Page 1

ANNUAL

REPORT


R E S E A RC H & C U R R I C U LU M U N I T

Assessment The RCU researches, develops, and disseminates statewide assessments for all secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs in Mississippi, including alternative methods such as performancebased assessment and national certifications.

FY '19* Facts Developed

346

secondary & postsecondary assessments

Tested

30,593

students electronically with MS-CPAS assessments

2,492  High school CTE students earned

national certifications

99.5

%

of assessments met the benchmark in reliability testing

Coordinated performance-based assessments in CTE pathways, affecting

4

103 districts & 477 students

RCU Redesigns MATT, My Way Mississippi Websites In Fiscal Year 2019-2020, the RCU supported the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) in the revision of the Mississippi Articulation and Transfer Tool (MATT) and My Way Mississippi website—two tools that assist students interested in transferring from a community college to a Mississippi public university or between universities without loss of credit. As part of the three-year agreement that was completed in June 2020, RCU Research Professor Sean Owen and Project Manager Bhanupriya Shanmugam oversaw the redesign and addition of new features to My Way Mississippi and the MATT, incorporating the 2019-2021 articulation agreement that was approved in early 2020 by the IHL and community colleges’ chief academic officers. The redeveloped MATT, which was made available to students and faculty in August 2020, guides students through an eight-step process similar to the initial college application process. Students can explore degrees or majors offered at the universities and begin the process of building a transfer guide. The tool also walks students through the various types of transfers, the process for acquiring transcripts, requirements and deadlines for transfer applications, the admissions process, and applying for financial aid. While the main purpose of the MATT is to ensure postsecondary students can graduate with an associate degree and transfer to one of the state’s public universities without loss of credit, the redesigned tool added academic degree filter options for K-12 career clusters and community college pathways to assist high school counselors in guiding students toward postsecondary majors and careers. The My Way Mississippi website can be found at mywayms.org, and the MATT can be accessed at matttransfertool.com. *The MS-CPAS was not administered in the spring of 2020 after the Mississippi State Board of Education suspended all federal and state requirements of the Mississippi Statewide Assessment System in March. 2


2 0 2 0 A N N UA L R E P O R T

Curriculum The RCU, in partnership with educators and industry leaders, creates course content for Mississippi’s CTE pathways that combines academic rigor with real-world relevance. The RCU also provides curricula for K-12 science, social studies, and computer science in Mississippi.

RCU, Ingalls Create Shipbuilding Academy Curriculum RCU collaboration with one of the largest shipbuilders in the world and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) resulted in the development of a curriculum that will help the Ingalls Shipbuilder Academy (ISA) provide state-recognized credentials and college credit. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) implemented the Shipbuilding Academy curriculum for the 2020-2021 academic year after it was presented to the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) in January. The curriculum supports the ISA, a one-year CTE program launched in 2016 and taught at the Haley Reeves Barbour Maritime Training Academy at Ingalls in Pascagoula and the Gaston Point College and Career Readiness Institute in Gulfport, by providing high school seniors in area school districts industry-specific training, national certifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), CTE credit from MGCCC, and a pipeline to future employment with Ingalls Shipbuilding. With NCCER-aligned objectives already in place in the ISA, much of the curriculum writing focused on aligning new pieces, such as student organizations and interpersonal and employability skills, to NCCER certification standards taught to students in two core track options: shipbuilding and naval architecture. Those needing an NCCER core start with the shipbuilding track that focuses on interpersonal and employability skills, student organizations, and introductions to topics such as construction math, hand and power tools, construction drawings, and materials handling and basic rigging. Students who have already completed an NCCER core go into the naval architecture track that begins with an introduction to shipbuilding and blueprint reading. The track also includes units on ship construction and a shipbuilding project. After finishing those two core tracks, students move into a shipbuilder exploration track that includes NCCER-aligned objectives including welding, sheet metal, industrial coating, insulation, electrical, and support crafts. The state-approved curriculum opens opportunity for implementation in other areas, providing additional opportunities for the RCU, the MDE, and one of the state’s top industries to partner in building a strong future workforce for local and state economies. 3

FY '20 Facts

75 18

instructors and

industry representatives served on curriculumwriting teams

10

Curricula Revised

and up for approval by the State Board of Education to go into effect the 2021-2022 academic year:

•  Advanced Manufacturing •  Computer Science and Engineering •  Digital Media Technology •  Food Products (Meats) •  Forestry •  Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning •  Horticulture •  Industrial Maintenance •  Keystone •  Television and Broadcasting “Curricula aligned to national standards, written with input from current classroom teachers, and vetted by industry members from across the state are key to giving students and teachers the rich, practical experience they need in a high-quality CTE program.” ~ Sam Watts, Curriculum Manager


R E S E A RC H & C U R R I C U LU M U N I T

School Innovations & The RCU's school innovations team supports schools to prompt rapid, substantial progress based on six foundational design principles: college and career readiness, learning and instruction, student culture and personalization, collegiality and professionalism, purposeful leadership, and innovative design.

FY '20 Facts School Innovations

Professional Learning

43

Hosted the third annual Innovative Institute, which was attended by approximately

Offered different online professional development courses

293

Supported

education stakeholders from across Mississippi

Supported

15

6&

22,293

users of the Canvas learning management system

65

early college high schools,

middle college programs

6

districts of innovation

new CTE teachers successfully completed the New Teacher Induction program

805

Events hosted by the RCU school innovations team:

professional development

course completers

• Leadership Summit • Innovative Institute • Learners Leading: Strategies for Student Engagement • Coach University • Leadership Assembly

Registered

1,133

MS ACTE Summer Conference attendees and provided attendees 197 informative sessions 4


2 0 2 0 A N N UA L R E P O R T

Professional Learning From facilitating online learning to delivering conferences with more than 1,000 attendees, the RCU helps educators perfect the craft of teaching by providing professional development for teachers, counselors, and administrators using versatile teaching styles and delivery methods.

RCU Provides Online Professional Development During Pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic altered professional learning opportunities in 2020, but the RCU successfully supported the MDE transitions of two professional development opportunities—the Innovative Institute and New Teacher Induction (NTI)—to virtual events. Originally planned as a two-day conference to be held in Meridian for the first time, the Innovative Institute ultimately became a one-day, online conference. Almost 300 attendees joined the conference for a full slate of sessions designed to improve educational outcomes for all students through Attendees of the virtual Innovative Institute enjoyed a keynote session delivered by new strategies and thinking. Attendees also participated in author George Couros. a keynote session with innovative thinking, teaching, and learning leader George Couros. Couros personalized his inspiring message on the importance of building strong educator-student relationships by inviting attendees to submit quotes that he incorporated into his keynote. Although he planned to join everyone in person, the switch to a virtual format exemplified what it means to be innovative, as educators were preparing to possibly begin the new school year in virtual classrooms. While the challenge of navigating education during a worldwide pandemic is daunting for educators of any experience level, more than 60 new CTE teachers in the eighth NTI graduates participated in a virtual graduation ceremony on June 12. NTI cohort completed the final two weeks of the program online after starting the journey in person a year earlier. NTI instructors and participants joined each other virtually and utilized online assignments to prepare for teaching in the upcoming school year. The move online allowed the cohort to conduct classroom demonstrations geared toward an online audience. They also participated in a series of pathway-specific virtual field trips and discussed ways to better adapt curricula for an enhanced virtual learning experience before graduating virtually in June. The new teachers were welcomed to their commencement ceremony by surprise speaker Marcia Tate, who presented insight and encouragement from her book Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites. The cohort previously used her book as a study guide throughout the year. Although plans for the two RCU-led professional development programs changed because of a pandemic, educators and new teachers still joined together and collaborated on how they can best serve students during uncertain times. 5


R E S E A RC H & C U R R I C U LU M U N I T

Communication, Research, & Evaluation The RCU strives to convey Mississippi's education story through a number of communication methods, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube social media channels, magazines published in partnership with the MDE, webinars, the dissemination of research briefs, and other design and editorial projects.

FY '20 Facts

RCU Researchers Complete Two Major Evaluations in FY '20 In Fiscal Year 2019-2020, the RCU conducted two major evaluations of important educational tools for its external partners. From 2015-2020, researchers collected data from the Teacher Knowledge of Early Literacy Skills (TKELS) survey, administered to Mississippi general education and special education K-3 educators, to conduct a study for the MDE’s Office of Special Education to measure K-3 teachers’ knowledge of early literacy skills and to determine whether K-3 teachers’ knowledge of teaching those skills increased because of early literacy training. The study also compared special education and general education teachers’ knowledge of early literacy skills instruction. Beginning in 2016, the TKELS survey started collecting information regarding the level of Language Essentials for Teaching Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training teachers attended. Results indicated the difference in mean TKELS scores for surveyed special education and general education teachers was only significant in the 2016-2017 school year. Teachers who engaged in one or more levels of training scored higher than those who had no LETRS training. Researchers also assessed the degree to which the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service, a National Science Foundation grant that supports MSU students with scholarships for cybersecurity education, is achieving its goals as set forth in its 2017 grant proposal. These goals include recruitment from under-represented groups, students’ preparation for employment, and actual employment obtainment in government service. Evidence from the evaluation indicated that the program continues to meet its goals.

Completed

367

design and editorial projects

2

issues of Connections featuring K-12 schools in Mississippi S N counties TIO NNEC

CO

volume

18 | issue

2|

9

fall 201

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37

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..... p. 4

jo�

Conducted webinars to assist CTE educators in promoting their programs, which were viewed

6 6

327 times


2 0 2 0 A N N UA L R E P O R T

Center for Cyber Education The RCU's Center for Cyber Education (CCE) works to enhance computer science education in the state’s K-12 schools through developing curricula, training teachers, and increasing awareness and access to cyber education resources.

FY '20 Facts The number of 7-12 grade students taking a computer science (CS) course nearly tripled from

7,237

in school year '17-18 to

19,045 in school year '19-20, a 163% increase

71 

students completed Year 1 of the new C Spire Software Development Pathway Program

355

additional CS teachers were trained in school year '19-20

RCU Assists State Transition to New Middle School Computer Science Curricula Computer Science for Mississippi (CS4MS), an initiative led by the CCE in partnership with the MDE, expanded its influence this fiscal year with the approval of a new set of curricula designed to equip all students with computing and technology skills essential in today’s workforce and the jobs of tomorrow. The first phase begins in fall 2020 as school districts across the state transition to Cyber Foundations (CF) I for middle school students in place of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) I and Technology Foundations. For students in sixth grade and up, CF I begins laying a strong foundation of basic technology and computing skills essential to growing critical thinking skills and adapting to technological changes in areas such as digital citizenship, technology applications, career exploration, and fundamental computing concepts. The second phase of the curricula transition will begin in the 2021-2022 academic year with CF II replacing ICT II for students starting in seventh grade. CF II will build on skills learned in CF I by exploring new content areas such as databases, graphic design, mobile application development, and microcontroller programming. In addition to the new curricula, the SBE approved the 933 Computer Science Endorsement—created by the MDE Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development—that will be required for educators seeking to teach CF I and II. The addition of the computer science content to technology curricula comes at the culmination of the CS4MS pilot program that provided schools the opportunity to sample the new computer science content curricula frameworks initiated by the CCE, which is housed at the RCU. Throughout the pilot period that began in 2017, participating schools provided feedback to the writing team on how to further improve the content—based on the Mississippi K-12 computer science standards—to meet the needs of all students in the state. The writing team reviewed suggestions and prepared and submitted the final curricula that was approved by the SBE in spring 2020. Shelly Hollis, the assistant director of the CCE, said the approval of the new curricula is a milestone achievement as Mississippi becomes one of the first states to establish curricula focused at the middle school level.

7


R E S E A RC H & C U R R I C U LU M U N I T

RCU Leads GEAR UP Grant

In September 2019, the RCU was named the lead center for a U.S. Department of Education Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant, a seven-year, $27.9 million grant awarded to RCU Project Manager Judy Middleton (back row, second from right), along with middle and high school math Mississippi State University to prepare lowteachers, instructional coaches, district-level math specialists, income students to enter and succeed in and high school principals from the Greenville, McComb, postsecondary education. and Meridian school districts, attended a Solution Treeproduced Professional Learning Communities Institute Through the grant, the RCU will support math educators conference in Atlanta in December 2019 as the Greenville, McComb, and Meridian school part of the GEAR UP Mississippi grant. districts in providing benefits for high school students aspiring to attend college in Mississippi, including awarding graduating students in those districts a $3,500 scholarship for the first year at a local postsecondary institution. In its role as the lead center, the RCU oversees the implementation and staffing for all professional learning services and supports principal investigator Carol Cutler White, an assistant professor in the MSU College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership. MSU is partnering with the MDE, the IHL, the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, and ACT, Inc., on GEAR UP Mississippi. GEAR UP Mississippi’s goal is to identify a cohort of students in the partner school districts and work with them, beginning at the middle school level, to increase academic performance, Through the GEAR UP Mississippi grant, the RCU supports the high school graduation rates, enrollment in postsecondary education, and knowledge of Greenville, McComb, and Meridian postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing. school districts. RCU Project Manager Judy Middleton oversees the GEAR UP grant for the RCU and works closely with the school districts as they aim to strengthen academic outcomes and provide opportunities for career exploration. Since work on the grant began in December 2019, teachers and administrators from the three districts traveled to Atlanta for a mathematics professional development conference focused on creating mathematics professional learning communities. In February, middle and high school math teachers in the Greenville Public School District learned about Desmos, a free suite of math software tools that are built into many state-level assessments and digital college entrance exams, from Lamar County School District math instructor Shauna Hedgepeth. The COVID-19 pandemic that forced the statewide closure of schools postponed the grant’s planned kickoff activities to the fall. Scheduled fall activities through the grant include Get2College seminars, which will walk approximately 600 seniors through completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, filling out college applications, and taking the ACT; distributing GEAR UP kickoff boxes for students in grades 8-12; weekly math coaching sessions for math coaches, district curriculum instructors, and lead teachers; online professional development for counselors; and ACT training for teachers. The GEAR UP Mississippi initiatives will impact more than 4,000 students in nine schools in the three districts, but some of the grant’s initiatives will also impact students outside of those districts. GEAR UP project partners will develop a virtual reality tour app that includes all of Mississippi’s public university and community colleges, as well as eight key industries. A chatbot will also provide 24/7 responses to common state and federal financial aid questions. The Woodward Hines Education Foundation will provide financial aid application support for students and families and manage statewide ACT test-prep services, and the RCU will work with the MDE to provide targeted teacher training and STEM outreach. For more on the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP grant program, visit ed.gov/gearup/index.html. 8


2 0 2 0 A N N UA L R E P O R T

GEAR UP Mississippi Through the U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant, the RCU partners with the Mississippi State University College of Education to provide support to three Mississippi school districts to increase their students' academic performance, graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment.

FY '20 Facts

$27.9 million 7 awarded to MSU over

 

$3,500

Over

4,000 

years



scholarship A awarded to graduating students in each supported district

students will be impacted by GEAR UP Mississippi initiatives

Approximately

600 

high school seniors will receive assistance with college and financial aid application processes in fall 2020

Operations FY '20 Facts Responded to a total of

The operations team supports the RCU by assisting clients via our online Help Desk system with needs such as the creation of design projects, online course modules, and rosters for testing. The RCU also manages a print shop that services the MDE and the state's career and technical student organizations.

6,565 help desk tickets

Processed

395

print requests

 15,017 total pages printed

9

Processed

294

visits by RCU staff to Mississippi schools


R E S E A RC H & C U R R I C U LU M U N I T

Funding Summary Research and Curriculum Unit GEAR UP Mississippi �������������������������������� $3,713,067 Mississippi Department of Education (Combined Contract) �������������������������������� $2,860,000 Career and Technical Education ������������������������$2,181,000

Gear Up

IHL

Ge

ar

Up

MSC

Secondary Education ���������������������������������������������$305,000 I

HL

Special Education �������������������������������������������������� $255,000

SPE

Office of School Improvement ������������������������������$119,000 M

SC

PA

S Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning �������������������������������������� $117,781 S PE

D

Mississippi Career Planning and Assessment System ��������������������������� $1,301,874 OS

I

Other Funding Sources

Mississippi Development Authority ������������������������$16,122 S

ec on

OSI

da APL/Educause ���������������������������������������������������������� $15,000 ry MS

D

SPE

CT MDE Grant Writing �������������������������������������������������� $10,409 E IHL

S

CPA

Center for Cyber Education r Up

Gea

Computer Science for Mississippi (CS4MS) Appropriation �������������������������������������������������� $300,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CS4All ������������������� $770,721 CS4MS ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������$608,625 CS4MS (Participant Costs Only) �����������������������������������������������������$103,881

C

Sp CS4MS (MSU College of Education Only) ����������������������������������������$58,215 i re

NSF—Collaborative Research: Identifying Participation Co Barriers to CS Education in Rural Mississippi ��������������� $266,496 de .or g

Delta �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������$170,536 AP

D

L

elt MD Delta (Participant Costs Only) ���������������������������������������������������������$95,960 a A (Pa

r

Gr an t

ipant Costs

Only)

tic CS Code.org ������������������������������������������������������������������������� $143,655 ipa 4MS (Partic

De

nt Co sts C Spire ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� $550,000 ) lta

CS

4M

CS

All Grants & Contracts:

S( Co ll

4M

eg

S(

Pa

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10

fE dO

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$10,023,594

OS

S


Staff

National Presentations

ADMINISTRATION Betsey Smith �������������������������������������������������������������������������� Director

•  Thames, C., Alexander, B., Owen, S., & Adam, M. (2019, October). Improving teacher literacy through performance assessment scoring calibration. Presentation at the 2019 CREATE Conference. High Point, NC.

As of Oct. 14, 2020

ASSESSMENT Sean Owen ����������������������������������������������������������������Research Professor Ben Alexander ������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Riesa Blackwell ������������������������������������������������������������ Project Manager Brian Dorsey ��������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Bhanupriya Shanmugam ��������������������������������������������� Project Manager Cliff Thames ���������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager

•  Thames, C., Alexander, B., & Adam, M. (2019, October). Increasing CTE teachers’ assessment literacy through professional development. Presentation at the 2019 CREATE Conference. High Point, NC.

BUSINESS/OPERATIONS Pam Stafford ���������������������������������������������������������Business Manager II Joseph Dudgeon ����������������������������������������������������� Project Coordinator Lynn Eiland �����������������������������������������Project Manager - Rehire Retiree Chris Gotwald ������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Courtney Martin �����������������������������������������������������������������Accountant Mhaire Nickels ������������������������������������������������������������������� Receptionist Caitlyn Powell ��������������������������������������������������������������� Office Associate Romika Sudduth-Conley ���������������������������������������� Project Coordinator

•  Thames, C., Alexander, B., & Adam, M. (2019, October). Research findings related to the new practice tests offered for Mississippi’s CTE MS-CPAS assessments. Presentation at the 2019 CREATE Conference. High Point, NC.

CENTER FOR CYBER EDUCATION Shelly Hollis ��������������������������������������������������������������Assistant Director Heather McCormick ���������������������������������������������� Project Coordinator Will Graves ��������������������������������������������������������������Graduate Assistant

•  Hollis, S. & Long, L. (2020, February). Add-on computer science endorsements: A community effort. Presentation at the 2020 RESPECT conference. Virtual.

COMMUNICATIONS, RESEARCH, & EVALUATION Brock Turnipseed �����������������Marketing and Communications Manager Heather Craig ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� Editor Amanda Gronewold �������������������������������� Communications Coordinator Carl Smith �����������������������������������������������������������������Managing Editor

Special Recognition

CURRICULUM Sam Watts ������������������������������������������������������������������ Project Manager Angie Davis ����������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Melissa Luckett ��������������������������������������� Instructional Design Specialist Courtney McCubbins ������������������������������������������������� Project Manager JoAnn Watts ���������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager GEAR UP MISSISSIPPI Judy Middleton ����������������������������������������������������������� Project Director PROFESSIONAL LEARNING & SCHOOL INNOVATION Myra Pannell ������������������������������������������������������������ Associate Director Annabelle Alsobrooks ��������������������������������������������� Intermittent Worker Suzanne Bean ���������������������������������������Project Manager - Rehire Retiree Jenny Campbell ����������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager LaNel Kellum ��������������������������������������Project Manager - Rehire Retiree Cindy Ming ���������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Denise Sibley ��������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager Ginger Tedder ������������������������������������������������������������� Project Manager

+45 additional intermittent/rehire retiree employees/trainers

•  Hollis, S. (2020, February). Rural RPPs: Going from the middle of nowhere to getting somewhere. Presentation at the 2020 RESPECT conference. Virtual.

Sean Owen was elected president of the Consortium for Research Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) in February 2020. In his role, Owen helps guide CREATE, a sponsoring organization of the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, in its continued purpose of “facilitating learning through educational assessment and teaching effectiveness.” Owen will serve a two-year term. Shelly Hollis was nominated for an Ada Lovelace STEM Educator Award in April 2020. The Ada Lovelace Awards highlight women and their contributions to technology-based education in the South and also recognizes digital marketers, software engineers, product managers, product designers, and tech founders. Michelle Taylor was elected as International Society for Business Education (ISBE) director to the National Business Education Association (NBEA) board in May 2020. In her three-year term that begins July 1, Taylor will be a voting member of the ISBE and NBEA boards, and she will serve as the international representative for both boards at the national convention and all board meetings.