• Alaska career pathways: A baseline analysis

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean; Hirshberg, Diane; LeCompte, Cathy (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-06-01)
      This report details the findings from a 2013 statewide study of career pathways (CP) and programs of study (PoS) in secondary districts in Alaska. Twenty-seven of Alaska’s 54 districts provided data around the maturity of their CP/PoS, the availability of different CP/PoS, how career planning is addressed, and the availability of courses and PoS in the Health Sciences cluster. The differences between urban and rural communities are often noted in conversations around education, programming and policy in Alaska, and the data in this report reflect this established phenomenon. The contribution of this report is in helping to demystify and contextualize some of these known differences, and to make differentiated recommendations for moving forward.
    • Alaska career pathways: A baseline analysis

      Hirshberg, Diane; DeFeo, Dayna (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/1/2014)
    • Alaska Civic Learning Assessment Project: Final Report and Policy Brief

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; Fickel, Letitia (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2006-11-01)
      In late 2002, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Carnegie Corporation of New York, in consultation with the Corporation for National and Community Service, convened a series of meetings involving some of the nation’s most distinguished and respected scholars and practitioners in the area of civic education. The purpose was to determine, based on solid data and evidence, the components of effective and feasible civic learning programs. Representing a diversity of political views, a variety of disciplines, and various approaches, these individuals shared a common vision of a richer, more comprehensive approach to civic education in the United States, notwithstanding some disagreement about aspects of how civic education should be conducted. Their final report, entitled The Civic Mission of Schools, is a compelling statement of the national landscape regarding civic learning and the critical role that schools play in fostering citizenship education. Below is an excerpt from the report’s Executive Summary: For more than 250 years, Americans have shared a vision of a democracy in which all citizens understand, appreciate, and engage actively in civic and political life. In recent decades, however, increasing numbers of Americans have disengaged from civic and political institutions such as voluntary associations, religious congregations, community-based organizations, and political and electoral activities such as voting and being informed about public issues. Young people reflect these trends: they are less likely to vote and are less interested in political discussion and public issues than either their older counterparts or young people of past decades. As a result, many young Americans may not be prepared to participate fully in our democracy now and when they become adults. Recognizing that individuals do not automatically become free and responsible citizens but must be educated for citizenship, scholars; teachers; civic leaders; local, state, and federal policymakers; and federal judges, have with the encouragement of the president of the United States, called for new strategies that can capitalize on young people’s idealism and their commitment to service and voluntarism while addressing their disengagement from political and civic institutions. One of the most promising approaches to increase young people’s informed engagement is school-based civic education. The CIRCLE report identified the following major reasons why schools are ACLAP Final Report & Policy Brief Page 2 important venues for civic education: • It is crucial for the future health of our democracy that all young people, including those who are usually marginalized, be knowledgeable, engaged in their communities and in politics, and committed to the public good. • Encouraging the development of civic skills and attitudes among young people has been an important goal of education and was the primary impetus for originally establishing public schools. • Schools are the only institutions with the capacity and mandate to reach virtually every young person in the country. Of all institutions, schools are the most systematically and directly responsible for imparting citizen norms. • Schools are best equipped to address the cognitive aspects of good citizenship—civic and political knowledge and related skills such as critical thinking and deliberation. • Schools are communities in which young people learn to interact, argue, and work together with others, an important foundation for future citizenship. As a result of the CIRCLE report, the national Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CCMS) was launched in 2004, funded by the Carnegie Corp and the Knight Foundation (www.civicmissionofschools.org). The CCMS campaign is working with coalition members and advocates across the political spectrum to dramatically elevate civic learning as an educational priority. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to ensure that schools in the U.S. provide each and every student with a citizenship education that allows them to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives. Such citizens are those who: • are informed and thoughtful about the history and processes of American democracy and public and community issues and have the ability to obtain information, think critically, and participate in dialogue with others who hold different perspectives; • participate in their communities through organizations working to address cultural, social, political, and religious interests and beliefs; • act politically using the skills, knowledge and commitment needed to accomplish public purposes such as group problem solving, public speaking, petitioning and protesting, and voting; and ACLAP Final Report & Policy Brief Page 3 • have moral and civic virtues such as concern for the rights and welfare of others, social responsibility, tolerance and respect, and belief in their ability to make a difference. As part of the CCMS campaign, competitive grants were awarded to 18 states for projects to advance civic learning. In September 2004, the Alaska Teaching Justice Network (ATJN), a statewide coalition of public, educational, legal, and judicial organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing law-related education in Alaska, secured a small grant from the campaign to conduct the Alaska Civic Learning Assessment (ACLA) Project. The goal of the ACLA Project is to better understand the current state of K-12 civic learning in Alaska and to assess the civic knowledge and experiences of Alaska's youth. The project has focused on both civics topics common across the United States and those unique to Alaska, with the goal of informing efforts to improve civic education in the state. After a brief overview of national research on civic education, this report presents findings from the ACLA Project research on the current status of civic education in Alaska, the civic knowledge of youth and adults, and the attitudes about civic education held by educators, youth and elders.
    • Alaska High School Graduation Rate Trends

      Tran, Trang; Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 8/5/2019)
      This paper examines trends in Alaska public high school graduation rates from academic year 2010-11 to 2015-16 and explores differences across demographic groups. We focus specifically on students from public neighborhood high schools. These are publicly-funded schools run by district or Regional Educational Attendance Area school boards serving all residents within school attendance boundaries. These schools represent about 88% of Alaska�s high school students.
    • Alaska Native-Focused Teacher Preparation Programs

      Leary, Audrey; Tetpon, Bernice; Hirshberg, Diane; Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-06)
      In Alaska, 80% of rural students are Alaska Native. But fewer than 5% of Alaska’s certified teachers are Alaska Native, and 74% of teachers hired by Alaska’s public schools come from outside the state. Teachers new to rural Alaska typically remain on the job just one or two years. Since 1970, there have been numerous teacher certification programs intended to bring more Alaska Natives and rural residents into classrooms. Many community and education leaders believe rural schools could benefit from having more such teachers, because they would likely stay on the job longer, be more familiar with their students’ communities and cultures, and provide more powerful role models for Alaska Native students. The share of rural teachers who are Alaska Natives or rural residents remains small, but efforts to increase their numbers continue. The programs offered in the past few decades have provided important lessons about how to successfully recruit and prepare Alaska Native and rural-resident teachers. But these lessons are not well documented or consistently used in Alaska’s current teacher certification programs. In this brief, we take a first step toward summarizing the contributions of these programs by describing them, their graduates, and key lessons learned. This brief does not discuss current efforts at the University of Alaska to increase the number of Alaska Native and rural -resident teachers graduating from regular teacher preparation programs. But it’s important to recognize that all three UA campuses enroll Alaska Native teacher candidates in their regular programs, and all include distance -delivered programs, in an effort to recruit and better meet the needs of teacher candidates from rural communities.
    • Alaska Teacher Supply and Demand Update

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2006-04-01)
      Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) has contracted with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) between 2005 and 2007 to identify and analyze trends in K-12 educator supply and demand in the State of Alaska, including teacher turnover rates. This report is an analysis of Alaskan teacher supply and turnover data from 1999-2004, and projects supply and demand data for the next five years.
    • Alaska Teacher Turnover, Supply, and Demand: 2013 Highlights

      Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-06-01)
      T he figures in this document show a few findings from the forthcoming report, 2013 Alaska Educator Supply, Demand, and Turnover. They focus mostly on teacher turnover and mobility in recent years. The data show that: Teacher turnover in Alaska has declined slightly in the last few years, but not significantly. Annual teacher turnover rates vary hugely among rural districts, ranging from a low of 7% to over 52%, while urban districts have turnover rates that are generally lower and more similar, from about 8% to just over 10%. Among teachers with less than 10 years of experience, those who prepared to be teachers in Alaska have much lower turnover rates than those from Outside. Among teachers with more than 10 years of experience, turnover rates for the two groups are about the same. ¾ Most—around 80%—of teachers who leave both urban and rural districts leave the Alaska school system entirely. Teachers prepared in Alaska are far more likely to work in urban than in rural districts. On average from 2008-2012, about 64% of teachers hired by districts statewide were from outside Alaska. Almost 90% of teachers in Alaska are White. Alaska Natives and American Indians continue to make up only about 5% of the teacher workforce.
    • Alaska Teacher Turnover, Supply, and Demand: 2013 Highlights

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Dian (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/1/2013)
    • Alternative Certification: A Research Brief

      Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-10-01)
      Alternative teacher certification (ATC) encompasses a broad range of programs that prepare teachers in non-traditional, accelerated ways (Suell and Piotrowski 2007). The number of teachers prepared through alternative routes has increased considerably in the past decade. As of 2011, 16% of public school teachers nationwide had entered the profession through some kind of alternative program, and in the last five years, 40% of new hires have come through ATC programs (Feistritzer 2011). In this brief I offer a short overview of research on the outcomes of alternative certification programs compared with traditional certification, summarize findings about what makes for effective alternative certification programs, and describe ATC programs in Alaska. Generally, ATC programs are aimed at people who are interested in becoming teachers and have at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as extensive life experience. But how these programs are defined and what they include varies considerably (Humphrey and Wechsler 2007). In this brief, alternative certification is defined as a program in which teacher candidates work as the instructor of record while completing their teacher certification. These programs are considered to be both a means of alleviating teacher shortages and a way of improving the quality of the teaching workforce. In addition to shortening the preparation time and being more flexible for working participants, ATC programs also typically incorporate mentoring (Mikulecky, Shkodriani et al. 2004; Scribner and Heinen 2009). The programs range from initiatives run by school districts and state departments of education to university-operated efforts run alongside traditional teacher preparation programs (Yao and Williams 2010).
    • Alternative Certification: A Research Brief

      Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 10/1/2011)
    • Anchorage Housing in 1989

      Leask, Linda; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1988-12-01)
    • The Cost of Teacher Turnover in Alaska

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean; Tran, Trang; Hirshberg, Diane; Cope, Dale; Cravez, Pamela (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-03-31)
      Low teacher retention - high turnover - affects student learning. Teacher recruitment and retention are challenging issues in Alaska. Rates vary considerably from district to district and year to year, but between 2004 and 2014, district-level teacher turnover in rural Alaska averaged 20%, and about a dozen districts experienced annual turnover rates higher than 30%. High turnover rates in rural Alaska are often attributed to remoteness and a lack of amenities (including healthcare and transportation); teachers who move to these communities face additional challenges including finding adequate housing and adjusting to a new and unfamiliar culture and environment. Though urban districts have lower teacher turnover rates, they also have challenges with teacher recruitment and retention, particularly in hard-to-fill positions (such as special education and secondary mathematics) and in difficult-to-staff schools. Annually, Alaskan school districts hire about 1,000 teachers (500-600 are hired by its five largest districts), while Alaska’s teacher preparation programs graduate only around 200. The costs associated with teacher turnover in Alaska are considerable, but have never been systematically calculated,1 and this study emerged from interests among Alaska education researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders to better understand these costs. Using data collected from administrators in 37 of Alaska’s 54 districts, we describe teacher turnover and the costs associated with it in four key categories: separation, recruitment, hiring, and induction and training. Our calculations find that the total average cost of teacher turnover is $20,431.08 per teacher. Extrapolating this to Alaska’s 2008-2012 turnover data, this constitutes a cost to school districts of approximately $20 million per year. We focused on costs to Alaskan school districts, rather than costs to individual communities, schools, or the state. Our calculation is a conservative estimate, and reflects typical teacher turnover circumstances - retirement, leaving the profession, or moving to a new school district. We did not include unusual circumstances, such as mid-year departures or terminations. Our cost estimate includes costs of separation, recruitment, hiring, and orientation and training, and excludes the significant costs of teacher productivity and teacher preparation. We suggest that not all turnover is bad, nor are all turnover costs; and emphasize the need to focus on teacher retention as a goal, rather than reducing turnover costs. Even with conservative estimates, teacher turnover is a significant strain on districts’ personnel and resources, and in an era of shrinking budgets, teacher turnover diverts resources from teaching and learning to administrative processes of filling teacher vacancies. Our recommendations include: • Better track teacher turnover costs • Explore how to reduce teacher turnover costs • Support ongoing research around teacher turnover and its associated costs • Explore conditions driving high teacher turnover, and how to address them
    • Dual Enrollment in Alaska: A 10-year retrospective and outcome analysis

      DeFeo, Dayna; Tran, Trang (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2019-05-24)
      This paper explores University of Alaska dual enrollment (DE) offerings from 2008 to 2017. It details the distribution of programs across geographic and demographic groups, examines student participation and academic outcomes over this 10-year period, and describes how current DE activities compare to the decade prior. DE enrollments have increased by 85% in the past 10 years, while headcount has increased by 49%, indicating that, on average, students are taking more DE courses while in high school. DE students complete 93% of their courses satisfactorily; 66% apply to a UA institution when they graduate high school and 41% attend. Though the program is more representative than it was 10 years ago, our analysis notes a persistent participation and performance gap for rural and Alaska Native students.
    • Dual Enrollment in Alaska: A 10-year retrospective and outcome analysis

      Defeo, Dayna; Tran, Trang (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 5/24/2019)
      This paper explores University of Alaska dual enrollment (DE) offerings from 2008 to 2017. It details the distribution of programs across geographic and demographic groups, examines student participation and academic outcomes over this 10-year period, and describes how current DE activities compare to the decade prior. DE enrollments have increased by 85% in the past 10 years, while headcount has increased by 49%, indicating that, on average, students are taking more DE courses while in high school. DE students complete 93% of their courses satisfactorily; 66% apply to a UA institution when they graduate high school and 41% attend. Though the program is more representative than it was 10 years ago, our analysis notes a persistent participation and performance gap for rural and Alaska Native students.
    • Early college placement testing: Outcomes and impacts of the Early ACCUPLACER partnership

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-03-31)
      The Early ACCUPLACER Program was administered in partnership between the University of Alaska (UAA) and Anchorage School District (ASD) between 2006 and 2013. Using the UAA placement test (ACCUPLACER) as an instructional tool, the program intended to help students understand the differences between high school graduation requirements and college-level coursework. Test scores were used to advise students to take more rigorous high school curricula so they would be better prepared for the academic expectations of the college environment. In its seven years of operation, the program served thousands of ASD students. This report reviews Early ACCUPLACER test scores and subsequent academic performance for high school juniors and seniors who tested in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years. The data show that, at the time of testing, many of those high school students’ test scores would place them into developmental classes in college. This analysis was unable to examine high school transcripts to see whether or not students heeded advice to take additional and more rigorous high school courses; however, by following the participants who subsequently attended college in the UA system1, the data show: • Students who participated in the program did not exhibit substantively higher college placement test scores than other incoming students who did not receive the intervention. • Most students who participated in the program performed better on the test at the time of college matriculation than when they took it in high school, but the increases in performance, on average, were not large enough to change their recommended course placements. For approximately a quarter of students, test performance decreased between high school and college. • Upon matriculation, more students needed developmental coursework in math than in English or reading. • Upon attending college, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the Early ACCUPLACER program participants performed well enough in their first year to meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid. • Persistence rates for Early ACCUPLACER participants were slightly higher than the overall UAA rates; however they were similar to other recent high school graduates, who tend to have higher persistence rates than nontraditional-aged students. The data suggest that the program did not significantly impact the college readiness or later college performance for its participants who later attended UA. However, the data and literature suggest opportunities to use high school-college partnerships as part of a robust outreach agenda. Recommendations include evaluating the relationship between high school course-taking behavior and college readiness, and broadening the definition of “college readiness” to include other attributes known to promote success.
    • An Exploration of Experiences and Outcomes of Alaska Native Graduates of Mt. Edgecumbe High School

      Hirshberg, Diane; DelMoral, Brit (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-04-01)
      In Alaska’s schools, indigenous1 students are the most at risk of any ethnic group of failing to thrive; they drop out more frequently, are less likely to graduate, and generally have lower educational attainment than non-Native students(Martin and Hill, 2009). Indeed, the situation appears to be worsening. The dropout rate of Alaska Native students living in all areas of Alaska besides Anchorage has risen from 0.7 percent in 1996 to 3.3 percent in 2001 (Goldsmith et al. 2004). Dropout rates among all Native students in Alaska increased from 5 percent to almost 10 percent between 1998 and 2001, while the dropout rate among non-Native students increased from about 3 percent to 5 percent (ibid). In addition, low test scores are preventing many students from graduating from high school—almost half of Alaska Native students are not passing the reading section of the High-School Graduation Qualifying Exam. The educational system in Alaska is failing to provide Alaska Native students the skills necessary either for postsecondary academic work or success in the job market, if that is what they desire. However, one secondary school, Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a boarding school located in Southeast Alaska that serves predominately rural and Alaska Native students, has produced students that consistently outperform their peers, both indigenous and nonNative. The reputation of the school has been strong for decades, based on both historic and recent accomplishments of its alumni. However, the experiences of recent alumni at the school and their professional and educational attainment after high school had not been looked at systematically for a number of years. This paper is the result of a study conducted by the authors on recent graduates of Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS), at the suggestion of school administrators. Our case study attempts to capture the educational, social, and cultural experiences of the students while they attended the boarding school, and the impacts the school has had on their lives. With this research we hope to inform the decisions o f policymakers and educators, indigenous and non-Native alike, regarding rural secondary schooling options in Alaska for indigenous children across the state.
    • Good collaborations: A case study of the Health Information Technology partnership

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-01-01)
      The Health Information Technology grant was a collaborative partnership between the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), the University of Alaska Community & Technical College (UAA CTC) and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) to establish the infrastructure for a distance-delivered Occupational Endorsement in Health Information Technology. This document describes a case study research project that explored the activities of the collaboration, specifically as they pertain to student services and outcomes. Student eligibility criteria included: Alaska Native, low-income, GED or high school diploma, and a 10th grade TABE test score; many of the student participants exhibited demographic characteristics that placed them at high risk for noncompletion. Ultimately, 10 of 25 (40%) completed the credential, and of these graduates, five are continuing their postsecondary studies for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. These success rates that exceed national averages for community college students prompted the team to explore the program elements that contributed to student success. A qualitative case study collected interview data from student completers, program staff, and faculty. It also reviewed program documents, and included visits to the physical spaces where the program was delivered. Tangible or material resources that contributed to the program’s success included stipends for student tuition and fees plus hourly compensation for time spent in class; the provision of laptops; adequate technology; staff and services that supported college transitions, social and personal needs, and academic success; a face-to-face kickoff event; and a cohort model. Qualitative aspects of the program that fostered success include staff commitment and positive attitude; clear roles for partners with a distributed workload; alignment of program objectives to each of the partners’ missions; communication; and student perseverance. Program elements that need to be revised, expanded, or improved prior to a second iteration include course sequencing, recruitment, technology, class times, and additional stipends. Opportunities for additional programming include industry involvement, career exploration, options for students who “change majors” or decide that the HIT field is not a good fit for their interests, job seeking and career planning support, additional attention to college readiness and soft skills, and incorporation of Alaska Native culture. A review of program elements that worked and need improvement identified opportunities to better align theory and philosophy, and to strengthen communication between staff and faculty who have complementary responsibilities to one another and to students. These discussions are recommended in order to develop more intentional and focused recruiting, to strengthen communication, and to develop a more culturally responsive curriculum. Though the program does not yet present itself as a best practice model, the program strengths and lessons learned were used to develop considerations for other programs and partnerships wishing to develop similar delivery methods.
    • Good collaborations: A case study of the Health Information Technology partnership

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-01-01)
      The Health Information Technology grant was a collaborative partnership between the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), the University of Alaska Community & Technical College (UAA CTC) and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) to establish the infrastructure for a distance-delivered Occupational Endorsement in Health Information Technology. This document describes a case study research project that explored the activities of the collaboration, specifically as they pertain to student services and outcomes. Student eligibility criteria included: Alaska Native, low-income, GED or high school diploma, and a 10th grade TABE test score; many of the student participants exhibited demographic characteristics that placed them at high risk for noncompletion. Ultimately, 10 of 25 (40%) completed the credential, and of these graduates, five are continuing their postsecondary studies for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. These success rates that exceed national averages for community college students prompted the team to explore the program elements that contributed to student success. A qualitative case study collected interview data from student completers, program staff, and faculty. It also reviewed program documents, and included visits to the physical spaces where the program was delivered. Tangible or material resources that contributed to the program’s success included stipends for student tuition and fees plus hourly compensation for time spent in class; the provision of laptops; adequate technology; staff and services that supported college transitions, social and personal needs, and academic success; a face-to-face kickoff event; and a cohort model. Qualitative aspects of the program that fostered success include staff commitment and positive attitude; clear roles for partners with a distributed workload; alignment of program objectives to each of the partners’ missions; communication; and student perseverance. Program elements that need to be revised, expanded, or improved prior to a second iteration include course sequencing, recruitment, technology, class times, and additional stipends. Opportunities for additional programming include industry involvement, career exploration, options for students who “change majors” or decide that the HIT field is not a good fit for their interests, job seeking and career planning support, additional attention to college readiness and soft skills, and incorporation of Alaska Native culture. A review of program elements that worked and need improvement identified opportunities to better align theory and philosophy, and to strengthen communication between staff and faculty who have complementary responsibilities to one another and to students. These discussions are recommended in order to develop more intentional and focused recruiting, to strengthen communication, and to develop a more culturally responsive curriculum. Though the program does not yet present itself as a best practice model, the program strengths and lessons learned were used to develop considerations for other programs and partnerships wishing to develop similar delivery methods.
    • Good collaborations: A case study of the Health Information Technology partnership

      Defeo, Dayna (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1/1/2016)