In the Elementary Science report, SREB examines how
typically taught separately from reading and math,
may not be getting enough attention in elementary
classrooms. The reports looks at how waiting until the
middle grades to give science an equal place among the academic
subjects can hinder students in developing important thinking
skills that will benefit them in all subjects areas and for later
Explore how SREB’s eight
Powerful Science Instructional Practices engage
students in gathering, analyzing and reasoning with data,
designing studies and experiments, learning and using the
language of science and engineering, cultivating strong literacy
and math skills, and much more.
In the drive to improve students’ reading and math achievement in the elementary grades, science has sometimes fallen by the wayside. This despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — to current and future workforces.
This report explains why early math learning is so important, the
current state of math instruction, issues with elementary teacher
preparation and professional development, and how math anxiety
impacts achievement. It also presents recommendations state
leaders can use to help raise the math achievement of their
This research snapshot on retention policies examines what we know about retaining young students, from research on outcomes to how much states spend on additional years of schooling. The brief lists intervention policies in the nine SREB states that require third graders to show reading proficiency to be promoted to fourth grade.
States continue to make changes to educator preparation
policies and exam requirements for reading. To help legislators
who may use this report as a reference, SREB updated Table 2 on
page 17 to reflect current state policies as of May 2019.
Researchers estimate that dyslexia affects at least one in 10
people. As defined by
the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a
neurobiological learning disability, unrelated to intelligence,
characterized by differences in the way the brain processes
language. These differences result in difficulties
developing skills that are important for reading and
writing. While it cannot be outgrown, individuals with dyslexia
can learn strategies to help them overcome the unique challenges
The research is clear: Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are much more likely to face poor academic outcomes. For this reason alone, we know it is incredibly important that children learn to read well early in elementary school and continue to build on those reading skills throughout the rest of school.
The early childhood years do not end when children enter
kindergarten. In fact, experts agree that early childhood
development is a continuous process that extends through third
grade. During those first eight years of life, a child’s brain is
most malleable and capable of learning. Thus, investments in the
early years reap the largest returns. Education research mirrors
science, supporting an aligned and high-quality education system
from preschool through third grade.
One of the most crucial missions of the early grades is teaching
students to read. Third-grade reading proficiency predicts
long-term outcomes, including high school graduation. Many state
policymakers have set third grade as the key pivot point in the
early grades and have enacted grade-level retention laws based on
reading assessment results. Even so, about two-thirds of
fourth-graders were not reading proficiently on a widely
recognized national assessment in 2015. Development in the
first years of life shapes a child’s ability to learn to read.
While literacy has long led the early grades policy agenda, early
math skills also are vital to success in school. In fact, these
skills are more predictive of later achievement than early
literacy or social development. Math skills are only part of a
broader developmental equation. National attention has recently
shifted to a set of competencies that economists project as key
to future careers — science, technology, engineering and math.
States must ensure more students graduate from high school ready
for these critical jobs by promoting equitable access to
high-quality STEM learning.
Challenge to Lead 2020 Goals for Education: Refreshed
2020 offers six critical goals. They were designed
to help SREB state leaders connect measures of student
achievement to essential state policies. Each goal includes
background information and the steps states need to take to meet
each goal in the years ahead.
This policy brief summarizes class-size reduction
policies across the region, reviews research on the issue,
and offers recommendations on how states might make sensible
adjustments without jeopardizing student achievement.