Research & Evaluation Newsletter
R&E Newsletter Spring 2018

The Research & Evaluation (R&E) department has much to share from our busy 2017-18 school year. This is the first newsletter that we've produced, and we hope to put these out periodically throughout the year.

The newsletters are intended to provide information about the reports and analysis that our department produces - if the information below sparks your interest and you'd like to learn more, feel free to reach out to us at Additionally, please visit our newly revised webpage at for timely information on our recent publications, external research application process, and more.
R&E Reports
R&E Conducts In-Depth Study of International Education/Dual Language Immersion
R&E recently completed its program review of the district’s 10 International Schools and Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs nested within them. The study included a survey of teachers, interviews with principals, in-depth site visits at five schools, and analysis of student achievement. The report, which was delivered to the School Board in October, also examines the degree to which Dual Language Immersion programs are eliminating opportunity gaps for historically underserved students. 

R&E Studies Advanced Learning Programs and Practices
R&E recently conducted a two-part study of Advanced Learning/Spectrum. The first phase was a descriptive analysis of Spectrum, which included a summary of student enrollment and achievement data and results from a survey of school principals. The second phase was an analysis of best instructional practices for students who are above or well above standard. 

Timely Analysis
What Happens after High School?
Summary findings on college going and college persistence of SPS students from the National Student Clearinghouse
R&E recently acquired a set of reports from the National Student Clearinghouse that track student outcomes beyond high school graduation. These reports will enable SPS to research and identify policies and practices that lead to improved postsecondary success, while maintaining the confidentiality of student data.
What's on SPS Families' Minds?

R&E reports on feedback from the 2016-17 Family Survey
Last spring, families were asked to provide feedback on their child’s school and the district as a whole. R&E analysis shows that families’ reported perceptions of the district central office have improved substantially since last year. R&E also analyzed nearly 5,000 open-ended responses with additional feedback, uncovering important trends and suggested improvements for the district office and the schools.

School Leader Perceptions of District Leadership and Central Office Departments Continue to Improve
Each November for the past four years, R&E has administered the School Leader Customer Satisfaction Survey to all SPS principals and assistant principals. Over the last four years, school leaders’ perceptions of the central office have steadily grown more positive, with perceptions for many departments showing significant improvements. The survey data is frequently used by central office leaders to target the improvement of departmental services, systems and processes, as well as benchmarking progress over time.

National Research News
OSPI Updates State Achievement Index Under New ESSA Consolidated Plan

In January, the U.S. Department of Education approved Washington state's new  Consolidated Plan  under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The plan seeks to address opportunity gaps in the state by identifying schools that could benefit from additional supports. Using the new ESSA Achievement Index indicators and three years of data, the state has identified schools for either Comprehensive or Targeted supports. In the coming months, SPS will work collaboratively to create and implement school improvement plans focused on improving student outcomes.

Stanford Analysis Reveals High Growth but Large Achievement Gaps for Seattle
A new study from Stanford University shows that Seattle Public Schools has the 7th largest white-black achievement gap among the 200 largest districts in the nation. Despite large gaps in absolute math and ELA achievement, Seattle demonstrated high levels of growth for all student groups compared to the other 200 largest districts, ranking 3rd in overall academic growth for all students, and 14th in growth for African American students.

Rainier View and Olympic Hills in the Top 1 Percent Nationally for Achievement of Low Income Students
A recent report from GreatSchools and Education Cities provides the first nationally comparative measure of academic performance of students from low-income families. The Education Equality Index (EEI) uses the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to adjust for the level of rigor of each state’s test, creating a nationally comparative measure of achievement for each school. Based on the EEI results, both Rainier View Elementary and Olympic Hills Elementary were identified in the top 1 percent of schools nationally for the achievement of students from low income families.

From our Research Partners
Early Warning Indicators for High School Graduation
R&E is partnering with Johns Hopkins University to validate what we know about early warning indicators for high school graduation success. We found that 9 th grade students who are chronically absent, have one or more suspension or expulsion, or fail at least one course in a core subject graduate on time at significantly lower rates than their peers. This analysis suggests that efforts to reduce chronic absence, discipline rates, and course failure in 9 th grade could help improve the rates of on-time graduation, particularly for students of color.

Findings from Racial Equity Team Survey Shed Light on Key SPS Initiative
In 2015, Seattle Public Schools, in partnership with Seattle Education Association, and the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative, launched its Racial Equity Team (RET) initiative as part of a broader campaign to institutionalize racial equity in our schools as mandated by district policy. This year, the University of Washington College of Education joined in a research partnership to study the RET strategies currently in place in 42 schools. Findings from a preliminary survey of RET teams reinforces our understanding that RETs target their efforts toward professional development, and building knowledge and awareness of racial equity issues within their school communities.

Seattle Public Schools
Every Student. Every Classroom. Every Day.

Research, Evaluation, and Accountability Department (REA)
2445 3rd Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134