Impact Evaluation of Departmentalized Instruction in Elementary Schools

OMB 1850-0942

OMB 1850-0942

This package requests clearance for data collection activities to support an evaluation of departmentalized instruction in elementary schools. This evaluation is authorized by Title VII Section 8601 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended most recently in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA gives states considerable flexibility in designing systems to hold their schools accountable for improving student achievement. This flexibility extends to the types of strategies that states encourage or require their low-performing schools to adopt. However, many strategies in use have little to no evidence of effectiveness. More research is needed to help states identify strategies that are likely to help their low-performing schools improve. One potential strategy that has recently become more popular in upper elementary school grades is to departmentalize instruction, where each teacher specializes in teaching one subject to multiple classes of students instead of teaching all subjects to a single class of students (self-contained instruction). However, virtually no evidence exists on its effectiveness relative to the more traditional self-contained approach. This evaluation will help to fill the gap by examining whether departmentalizing fourth and fifth grade teachers improves teacher and student outcomes. The evaluation will focus on math and reading, with an emphasis on low-performing schools that serve a high percentage of disadvantaged students. The evaluation will include implementation and impact analyses. The implementation analysis will describe schools' approaches to departmentalization and benefits and challenges encountered. The analysis will be based on information from schools' study agreement form; meetings to design each school's approach to departmentalization; monitoring and support calls with schools; a principal interview; and a teacher survey. The impact analysis will draw on data from a teacher survey, videos of classroom instruction, a principal interview, and district administrative records to estimate the impact of departmentalized instruction on various outcomes. The outcomes include the quality of instruction and student-teacher relationships, teacher satisfaction and retention, and student achievement and behavior. These various data collection activities will be carried out between spring 2018 and fall 2020, although most of the activities with the exception of the administrative data will take place only once during the first year treatment schools implement departmentalized instruction (2018-2019 school year).

The latest form for Impact Evaluation of Departmentalized Instruction in Elementary Schools expires 2021-06-30 and can be found here.


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