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News and Events: Links to what we’re reading this week

March 2, 2012

3 ways to fix America’s child poverty problem: Interesting opinion piece from former Senator Bill Frist on ways to address child poverty. Much of it is consistent with the evidence base we synthesized in our first education guidance for donors, Pathways to Student Success, including: the need to start younger, to develop non-academic skills or so-called “soft skills”, to address out-of-school factors for learning such as nutrition, and to recognize that many of the most promising programs center around integrated, community-based approaches.

Time for a Gold Standard of Use: Fay Twersky of the Hewlett Foundation explores how evaluations aren’t really actually influencing policy, practice, and philanthropy. For example, a study by Patrizi Associates showed foundations are spending less on evaluations. Those that do have evaluations are struggling with how to incorporate the lessons learned. Fay thinks this is an opportunity to incorporate evaluation lessons into strategic planning. Towards the end, she rallies not for a standard metric but for the USE of data as a rule by nonprofits and foundations to inform decisions and asks for comments on best practices to do so. Two resources we’ve been looking at are the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences “What Works Clearinghouse” and the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy.

The State and Future of Impact Investing: In an interview with Rahim Kanani, Anthony Bugg Levine, former Rockefeller Foundation Managing Director and author of the newly released: Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference, discusses current trends in impact investing, critical challenges and promising opportunities in this emerging sector.

Kate Hovde

Kate Hovde, Senior Analyst

Education Notes from Kate Hovde

It’s all about how you use the data.

‘Value Added’ Proves Beneficial to Teacher Prep: This article looks at the use of value added data on teacher performance to help colleges and universities doing teacher preparation course-correct (literally).

Finally, a professional development study that showed positive results!

STEM Learning: “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative”: New IES random controlled study on a professional development program for teachers in Alabama.

Remedial college classes

Colleges Misassign Many to Remedial Classes, Studies Find: Two recent studies create more questions about the merits of using “placement tests” at the college level, and the benefits and drawbacks of placing students in remedial classes.

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