LEARNING-FOCUSED Research

For over twenty years, the Learning-Focused Model has continued to improve with the latest educational, brain, learning style, and instructional practices research. Much of the original research for the model is referenced here:

Additionally, the research of Robert Marzano, MCREL, Douglas Reeves, the Pew Educational Forum projects, and the US DOE Evaluation Consortium has provided the basis for the model updates over the past ten years.

Robert Marzano and the USDOE have provided us with an extensive research base for instructional practices:

Douglas Reeves and The Leadership and Learning Center (http://www.leadandlearn.com/90-90-90) conducted extensive research on practices that 90/90/90 (exemplary) schools implement on a consistent and pervasive basis that typical schools do not.

Studies presented in Educational Leadership (ASCD) in the 1990s started the Learning-Focused commitment to making connections between all of the strategies and practices stated above in order to achieve maximum effectiveness on student achievement in a planning framework.

Instructional strategies research provided educators with a list of the instructional strategies most effective in student learning and achievement. Layered above all of these strategies is how and when teachers apply them in lessons, along with how the strategies are sequenced and connected. The focus of teacher planning should not be simply to choose which strategy to use in a particular lesson or unit, but to connect and sequence strategies across lessons and units to generate achievement gains well above teachers who randomly choose strategies.  These research-based strategies shape the base of the Learning-Focused lesson and unit planning model. Strategies 2-3-4-5 from the above chart are in every Learning-Focused acquisition lesson, and the first strategy, extending thinking skills, occurs 2-5 times in every Learning-Focused unit.

Is the Learning-Focused Model evidenced-based?

There have been several independent analyses conducted to provide evidence of the effectiveness of the Learning-Focused Model.  These meet the criteria set by the US DOE for “evidence-based blind studies”.  A few of the analyses have looked at individual schools, while others have examined data across many schools, and another one examined the data by individual teachers.

Study 1: The largest study concerned 57 schools across 4 school districts in 3 different states.  All of the teachers were trained in the 2003 – 2004 school year on the following Learning-Focused strategies:

  • Prioritize and map the curriculum

  • Learning-Focused lessons and units

  • Acceleration and Scaffolding with students with disabilities and at-risk learners

  • Reading comprehension strategies and reading assignments

  • Learning-Focused Math

The range of the schools’ student populations:

  • 63% - 89% Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals

  • 47% - 63% African-American

  • 20% - 50% Caucasian

  • 12% - 46% Hispanic

Average Percentage of Students Meeting or Exceeding Standards

57 Schools - 4 Districts - 3 States


Learning-Focused Training

Learning-Focused in all classrooms


Reading

2004

2005

2006

2 Year Gain

All

66.0%

76.0%

84.4%

18.4%

Black

56.0%

72.0%

83.3%

27.3%

Hispanic

59.2%

71.3%

82.6%

23.4%

White

74.0%

78.0%

85.3%

11.3%

SWD

53.7%

71.0%

82.4%

28.7%

Econ Dis.

65.0%

74.0%

81.8%

16.8%

Math

2004

2005

2006

2 Year Gain

All

56.0%

70.0%

79.8%

23.8%

Black

44.0%

65.0%

71.2%

27.2%

Hispanic

46.1%

66.2%

84.9%

38.8%

White

66.0%

73.0%

86.3%

20.3%

SWD

50.3%

62.0%

79.1%

28.8%

Econ Dis.

54.0%

69.0%

78.0%

24.0%

 

Study 2: Three regional area educational service agencies analyzed the Learning-Focused Model by looking at student test data by individual teachers across a total of 43 schools.  Because of the number of teachers, LFS professional development took place in cohorts across three years. Data was examined in the first full year of teaching after the training for each cohort.  Data was reported by percentage gain on previous year’s tests for each teacher.

Percent Gains On State Tests

Grades 3-5: 393 Teachers


Cohort 1

Cohort 2

Cohort 3

Reading

27%

24%

30%

Math

23%

20%

27%

Social Studies

19%

24%

24%

Science

25%

21%

26%

Grades 6-8: 268 Teachers


Cohort 1

Cohort 2

Cohort 3

Reading

21%

22%

24%

Math

17%

18%

23%

Social Studies

22%

23%

22%

Science

20%

20%

25%

Grades 9-12: 234 Teachers


Cohort 1

Cohort 2

Cohort 3

Reading

20%

18%

22%

Math

14%

16%

16%

Social Studies

20%

23%

24%

Science

21%

21%

22%

Study 3: An Individual School

Demographics:

  • 1479 students on February 1, 2007

  • 39 new teachers in 2006 – 2007 school year

  • Students: African-American: 20%; Asian: 8%; Caucasian: 3%; Hispanic: 65%

  • 92% eligible for Free/Reduced Meals

  • 75% of students do not have English as native language

  • 54% served in ESOL program

  • 601 of the 2006-2007 students were at this school in 2005-2006

  • Only 15% of 2006-2007 5th graders attended this school in 1st grade

  • 50%+ mobility rate

Monitoring/Evaluation (EVERY Classroom)

  1. Learning-Focused unit with Student Learning Maps guiding and structuring learning and Learning-Focused lesson plan

  2. Only grade-level content in all classrooms

  3. Monthly focus on reading comprehension strategies

  4. Graphic Organizers USED for writing, reading comprehension

  5. Extended reading passages for all students

  6. Collaborative planning time using the Learning-Focused planning model

  7. Student Writing samples posted and extended writing response on answering essential questions

Percent Passing State Tests:


Reading (2005 - 2006)

Reading (2006 - 2007)

% Gain

All

85%

91%

6%

Black

88%

92%

4%

Hispanic

81%

93%

12%

ESL

77%

83%

6%

SWD

67%

81%

14%

Economically Disadvantaged

84%

91%

7%

Percent Passing State Tests:


Math (2005 - 2006)

Math (2006 - 2007)

% Gain

All

91%

96%

5%

Black

90%

95%

5%

Hispanic

91%

96%

5%

ESL

88%

96%

8%

SWD

84%

94.7%

10.7%

Economically Disadvantaged

93%

96%

3%

SWD = +30 in Reading in 3 years; +45 in Math in 3 years
LEP = +31 in reading in 3 years; +44 in Math in 3 years
All other subgroups at least +15
Met AYP in all sub-groups last 4 years