Curriculum & Instruction

How high schools can boost college completion

On this week’s podcast, Matthew Chingos, director of the Urban Institute’s Education Policy Program, joins Mike Petrilli and Brandon Wright to discuss what high schools should be doing to address the college completion crisis. On the Research Minute, David Griffith examines the impact of New Orleans’s post-Katrina education reforms on short-term and long-term academic outcomes.

Amber’s Research Minute

Douglas N. Harris and Matthew F. Larsen, “What Effect Did the New Orleans School Reforms Have on Student Achievement, High School Graduation, and College Outcomes?” Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (July 2018).

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

On this week's podcast, Ben Castleman, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, and Ethan Fletcher, a managing director at ideas42, join Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss Ben and Ethan’s collaborative project to improve college access and completion, Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern looks at nudges, too, in this case the role of information and incentives in getting students to fill out their FAFSA forms.

Amber’s Research Minute

Oded Gurantz, “A Little Can Go a Long Way: The Impact of Advertising Services on Program Take-Up,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (May 2018).

"Personalized pacing" would be a real revolution. Are our elementary schools ready for it?

On this week’s podcast, Karla Phillips, a policy director at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss what it would mean for elementary schools to implement personalized learning. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the effects of career and technical education on students’ future wages.

Amber’s Research Minute

Daniel Kreisman and Kevin Stange, “Vocational and Career Tech Education in American High Schools: The Value of Depth Over Breadth,” Education Finance and Policy (June 2018).

Racial disparities in special education identification: The conventional wisdom is all wrong

On this week's podcast, Paul Morgan, Professor of Education and Demography at Penn State University, joins Mike Petrilli and Alyssa Schwenk to discuss the evidence on racial disparities in special education identification and services. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the effect of online versus paper tests on student achievement.

Amber’s Research Minute

Ben Backes and James Cowan, “Is the Pen Mightier Than the Keyboard? The Effect of Online Testing on Measured Student Achievement,” Calder (April 2018).

A better curriculum in the Bayou State

On this week’s podcast, Rebecca Kockler, Louisiana’s assistant superintendent of academic content, joins Mike Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio to discuss her state’s curriculum initiative. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how career and technical education affects students’ noncognitive skills.

Amber’s Research Minute

Albert Cheng and Collin Hitt, “Hard Work and Soft Skills: The Attitudes, Abilities, and Character of Students in Career and Technical Education,” American Enterprise Institute (April 2018).

Is America still a nation at risk?

On this week's podcast, Bruno Manno, Senior Advisor to the Walton Family Foundation’s K–12 Education Reform Initiative and a Trustee Emeritus at Fordham, joins Mike Petrilli and Checker Finn to discuss this week’s NAEP results in the context of the thirty-fifth anniversary of A Nation at Risk. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how accountability metrics related to student subgroups affect teacher turnover and attrition.

Amber’s Research Minute

Matthew Shirrell, “The Effects of Subgroup-Specific Accountability on Teacher Turnover and Attrition,” Education Finance and Policy (Forthcoming).


A conversation with 2018’s Wisest Wonks

On this week’s podcast, Jessica Shopoff and Chase Eskelsen, employees of K12, Inc. and winners of Fordham’s 2018 Wonkathon, join Mike Petrilli and Alyssa Schwenk to discuss their ideas for reimagining American high school. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines race and gender biases in online higher education.

Amber’s Research Minute

Rachel Baker et al., “Bias in Online Classes: Evidence from a Field Experiment,” Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis (March 2018).

Ed reform's past, present, and future

On this week’s podcast, Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign, joins Alyssa Schwenk and Brandon Wright to discuss what ed reform’s decades of progress portend for the future. During the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines career-tech’s effect on human capital accumulation.

Amber’s Research Minute

Shaun M. Dougherty, “The Effect of Career and Technical Education on Human Capital Accumulation: Causal Evidence from Massachusetts,” Education Finance and Policy (forthcoming).


Are ELL's doing well?

On this week's podcast, Conor Williams, senior researcher at New America, joins Mike Petrilli and Alyssa Schwenk to discuss the state of English language learners. During the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines teacher screening and hiring in Los Angeles public schools.

Amber’s Research Minute

Paul Bruno and Katharine O. Strunk, “Making the Cut: The Effectiveness of Teacher Screening and Hiring in the Los Angeles Unified School District,” Calder (January 2018).

Schools have long failed to cultivate the innate talents of many of their young people, particularly high-ability girls and boys from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds. This failure harms the economy, widens income gaps, arrests upward mobility, and exacerbates civic decay and political division.

To address these issues, researchers Christopher Yaluma and Adam Tyner examined the extent to which access to and participation in gifted programs vary for different groups of students nationally and in each state, particularly in high-poverty schools. Here’s what they found:
  • More than two-thirds of elementary and middle schools have gifted programs.
  • Overall, high-poverty schools are just as likely as low-poverty schools to have them.
  • Yet students in low-poverty schools are more than twice as likely to participate in such programs.
  • Even when black and Hispanic students have gifted programs in their elementary and middle schools, they participate at much lower rates than their peers. 
  • In schools with gifted programs, only Maryland, Kentucky, and New Hampshire enroll more than 10 percent of the state’s black and Hispanic students in those programs; in twenty-two states it’s less than 5 percent.

Increasing the participation of qualified yet underrepresented students in gifted programming...