Quality Instruction Resources

Here are some resources based on current thinking around:

Blackburn, B., & Williamson, R. (2009). Increasing rigor. Principal Leadership, 9(8), 28–31. Retrieved [2009], from http://ronwilliamson.com/uploads/IncreasingRigorApr09.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article takes a look at what students need to succeed in a rigorous learning environment.
Highlights The article’s authors argue that students must be motivated and engaged to succeed. They provide a simple tool to help teachers gather data about student motivation and engagement.
Curtis, D. (2001). Real world issues motivate students. Edutopia. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.edutopia.org/start-pyramid
Type of Resource Online resource including an article and video
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article explores the why’s and how’s of project-based learning.
Highlights The article describes how project-based learning benefits students. The author uses real projects to make her points. This, along with the video that shows students doing projects, helps make the concept more concrete. The larger website has many videos that feature project-based learning.
French, D. (2003). Addressing the middle grades gap. The Term Paper, 2(1), 4, 6. The Piton Foundation. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.piton.org/Documents/term4.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article examines why many middle schools fail to achieve their goals for students.
Highlights The article explores four principles for middle school reform: rigor, relevance, relationships, and responsibility. The author defines each one and presents supporting research. He also outlines ways that middle schools can better serve students.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Producer). (1999). Looking at learning, again…part 1. Retrieved [2009], from Annenberg Media (Distributor), http://www.learner.org/resources/series106.html
Type of Resource Video workshop
Content Area Math and science
Overview This video workshop on how children learn spotlights the thinking of seven leading educators.
Highlights The workshop’s eight, one-hour videos feature rich discussions. The guest experts talk about how to create the most effective learning environments for students in math and science. The first video in the workshop, The Many Faces of Learning, invites viewers to reflect on how they think students learn best.
Heller, R., Calderon, S., & Medrich, E. (2003). Academic achievement in the middle grades: What does research tell us? A review of the literature. Southern Regional Education Board. Retrieved [2009], from Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED478009.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article shares research on achievement in the middle grades and suggests ways to improve outcomes.
Highlights The article discusses what it calls “The Middle Grades Paradox.” The paradox is that despite an agreement amongst most researchers that middle school is unique, the research suggests that best practices in middle school echo best practices at other grade levels. The authors go on to describe these practices and the research base for each in detail.
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). (n.d.). Making middle grades work: An enhanced design to get all students to standards. Retrieved [2009], from http://publications.sreb.org/2006/06V15-R08_MMGW_Brochure.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This brochure outlines 10 key practices and five conditions to improve middle schools.
Highlights The brochure is part of SREB’s Making Middle Grades Work (MMGW) effort. It makes the case for a rigorous academic core, high expectations, and engaging instruction. It outlines the skills that students need in each core subject area. And, it explains the benefits of joining the MMGW network of schools. The MMGW website offers further information (http://www.sreb.org/page/1080/making_middle_grades_work.html).
Wagner, T. (2008). Rigor redefined. Educational Leadership, 66(2), 20–25. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Rigor_Redefined.aspx
Type of Resource Online Resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article defines rigor in terms of the skills that students will need to excel in the 21st century workforce.
Highlights The article describes seven “survival skills.” The author argues that these skills will help students succeed as workers and citizens and that teaching them constitutes “excellent instruction.” He also takes a close look at whether or not advanced placement classes teach these skills.
Washor, E., & Mojkowski, C. (2006). What do you mean by rigor? Educational Leadership, 64(4), 84–87. Retrieved [2009], at http://www.bigpicture.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/070101-educational-leadership.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article examines rigor and argues that we need to define the concept in a new way.
Highlights The article offers an expanded definition of rigor. The authors note that rigor must go beyond factual content and advanced courses. They describe five strategies, used in the Big Picture school reform approach, to increase rigor in student work.
Appalachia Educational Laboratory at Edvantia. (2005). Research digest: Effective instructional strategies. Edvantia. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.edvantia.org/pdta/pdf/Effective_Instructional_Strategies.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This research review summarizes the findings of two meta-analyses and numerous other studies related to instructional strategies. It concludes that metacognition—“thinking about thinking”—and active student engagement (macrostrategies) in combination with higher order thinking, cooperative learning, and independent practice (microstrategies) have the largest positive, measurable impact on student achievement.
Highlights The review distills research findings into a short, easy-to-digest report and makes a research-based case for active and exploratory instruction.
Barron, B., & Hammond, L. D. (2008). Teaching for meaningful learning: A review of research on inquiry-based and cooperative learning. Edutopia. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/edutopia-teaching-for-meaningful-learning.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This book excerpt, from Powerful Learning: What We Know about Teaching for Understanding (Jossey-Bass, 2008), reviews the research on several active and exploratory instructional strategies. The authors discuss project-based learning, problem-based learning, cooperative learning, and inquiry-based teaching.
Highlights The excerpt includes some interesting classroom and school examples. It also discusses assessment in active and exploratory classrooms.
Bransford, J., Brown, A., Cocking, R. (Eds.); Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, National Research Council. (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Available for free online at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9853
Type of Resource Book
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This book explores how people learn and how teachers can design their curriculum and instruction to help students learn most effectively.
Highlights The book combines a simple summary of research related to the cognitive sciences with a concrete discussion of what this research can mean for teachers. It also features useful classroom examples in history, math, and science.
Langer, J. A., Close, E., Angelis, J., & Preller, P. (2000). Guidelines for teaching middle and high school students to read and write well. Six features of effective instruction. National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.albany.edu/cela/publication/guidebook.htm
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area English language arts
Overview This booklet—based on a five-year study that investigated English programs in 44 classrooms—examines six effective instructional strategies.
Highlights The booklet, in addition to providing an overview of the six strategies, outlines activities that work and don’t work and provides interesting classroom examples.
Marzano, R., Pollack, J. & Pickering, D. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available for purchase at: http://shop.ascd.org/ProductDisplay.cfm?ProductID=101010
Type of Resource Book
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This book offers nine research-based strategies for improving student achievement through classroom instruction.
Highlights The book combines research and application and clearly summarizes the nine strategies. A companion handbook provides worksheets, blackline masters, and other materials to help teachers determine how to use the strategies in their classrooms.
National Research Council. Committee on Development of an Addendum to the National Science Education Standards on Scientific Inquiry, Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Available for free online at: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309064767
Type of Resource Book
Content Area Science
Overview This book is a practical guide for educators using inquiry in their classrooms. It contains pertinent research on inquiry and outlines actions they can take.
Highlights The book’s “Images of Inquiry in K–12 Classrooms” chapter offers middle school examples of inquiry in science, and the “Frequently Asked Questions about Inquiry” chapter provides useful answers with direct classroom applications.
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. (2005). Focus on effectiveness: Research-based strategies. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.netc.org/focus/strategies/
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This online resource—based on the work of Robert J. Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane E. Pollock, the authors of Classroom Instruction that Works (ASCD, 2001)—offers 12 research-based strategies to improve student achievement.
Highlights The resource succinctly summarizes the research on each of the 12 strategies. It also offers examples of how teachers can bring these strategies into their classrooms.
Protheroe, N. (2007). What does good math instruction look like? National Association of Elementary School Principals. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.naesp.org/resources/2/Principal/2007/S-Op51.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Math
Overview This four-page research report discusses findings related to instructional strategies in mathematics.
Highlights The report’s author advocates for hands-on learning in mathematics and describes what teachers can do to promote students’ math achievement.
Tanner, B., Bottoms, G., Feagin, C., & Bearman, A. (2003). Instructional strategies: How teachers teach matters. Southern Regional Education Board. Retrieved [2009], from http://publications.sreb.org/2001/01V23_Instructional_Strategies.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This 44-page teaching guide explores a variety of instructional strategies designed to help students take responsibility for their learning.
Highlights The guide’s “Student-Centered Learning” section explores a broad variety of strategies and considers how they play out in several content area classrooms.
Black P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139–148. Retrieved [2014], from http://www.spd.dcu.ie/site/teaching_today/documents/Raisingstandardsthroughclassroomassessment.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article has a useful review of research on the role and value of formative assessment.
Highlights The article asserts that formative assessment is at “the heart of effective teaching.” From their review of the research, the authors found that this kind of assessment helps raise student performance. They offer four steps schools can take to improve their use of formative assessment.
Council of Chief State School Officers. (2008). Attributes of effective formative assessment. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Publications/Attributes_of_Effective_Formative_Assessment.html
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This paper defines formative assessment and describes five key aspects of this approach to supporting learning.
Highlights The paper explains why it is vital for students to take part in assessment. It also gives examples of each of the key aspects of effective formative assessment.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation. (2009). Core concept: Comprehensive assessment. Edutopia. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.edutopia.org/assessment
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This webpage offers a close-up look at comprehensive assessment that boosts learning and outcomes.
Highlights The webpage links to a rich array of videos and readings. The videos introduce, as well as deeply explore, assessment. In one video, Howard Gardner discusses the topic.
Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. Formative and summative assessments in the classroom. Retrieved [2014], from http://standardslearning.pbworks.com/f/Formative+and+Summative+Assessments+in+the+Classroom.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article defines and describes formative and summative ways to measure student learning.
Highlights The article argues that middle school teachers need to use both types of assessment in their work with students. The authors note that when teachers use both forms, they gain a full understanding of each student’s growth and needs. They suggest several ways to formatively assess students’ knowledge.
Mueller, J. (2008). Authentic assessment toolbox. Retrieved [2009], from http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whatisit.htm
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This webpage has a clear and succinct overview of authentic assessment. The author defines this type of assessment and compares it to traditional assessment.
Highlights The webpage’s author defines this approach and compares it to traditional forms. He describes rubrics and portfolios, and links to many authentic assessment tasks. He also links to tools that help teachers use authentic assessment.
Stiggins, R., Arter, J., Chappuis, S., & Chappuis, J. (2007). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right—using it well. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Available for purchase at: http://www.assessmentinst.com/classroom-assessment-for-student-learning-doing-it-right-using-it-well/
Type of Resource Book
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This set of resources defines and clarifies what formative assessments are and how they can improve student learning.
Highlights The set of resources features a workbook, a CD-ROM, and a DVD that offer practical examples of how to create and use formative assessments. It includes video footage of teachers and students engaged in the process.
Wiggins, G. (2006). Healthier testing made easy: The idea of authentic assessment. Edutopia. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.edutopia.org/healthier-testing-made-easy
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article talks about the nature, role, and outcomes of authentic assessment.
Highlights The article’s author argues that the best assessment is “educative.” It should not, he points out, be “onerous.” He cites research to support his ideas that good, authentic assessments improve students’ performance, even on standardized tests. He stresses that more feedback is one of the primary benefits of ongoing, authentic assessments.
Annenberg Institute for School Reform (Producer). (1999). Critical issues in school reform. Retrieved [2009], from Annenberg Media (Distributor), http://learner.org/resources/series109.html
Type of Resource Video
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This video workshop looks at how eight schools are making strides in student achievement.
Highlights The workshop has eight video programs. Each shows one school that is boosting student achievement. The videos explore how to examine student work to improve teaching. They describe how to provide quality professional development and offer tips to help schools engage families and the community.
Beckett, M., Borman, G., Capizzano, J., Parsley, D., Ross, S., Schirm, A., & Taylor, J. (2009). Structuring out-of-school time to improve academic achievement: A practice guide (NCEE #2009-012). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved [2009], from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practiceguides/ost_pg_072109.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This guide describes how to structure out-of-school programs to help students receive the extra help they need to achieve.
Highlights The guide offers five recommendations. The authors assert that schools must make sure that out-of-school programs fit with the content students learn during school. Schools must attract and maintain student’ participation in programs, adapting instruction to fit the needs of individuals and small groups. They must provide engaging learning experiences and assess each program’s performance, using the results to improve the quality of the program. Authors cite the research base for each recommendation and offer useful tips to help schools act on them.
Center for Applied Special Technology, National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (2011). UDL guidelines: Introduction. Retrieved [2011], from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This website details the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework for designing curriculum and instruction that allow all students to succeed in school.
Highlights The website’s tools help teachers use the three key principles of UDL, which emphasize the importance of developing curriculum that can be customized to meet students’ individual needs. Included on the website is the UDL Lesson Builder (http://lessonbuilder.cast.org). The Lesson Builder shows teachers how to create and adapt lessons that apply the principles of UDL to ensure that all students take part in and benefit from learning.
Chenoweth, K. (2007). “It’s being done.” Academic success in unexpected schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Available for purchase at: http://www.hepg.org/hep/book/65/ItSBeingDone
Type of Resource Book
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This book describes 15 schools where children of color and poor children do better than their peers in other schools.
Highlights The book’s author asks, “Can schools help all children succeed at high levels?” She goes on to talk about what 15 schools do to support students. These schools: hold high expectations for all students; stress project-based learning; and emphasize literacy in all classrooms.
Elmore, R. F. (2002). Bridging the gap between standards and achievement. The imperative for professional development in education. Albert Shanker Institute. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.shankerinstitute.org/publications/bridging-the-gap/
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article argues that all schools must have sound professional learning for staff, as well as high standards for students, to raise achievement.
Highlights The article takes a close look at professional development. The author starts by comparing ideal professional development with that which most schools offer now. He goes on to discuss how professional development can work to improve student outcomes.
Haycock, K. (2001, March). Closing the achievement gap. Educational Leadership, 58(6), 6–11. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/mar01/vol58/num06/Closing_the_Achievement_Gap.aspx
Type of Resource Online resource
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This article details what schools must do to boost the learning outcomes of minority and low-income students.
Highlights The article reviews the research on student achievement. The author profiles four key lessons that emerge. She suggests that schools can improve student outcomes through high standards, challenging curriculum, extra help for students, and strong teachers.
Johnson, D., & Rudolph, A. (2001). Critical issue: Beyond social promotion and retention—Five strategies to help students succeed. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/atrisk/at800.htm
Type of Resource Online resource with video
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This webpage discusses: How can schools help all students succeed?
Highlights The webpage describes five things that schools can do instead of retaining and socially promoting students who need help. The authors note that schools should intensify learning and make sure they offer professional development to build teachers’ skills. They also suggest that schools expand learning options, assess students to inform teachers, and intervene early and often. They provide research and concrete examples to help make their points and link to more information on each topic. Also featured: videos with comments from educators.
Public Agenda. (2005). Helping all students succeed in a diverse society. A Public Agenda citizen homework guide for community conversations, classrooms, study groups and individuals. Retrieved [2009], from http://www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/helping_all_students.pdf
Type of Resource PDF
Content Area Interdisciplinary
Overview This guide seeks to start and sustain a community dialogue about how to help all students succeed.
Highlights The guide describes three ways to improve student achievement. The approaches include raising academic standards and expectations, involving parents and the community, and ensuring a safe and respectful learning environment. The guide briefly explains each approach. It offers group discussion questions and questions to help groups move from talking about the approaches to using them.

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