The NCEO Product Development & Dissemination project is funded through a contract to the University of Dayton from the University of Minnesota on behalf of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). NCEO provides oversight and direction for this work.
Research on effective schools has identified several key factors that contribute to district and school capacity to improve instructional practice and student performance. This project will develop products for districts and others to use in supporting changes in practice. The NCEO Product Development & Dissemination project has identified assumptions on which it is based and parameters to guide its work.
- Successful outcomes (including college and career readiness) for students receiving special education services requires their inclusion in standards-based reform efforts and their participation in statewide assessment and accountability systems.
- Improving the educational outcomes of students receiving special education services, as for any other student group, requires a sustained focus on teaching and learning, aligned actions across the district, and continuous monitoring of the degree of implementation of such actions to assess the impact on student learning.
- Consistent, high quality implementation of effective practices is a challenge for many districts.
- Students receiving special education services are as different from each other as the members of any other group, assuming pre-determined levels of achievement based on disability status limits these students' opportunity to learn and diminishes the collective responsibility of adults to provide high quality instruction aligned with grade-level content to these students.
- The intent of this project is to learn from districts implementing practices shown in research to be essential in improving teaching and learning, and sustaining the improvements. Products will highlight steps taken by districts to gain focus, put structures in place to support needed changes in practice, and implement practices district-wide.
- Statewide assessment and accountability data for districts featured in this work will be used as one vehicle for gauging the degree to which students with disabilities are benefiting from district-wide implementation of effective practices. The intentional and ongoing use of formative assessment data by districts and how data are used to make instructional decisions and benchmark progress will be highlighted.
- Products developed by this project will document how students with disabilities are included in classroom instruction, assessments, etc. when such practices are taken to scale locally (i.e., implemented across the district) in districts of varied size and type, as well as barriers and solutions for ensuring that students with disabilities benefit. Processes involved in scaling up such practices across districts, regions, and states will also be explored.
- Products developed by this project will highlight practical application based on real-life examples from individuals with various roles/positions; be user-friendly and visually engaging; and be developed for use by multiple audiences.