Curriculum & Instruction

Will civics education save American democracy?

On this week's podcast, Elizabeth Mann Levesque, a fellow at Brookings, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the state of civics education in America. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how repeating a grade affects students’ high school outcomes.

Amber’s Research Minute

Louis T. Marian et al., “How Does Repeating a Grade Impact Students' High School Persistence and Behavior? The Case of New York City,” RAND Corporation (July 2018).

How good are states’ English language arts standards?

On this week's podcast, literacy expert Tim Shanahan joins Robert Pondiscio and David Griffith to discuss his review of states’ English language arts standards for Fordham’s new report, “The State of State Standards Post-Common Core.” On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the results of the 2018 Education Next poll.

Amber’s Research Minute

Albert Cheng et al., “Public Support Climbs for Teacher Pay, School Expenditures, Charter Schools, and Universal Vouchers: Results from the 2018 EdNextPoll,” Education Next (Winter 2018).

How African American children view our education system

On this week's podcast, Sekou Biddle, a vice president at UNCF, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss African American youth’s near-universal aspirations to go to college, but frustration at an education system that is not preparing them for success. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern covers a new comprehensive look at America’s colleges of education.

Amber’s Research Minute

Jacqueline E. King, “Colleges of Education: A National Portrait,” American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (August 2018).

All about ed tech

On this week’s podcast, Gisèle Huff, executive director of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the use of technology in education. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern covers Fordham’s recent study on reading and writing instruction in America's schools.

Amber’s Research Minute

David Griffith and Ann M. Duffett, “Reading and Writing Instruction in America’s Schools,” Thomas B. Fordham Institute (July 2018).

In a paper titled Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement, the Ohio Department of Education recently wrote that districts have “a limited understanding of how to build early literacy in young children.” This is manifestly troubling, as so much in life hinges on reading fluency—and it’s not as if there were a dearth of quality research on how kids learn to read. This is, in fact, one of the most thoroughly analyzed parts of schooling. (Fordham’s new literacy lifelines offer concise practical advice based in research.)

If this what-is-known and how-to-do-it knowledge isn’t well-lodged in the minds of district leaders and practitioners in Ohio schools, something needs to change. One can go back to Jeanne Chall’s 1967 book or the report in 2000 from the National Reading Panel. But a more recent and accessible review is a fine paper by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation. In what they call a “comprehensive tutorial review on the science of learning to read,” the authors review the major research findings and offer insight on how evidence can inform practice. The paper is organized around three general phases of literacy development, which they define as: (1) cracking...


Education tailored to the whole child

On this week’s podcast, Jim Shelton, who is about to step down from the helm of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s education efforts, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the whole-child approach to personalized learning. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how coaching programs affect teachers’ instructional practices and student achievement.

Amber’s Research Minute

Matthew A. Kraft et al., “The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence,” Review of Educational Research (August 2018).

Since 2010, when most states adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has been committed to monitoring their implementation. One of our initial reports, written in 2013 by lead author Tim Shanahan, surveyed middle and high school English language arts (ELA) teachers and found broad support for the CCSS-ELA, yet highlighted several red flags.

Five years later, the CCSS (or close facsimiles) are still in place in most states. And given that high expectations only matter when reflected in classroom practice, we owe it to teachers to continue supporting their efforts to implement these more rigorous standards.

Accordingly, we’re back with another nationally representative survey of ELA teachers.

Reading and Writing Instruction in America’s Schools, authored by Fordham’s senior research and policy associate David Griffith and FDR Group’s Ann Duffett, suggests real progress in implementing state ELA standards, but also—like the baseline 2013 report—real cause for concern. For example, middle and high school teachers are asking more text-dependent questions and report that students’ ability to accurately cite evidence from the text has improved—both of which are in line with the CCSS-ELA. Yet they have also become more likely to assign texts based on students’...

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).