WestEd researchers and their colleagues will be presenting at the Annual California Educational Research Association (CERA) Conference scheduled for November 13–15, 2023, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
The conference theme this year is Educational Research: Guiding the Way Forward.
WestEd’s experts will present on a range of topics related to learning acceleration, closing of opportunity gaps, and the whole person, including the following:
- Identifying Multilingual Learners With Disabilities
- Postsecondary Readiness
- Bolstering District Assessment Practices
- Workforce Development
CERA (the California Educational Research Association) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on education research and data analysis to inform instructional decisions. Its annual conference brings together data leaders from across California to share ideas and improve practices.
Add WestEd’s presentations to your conference calendar, and visit the WestEd exhibit table to meet staff, pick up recent publications, and learn about WestEd career opportunities.
Tuesday, November 14
Session: Local Pre-Referral Processes for Multilingual Children Who Might Have Disabilities in California State Preschool Programs
Time: 10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Presenters: Elizabeth Burr (WestEd) and Alyssa Perez (WestEd)
Part 1 of this session will situate recent data on young multilingual learners and children with disabilities, including those who are dually-identified, in the context of Universal Prekindergarten. It will describe the findings of a recent study that involved in-depth interviews with county- and district-level coordinators with key information and expertise related to early childhood education, multilingual learners, and special education.
Part 2 of the session will delve further into the practice and policy landscape regarding young multilingual learners with disabilities, noting trends, challenges, and opportunities related to the educator workforce, collaboration across disciplines, and engagement with families. Session attendees will have an opportunity to participate in an activity that connects the study recommendations with the practitioners’ first-hand experience.
Session: Amplifying Community Engagement for Continuous Improvement
Time: 10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Presenters: David Toston (California Collaborative for Educational Excellence) and Amber Valdez (WestEd)
This session delves into the principles and practices adopted by the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI), contextualized within the Dual Capacity-Building Framework and the Participatory Systems Change for Equity Approach.
Part 1 of the session will address capacity building in communities and districts, drawing on real-life case studies from CEI. Part 2 will use a Participatory Systems Change for Equity Approach to explore the value of peer-to-peer partnerships that form a robust network, driving systemic change and tackling educational disparities. In both parts, attendees will learn strategies to create and nurture enduring partnerships in their contexts.
The third part of the session explores CEI’s efforts to scale up effective practices to improve community engagement statewide. Utilizing the Peer Leading and Learning Network (PLLN) learnings, it will explore how these initiatives can be expanded for broader community engagement and integrated into continuous improvement efforts.
Session: Demystifying and Exploring the CAASPP/ELPAC Student Score Data Files
Time: 12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Presenters: Jacob Pence and Joe Valero (WestEd)
Student score data files contain information beyond the scale score and achievement levels that have a direct impact on accountability and instructional decision-making! In this session, participants will engage in a hands-on exploration of the raw student score data files found in both the ELPAC and CAASPP Test Operations Management Systems.
Participants will leave with an improved understanding of the data within the files, the connection to accountability, and tools to transition data from inert to insightful. Participants will also have an opportunity to collaborate with peers to better apply data to the task of improving student outcomes.
Session: Research Evidence to Support Alternate ELPAC in Reclassification Decisions
Time: 12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Presenters: Kelly Bacher, Patricia Baron, Alesha Moreno-Ramirez, and Molly Faulkner-Bond (WestEd)
The development of the Summative Alternate ELPAC for English Learner (EL) students with the most significant cognitive disabilities helps standardize students’ reclassification experiences.
This session evaluates results from two studies conducted by the California Department of Education to evaluate whether to maintain the interim guidance of using the threshold score of Fluent English Proficient (Level 3) on the Summative Alternate ELPAC to serve as the first of four criteria in reclassification decisions. The session evaluates results across multiple methods, presenting complete results as well as limitations, considerations, and conclusions.
Wednesday, November 15
Session: Accountability for Postsecondary Readiness: A 50-State Analysis
Time: 8:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Presenters: Eric Crane (WestEd), Mitch Herz (WestEd), and Lamar Johnson (WestEd)
Forty-one states include some form of college and career readiness indicator (CCRI) in their state accountability systems. This session will discuss a review of these CCRIs and the underlying measures that support them in response to a request by the California Department of Education.
This session will discuss the function, strengths, and weaknesses of the “College/Career Indicator” that California has included in its California School Dashboard. It will also discuss the team’s review of other state websites and plans that included CCRI information, examining whether states included academic, career/technical, or military readiness measures in their indicators and analyzing data on how CCRI was weighted in the various systems.
The session will end with a discussion of the consequences of the findings for California’‘s CCI and some possible options for new data collection and new measures. Throughout the session, participants will engage in reflection activities about measuring readiness for college, career, and life.
Session: The Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum: Positive Impact on High School English Achievement
Time: 8:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Presenters: Lisa Benham-Lewis, Tony Fong (WestEd), and Mariam Ogle
The Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) is a college-preparatory English language arts curriculum developed by California State University that improves students’ readiness for college-level English and future careers through the in-depth study of expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing.
Through an Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant from the U.S. Department of Education acquired by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS), WestEd conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that evaluated the ERWC’s impact on student achievement in the Evaluation Year.
This session will be held as small group discussions tailored to the attendees’ interests, with the final third of the session reserved for discussion. Practitioners can learn about the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum, understand the research behind it, or discuss current English course offerings and whether they meet students’ needs. Researchers could learn ways to overcome RCT challenges. Dr. Tony Fong is certified in What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) group design standards version 5.0 and could field questions about how to ensure studies meet WWC’s standards.
Session: Collaborative Research to Evaluate and Bolster District Assessment Practices
Time: 9:45 a.m.–10: 45 a.m.
Presenters: Emily Wolk, Markie Zainal (WestEd), Michele Cunha, and Tiffany Katanyoutanant (WestEd)
Working collaboratively with WestEd researchers, the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) developed a research plan designed to collect comprehensive insights that would inform systemic district supports for assessment literacy and data use. These supports focused on bolstering educators’ assessment literacy and building their capacity to effectively use assessment data to inform high-quality and responsive instruction. Understanding the scope of the schools’ assessment practices is important for driving accurate district decision-making and designed supports for assessment literacy and data use for instructional improvement.
The session discussion will include strategies for engaging local educational partners at all levels, leveraging local context to design and implement evaluative research methods, completing a districtwide assessment inventory data collection, and collecting qualitative data on assessment practices.
Session: Guiding EdTech Online Usability Studies Forward in a Post-COVID Age: Best Practices & Pitfalls
Time: 9:45 a.m.–10: 45 a.m.
Presenters: Eunice Chow (WestEd) and Sharon Herpin (WestEd)
This session will focus on best practices and learnings gleaned from conducting usability studies online during the pandemic, when WestEd partnered with several EdTech developers and conducted a series of usability studies on new EdTech products targeting K–5th graders (funded by the Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research Program).
The presentation will delve into several case studies of usability testing conducted on EdTech products, including a new music education product designed for elementary school students and an online language assessment for K–2 students that evaluates phonological awareness. The session will also present findings of the conducted usability studies to allow attendees to experience the full research cycle, from usability study design to the evangelization of research findings.
This presentation is designed for elementary school teachers and educators interested in EdTech-research partnerships and researchers interested in conducting formative evaluation and usability studies, especially online. The session will explore usability design and user sampling; best practices for online facilitation; technological considerations, including software use and recording; how to keep young learners engaged, especially in a digital setting; protocol development; and pitfalls to avoid.
Session: Supporting Adult College Completion Through Continuous Improvement
Time: 9:45 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Presenters: Mary Rauner (WestEd), Kate Mahar, and Beth Hart (WestEd)
More than 6.6 million Californians have left before completing a college degree or certificate, and California is at risk of falling short of meeting the state’s workforce demand. The Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West) at WestEd established the California Adult College Completion Partnership (CACCP) to address this need.
Six higher education institutions in Northern California—four community colleges and two colleges from the California State University system—are identifying students with some college but no credential, implementing strategies to reengage adults and support them to complete college, and using data and evidence to engage in a continuous improvement process to improve their strategies over time. The presenters will describe the strategies being implemented at each institution and how they conduct data collection and analysis using continuous improvement methodologies. The team will share initial findings and lessons learned from this ongoing project.
During the presentations, each presenter will incorporate interactive elements. After the presentations, there will be an interactive question–answer period.