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SERVE has two primary goals related to improved decision-making in education: (1) to develop high-quality products and services that address regional needs (referred to as Research and Development or R&D) and (2) to help educators and policymakers access the best research, information, and analysis available relative to critical problems or policy issues.


Learn About SERVE R&D Projects

A Review Of Methods and Instruments Used In State and Local School Readiness Evaluations
This report provides detailed information about the methods and instruments used to evaluate school readiness initiatives, discusses important considerations in selecting instruments, and provides resources and recommendations that may be helpful to those who are designing and implementing school readiness evaluations.

Levers For Change: Southeast Region State Initiatives To Improve High Schools
This descriptive report aims to stimulate discussion about high school reform among Southeast Region states. The report groups recent state activities in high school reform into six "levers for change." To encourage critical reflection, the report places the reform discussion in the context of an evidence-based decisionmaking process and provides sample research on reform activities.

Evidence-Based Decision making: Assessing Reading Across the Curriculum Intervention
When selecting reading across the curriculum interventions, educators should consider the extent of the evidence base on intervention effectiveness and the fit with the school or district context, whether they are purchasing a product from vendors or developing it internally. This report provides guidance in the decision making

Improving the transition from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten

Improving educator quality

Assisting educators in using research-based instructional strategies in reading at the elementary and middle school levels

Improving middle school language arts teachers' understanding of how to use assessment to better meet students' instructional needs in reading

Samples of SERVE Publications

English Language Learners in the Southeast: Research, Policy, & Practice  

The Vision Magazine (Volume 3, Number 2): Exploring the Challenges of High School Link to Vision PDF file

Teacher Effectiveness, Student Achievement,& National Board Certified Teachers Link to Teacher Effectiveness, Student Achievement PDF file

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards issued a request for research proposals in January 2002 to explore the usefulness and validity of its process of certifying teachers as highly accomplished. As a result of the request for proposals (RFP) process in 2002, the National Board funded 21 studies proposed by independent researchers to investigate various aspects of the certification process related specifically
to student achievement. A team of researchers from SERVE at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia conducted the study described in the attached document. The researchers on this team had prior experience in developing and implementing teacher evaluation systems in various states, which is important as a context for thinking about different views of what
constitutes teacher quality.

Learning from Failure: A Discussion Guide on High School Reform Link to Learning PDF file

This short, easy- to-read publication summarizes some of the literature on why school reforms have failed in the past. The document is designed for use by teams undergoing efforts to improve their high schools. It includes lessons learned from failed efforts and questions for teams to ask concerning their own efforts so they can avoid some of the same pitfalls.

 How to Assess Student Performance in Science: Going Beyond Multiple-Choice Tests Link to Assessing Science PDF file

This publication provides science teachers with an easy introduction to rigorous assessment methods. Short chapters on instructional goals, assessment methods, rubrics, and grading methods introduce the terminology and examples to help teachers understand how to use a variety of assessment methods to align with challenging instructional goals. The document was significantly revised in 2005.

How to Assess Student Performance in Science: Using Classroom Assessments to Enhance Learning Link to Assessing Science PDF file

This publication is used to enhance the use of formative assessment practices in the classroom. These formative practices are ones that support students while they are learning. The practices also ensure that students receive feedback and guidance on their performances in a timely manner, so they can make improvements to those performances before being evaluated. This will help teachers do the following: (a) clarify science learning targets for their students, (b) understand the range of assessment methods available to teachers and explore the alignment of these methods to learning targets, (c) analyze assessment information to determine individual student learning needs, (d) modify instructional and/or assessment practices to enhance student learning, and (e) reflect on current grading practices and determine if current methods accurately portray student achievement.

How to Recruit and Retain Teachers and Other School Leaders in Hard-to-Staff Rural and Small School Districts. (2005)Link to ruiral PDF file

Recruiting and retaining teachers and other personnel continues to be one of the most critical issues in small and rural school districts, and the need for teachers in the U.S. is expected to grow significantly as large numbers of teachers retire, many taking advantage of early retirement incentives. How to Recruit and Retain Teachers and Other School Leaders in Hard-to-Staff Rural and Small School Districts was developed to address such issues. In the development of this toolkit, SERVE staff relied heavily on the expertise and experience of SERVE’s network of superintendents and nationally recognized experts in rural education. With them we selected the topics and developed the tools in this systematic approach to the recruitment, selection, appointment, socialization, management, and retention of teachers and other leaders.

A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Assessment: Understanding and Using Assessment to Improve Student Learning

A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment is a comprehensive guide that shows step-by-step how to effectively integrate assessment into the classroom. Written for both new and seasoned teachers, this important book offers a practical aid for developing assessment skills and strategies, building assessment literacy, and ultimately improving student learning.
Based on extensive research, this book is filled with illustrative, down-to-earth examples of how classroom assessment works in classrooms where assessment drives the instruction. The authors present the Classroom Assessment Cycle—Clarifying learning targets, Collecting assessment evidence, Analyzing assessment data, and Modifying instruction based upon assessment data—that demonstrates how one assessment action must flow into the next to be effective. Each chapter details the kinds of assessment evidence that are the most useful for determining student achievement and provides instruction in the analysis of assessment data. This book is useful for teacher, professional developers and pre-service courses on curriculum and assessment. Click here to order

Beyond Multiple Choice: Effective Assessment in History Link to Assessment History PDF file

The purpose of this document is to help teachers implement effective assessment strategies when teaching history. The primary audience for this publication is third through twelfth grade teachers who cover the topic of history in their instruction. Secondary audiences include school administrators, district and state curriculum staff, or individuals providing professional development.