As part of our mission to provide the most effective resources and services possible to improve teacher and student outcomes, LDC is engaged in a number of research projects focused on the strength, relevance, and impact of our tools. We’d like to highlight three key studies published in 2013–2014 and alert our community of practice to several exciting new LDC research endeavors.
Following three years of extensive data collection in LDC study sites throughout the country, Research for Action (RFA) has published three case studies to illustrate how LDC tools have been adopted in different settings and contexts, and which approaches have contributed to the successful adoption and use of the tools.
Enacting Common Core Instruction: How Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 Leveraged Its Position as an Educational Service Agency to Implement and Scale the LDC Initiative focuses on how Intermediate Unit 13, a Pennsylvania intermediary educational service unit (and LDC partner) has provided leadership, leveraged resources, and built district capacity to effectively use Common Core-aligned literacy tools to scale the initiative.
In the 2010−2011 school year, 41 percent of sixth-graders at Honeysuckle Middle School (HMS) in Dothan, Alabama, achieved a Level IV score (the highest level possible) on the Alabama reading assessment. After two years of implementing LDC across all sixth-grade classes, 60 percent of sixth-graders achieved Level IV.
All sixth-grade teachers at HMS made the decision to use LDC throughout the 2012–2013 year. The results: a 19 percent increase in Level IV achievement! HMS teachers and leaders agree that this success is due to teachers collaborating to help all students read complex texts and produce quality writing. While the effort involved in such an accomplishment is never easy, teachers say LDC has provided key tools and processes to engage and support students through rigorous tasks, leading to higher levels of achievement.
In Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers (2014), Education First researchers Katie Cristol and Brinton S. Ramsey, in collaboration with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, profile four “early implementer” school districts to examine factors that are key to successful implementations of standards-based reform: communications, leadership, curricular materials, professional development, and assessment and accountability.
Nicole Craig, a reading intervention teacher at Avalon Middle School (AMS) in Orlando, Florida, knows firsthand that LDC is a good fit in classes geared toward struggling readers and writers.