship between daily parental homework help in first grade and student achievement in third grade with nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Class. Results indicated that low prior achievement, socioeconomic disadvantage, and minority status were associated with a high propensity to provide daily homework help. Daily parental homework help was also associated with improved achievement for children whose parents had a high propensity to provide daily homework help. These patterns suggest that complex factors induce daily parental homework help and that these factors are related to heterogeneity in the relationship between daily parental homework help and achievement.


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Translation Apps: Increasing Communication with Dual Language Learners

Vickie E. Lake and Amber H. Beisly

Abstract; Dual language learners (DLLs) represent one of the fastest growing populations in classrooms, and yet many teachers are monolingual and not trained in English as a Second Language. Many teachers strive to create an anti-bias classroom that puts goals of diversity and equity at the center of all that they do, but are unsure of effective strategies for communicating with all students. By supporting the home language, teachers show their DLLs and native English speakers that every child’s home language is important and welcome in the classroom. Using translation apps can help teachers talk to their students, build relationships with children and families, and support bilingualism. Once teachers and children can communicate successfully, DLLs can increase their understanding of content, engagement, motivation, communication, and sense of self-esteem. The three apps discussed in this article, Speak and Translate, Microsoft Translator, and Google Translate have been shown to be helpful in facilitating interactions with children in their home language. Additional information is provided on using these apps, as well as their potential benefits and drawbacks.


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Pointing teachers in the wrong direction: Understanding Louisiana elementary teachers’ use of Compass high stakes teacher evaluation data

Tim G. Ford

Abstract; Spurred by Race to the Top, efforts to improve teacher evaluation systems have provided states with an opportunity to get teacher evaluation right. Despite the fact that a core reform area of Race to the Top was the use of teacher evaluation to provide on-going and meaningful feedback for instructional decision making, we still know relatively little about how states’ responses in this area have led to changes in teachers’ use of these sources of data for instructional improvement. Self-determination theory (SDT) and the concept of functional significance was utilized as a lens for understanding and explaining patterns of use (or non-use) of Compass-generated evaluation data by teachers over a period of 3 years in a diverse sample of Louisiana elementary schools. The analysis revealed that the majority of teachers exhibited either controlled or amotivated functional orientations to Compass-generated information, and this resulted in low or superficial use for improvement. Perceptions of the validity/utility of teacher evaluation data were critical determinants of use and were multifaceted: In some cases, teachers had concerns about how state and district assessments would harm vulnerable students, while some questioned the credibility and/or fairness of the feedback. These perceptions were compounded by (a) the lack of experience of evaluators in evaluating teachers with more specialized roles in the school, such as special education teachers; (b) a lack of support in terms of training on Compass and its processes; and (c) lack of teacher autonomy in selecting appropriate assessments and targets for Student Learning Target growth.


Dr. Tim G. Ford Pointing teachers in the wrong direction: Understanding Louisiana elementary teachers’ use of Compass high stakes teacher evaluation data Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability.

August 2018, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 251–283



Child and Parenting Outcomes After 1 Year of Educare

Noreen Yazejian and Donna M. Bryant, Diane Horm, Sydney Hans, Lisa St. Clair, Nancy File and Margaret Burchinal

ABSTRACT Educare is a birth to age 5 early education program designed to reduce the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more economically advantaged peers through high-quality center-based programming and strong school–family partnerships. This study randomly assigned 239 children (< 19 months) from low-income families to Educare or a business-as-usual control group. Assessments tracked children 1 year after randomization. Results revealed significant differences favoring treatment group children on auditory and expressive language skills, parent-reported problem behaviors, and positive parent–child interactions. Effect sizes were in the modest to medium range. No effects were evident for observer-rated child behaviors or parent-rated social competence. The overall results add to the evidence that intervening early can set low-income children on more positive developmental courses.

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Maintained High Expectations for Students Performance?

An Analysis of 2017 State Proficiency Standards

THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT (ESSA), passed into law in 2015, explicitly prohibits the federal government from creating incentives to set national standards. The law represents a major departure from recent federal initiatives, such as Race to the Top, which beginning in 2009 encouraged the adoption of uniform content standards and expectations for performance. At one point, 46 states had committed themselves to implementing Common Core standards designed to ensure consistent benchmarks for student learning across the country. But when public opinion turned against the Common Core brand, numerous states moved to revise the standards or withdraw from them.


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Family child care providers' responsiveness toward children: The role of professional support and perceived stress

ABSTRACT Approximately 7 million 0- to 5-year-old children attend family child care, which is a non-parental, paid care provided in a child care provider's home in the U.S. Despite the importance of family child care providers' role in supporting young children's development, studies on family child care providers' responsiveness for children in their care are lacking. This study investigates whether family child care providers' perceived professional support (i.e., professional resources and connectedness with children's families) and perceived personal stress are independently and jointly associated with their responsiveness toward children's emotional and social challenges. Survey data were collected from 888 family child care providers in 40 states in the U.S. We found that when family child care providers have more professional resources, they utilize less negative guidance. Further, when family child care providers have more positive connectedness with children's families, they utilize more positive guidance. Family child care providers' perceived personal stress was significantly associated with their responsiveness toward children's negative emotions. Examining interactions between perceived professional support and personal stress, we found that perceived professional support was positively associated with family child care providers' responsiveness only when their stress level was low. The study emphasizes a need for providing targeted interventions for family child care providers to support their professional development as well as psychological wellbeing


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Principal support for student psychological needs

A social-psychological pathway to a healthy learning environment

Abstract Purpose – Although leadership evidence highlights the importance of cooperative principal-teacher relationships, research has not looked thoroughly at the content behind principal-teacher interactions. The purpose of this paper is to use self-determination theory and organizational conversation to develop principal support for student psychological needs (PSSPN), a concept that represents principal-teacher interactions based on social and psychological factors contributing to student learning. The empirical part of the study tests the relationship between PSSPN and faculty trust in students and student self-regulated learning.

Design/methodology/approach – Hypotheses were tested with a non-experimental, correlational research design using ex post facto data. Data were collected from 3,339 students and 633 teachers in 71 schools located in a metropolitan area of a southwestern city in the USA. Hypotheses were tested with a 2-2-1 multi-level mediation model in HLM 7.0 with restricted maximum likelihood estimation.

Findings – Principal support for student psychological needs had a positive and statistically significant relationship with faculty trust in students and self-regulated learning. Additionally faculty trust mediated the relationship between principal support for student psychological needs and self-regulated learning.

Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to examine school leadership by the content that is exchanged during principal-teacher interactions. Principal support for student psychological needs establishes a theoretically-based framework to study leadership conversations and to guide administrative practices. Empirical results offer encouraging evidence that the simple act of framing interactions around the science of wellbeing can be an effective resource for school principals.


Adams, Curt and Olsen, Jentre (June 2017) Principal Support for Student Psychological Needs: A social-psychological pathway to a healthy learning environment; Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 55 No. 5, pp. 510-525


Congratulations to the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education Winners!

Education winners


Research-Scholarship Award to Kyong-Ah Kwon, Ph.D. Associate Professor Early Childhood Education 

Teaching-Advising Award to Libby Ethridge, Ed.D. Associate Professor Early Childhood Education

Junior Faculty Award to Timothy Ford, Ph.D. Assistant Professor and Research Scientist Educational Leadership and Policy Studies



Staff Food-Related Behaviors and Children’s Tastes of Food Groups during Lunch at Child Care in Oklahoma

ABSTRACT Background Young children should consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods to support growth, while limiting added fat and sugar. A majority of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years attend child care in the United States, which makes this environment and the child-care staff influential at meals. Objective The aim was to determine the association between best-practice foodrelated behaviors and young children’s tastes of fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy, and highfat/high-sugar foods at child care. Design This was a cross-sectional study. Participants A community-based study with 201 children ages 3 to 5 years from 25 early care and education centers, including 11 tribally affiliated centers and two Head Start programs across Oklahoma. Data collection occurred from fall 2011 to spring 2014. Main outcome measures Classroom observations used the Environmental Policy Assessment Observation tool to measure the staff behaviors and environment. Staff behavior was compared at three different levels: the composite score of staff nutrition behavior, each constituent staff behavior, and staff behaviors grouped into broader feeding behaviors. Tasted food was measured through the Dietary Observation in Child Care method. The children’s meals were categorized into the following food groups: fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy, fried vegetable, fried meat, high-fat meat, and high-fat/ high-sugar food. Statistical analysis performed Descriptive statistics were calculated for relevant variables. Relationships between the constituent staff behaviors and food groups that children tasted were compared using multilevel mixed-model analysis. Results The mean number of tasted fruit or vegetable items was higher and the mean number of tasted high-fat/high-sugar food items was lower when staff: 1) determined fullness before plate removal when less than half of food was eaten, 2) ate with the children, 3) and talked about healthy food. Conclusions The utilization of the three staff behaviors and their association with higher mean tastes of nutrient-dense items and lower mean tastes of high-fat/highsugar food items among exposed children demonstrated support for the use of the best practices in early care and education centers. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018;118(8):1399-1407.

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The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is proud to announce the creation of an informational app for the college, now available for download in the App Store (Apple) and Google Play (Android).

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The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for 2015-17.

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