spacerThe New England Comprehensive Center acts on behalf of all students in New England by working with education leaders in each state to fulfill the promise of No Child Left Behind.

Past Center News

NECC Staff Publish on District-Level Issues in Formative Assessment

PORTSMOUTH, NH: Formative assessment—understood as assessment for learning, as opposed to assessment of learning (summative assessment)—is a powerful tool for advancing student learning. At the request of the Connecticut State Department of Education, NECC staff members have worked on two documents concerning implementing formative assessment at the district level. (November, 2008)

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Principals' Network to Create Research-Based Literacy Tools for School Improvement

PORTSMOUTH, NH: In one of the first such ventures of its kind, the NECC's Principals' Literacy Leadership Network is engaging principals and state and district education leaders in creating a tool that will allow secondary school principals to design and evaluate literacy programs in their schools. (November, 2008)

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NECC Instrumental in New Rhode Island English Language Learner Regulations

PROVIDENCE, RI: Last August, the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously to approve new regulations for the education of English language learners (ELLs). The Regents' approval was a major milestone in the NECC's work with RIDE to develop an ELL policy framework to guide districts. (September, 2008)
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State Support for Education:
Materials from the NECC 2008 Conference Available

PORTSMOUTH, NH: Materials from the NECC's "Strengthening Statewide Systems of Support" Conference are now available on the NECC website at The materials include a reflective talk and PowerPoint by Tom Payzant, former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, on the changing culture of education and the powerful role of standards-based reform in state and district efforts to improve education.

Also posted are written briefs created for the conference roundtable discussions on seven topics related to the state role in educational improvement. (June, 2008)

Center on Instruction Releases New Products
on Adolescent Literacy Instruction

PORTSMOUTH, NH: The Center on Instruction has made available a suite of materials on effective literacy instruction for adolescents. The suite comprises a meta-analysis, a practice brief, and a professional development module.

The meta-analysis of adolescent literacy research, Interventions for Adolescent Struggling Readers: A Meta-Analysis with Implications for Practice, summarizes and synthesizes research findings to determine the relative effectiveness of interventions, and outlines the implications of these findings for practice. It focuses on interventions designed to improve students' use of reading comprehension strategies, reading vocabulary, accurate decoding of unfamiliar words in text, and increased reading fluency.

Drawing on the meta-analysis, Effective Instruction for Adolescent Struggling Readers: A Practice Brief, takes the meta-analysis a step further and focuses on the implications of this research for educators and decision-makers working in the field. It addresses the five reading components of adolescent literacy (word study, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and motivation), compares successful and struggling readers' behaviors, and describes effective school-based instructional practices.

Finally, a professional development module includes a PowerPoint presentation and Facilitator's Guide with options for delivering the module in a one-day (for teachers, administrators, and district or state staff with advanced knowledge of reading in the upper grades) or two-day format (for those with some or little knowledge of effective reading instruction for adolescents and limited exposure to research in the field), individually or in collaboration with other facilitators. (June, 2008)

California Produces Special Education, RTI Podcasts

ROHNERT PARK, CA: California Services for Technical Assistance and Training, a special project of the California Department of Education, has made a series of podcasts on Special Education issues, Special EDge, available. The 19 titles include conversations with experts on Response to Intervention (RTI), differentiated instruction, communities of practice, and professional learning communities. (June, 2008)

Council of Chief State School Officers Publishes Study of Math
and Science Teacher Professional Development

LINCOLN, IL: Does Teacher Professional Development Have Effects on Teaching and Learning? Evaluation Findings from Programs in 14 States is based on a study, Improving Evaluation of Professional Development, of 25 teacher professional development programs in math and science conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and funded by the National Science Foundation. Some key findings from the study were:

  • Seven programs reported measurable effects on subsequent student outcomes. Ten programs reported measurable effects on increasing teacher content knowledge, and four reported measurable effects on teachers' instructional practices.
  • The review showed significant effects when programs focus on math and science content and include training and follow-up pedagogical content knowledge. Total time in professional development for the studies with significant effects was 50 hours or more.
  • School-based (rather than teacher-based) professional development appears to facilitate the use of student assessment scores and tracking change over time.

(June, 2008)

NECC Staffer Describes New Hampshire Work in New Handbook

PORTSMOUTH, NH: "Working Sma-tah, Not Ha-dah in New Hampshire" highlights the New England Comprehensive Center's work with the New Hampshire Department of Education to strengthen its statewide system of support. Written by Adam Tanney, a Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation and NECC staff member, the story appears as a chapter in the Center on Innovation and Improvement's Handbook for Statewide Systems of Support. (June, 2008)
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NECC Calls for Concerted Regional Effort

PORTSMOUTH, NH: "Talking About a Revolution: Looking to the Past to Save Our Future" by Charles Desmond, a collaborator on the NECC's work on Advancing Student Literacy and Numeracy, and NECC staffer Elizabeth Goldman appears in the Spring 2008 issue of The New England Journal of Higher Education. In the article, Desmond and Goldman call on New England's land-grant universities to lead the region in reinventing education for a diverse student body in a globally competitive world. (February, 2008)

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[provided with permission from The New England Journal of Higher Education]

PDF icon Download the white paper that the article draws on >

Learn more about the Advancing Student Literacy and Numeracy initiative >

REL Northeast and Islands Releases First Report

NEWTON, MA: The REL Northeast and Islands has released the first of its "Fast Response" studies funded by the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences. The Impact of Benchmark Assessments Aligned to State Standards on Student Achievement was undertaken by this Regional Educational Laboratory in response to strong regional interest in benchmark and formative assessments and the lack of independent studies of their effect. (February, 2008)
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National Center on Response to Intervention Opens

WASHINGTON, DC: The newly created National Center on Response to Intervention provides technical assistance and dissemination about proven and promising models for Response to Intervention (RTI) and Early Intervening Services (EIS) to state and local educators, families, and others. Funded by a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education office of special education programs, the Center's work encompasses knowledge production through independent, technical review of RTI models and components; implementation supports through training and follow-up support; information dissemination through communities of practice; and formative assessment through evaluations of the quality, implementation, impact, and cost effectiveness of the services offered. (January, 2008)
To learn more, visit >

Oh, the Place Comprehension Instruction Can Go

ONLINE: Nell Duke of´┐ŻMichigan State University´┐Żopened the NECC's Partners in Literacy initiative's work on building consensus on the scientific knowledge base for literacy with a webinar on March 5. These PowerPoint slides outline many of her ideas on including comprehension instruction throughout the school day and in a number of settings. (March 2007)

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The Moral Imperative to Build State Education Capacity

FRAMINGHAM, MA: At the launch of the NECC Statewide Systems of Support initiative, keynote speaker Paul Reville outlined the challenges and opportunities state education leaders face. (January 2007)
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NECC Adds Regional Initiative

PORTSMOUTH, NH: Responding to the needs and interest expressed by representatives of the six New England states, the Center has launched a fourth regional initiative, Statewide Systems of Support, to assist states in tackling the challenges of designing and implementing systems to support districts and schools identified for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring. (January 2007)
Learn more about the Statewide Systems of Support initiative >

Adolescent Literacy Resources: An Annotated Bibliography

PORTSMOUTH, NH: This array of research summaries and policy documents on reading and reading comprehension for students in grades 4–12 covers the current important research issues in adolescent literacy and in state- and district-level policies to support improvements in adolescent literacy outcomes. (2007)

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This is a companion piece to Academic Literacy Instruction for Adolescents: A Guidance Document (see Literacy Resources).

U.S. Department of Education Reviews State Progress on Highly Qualified Teachers

The U.S. Department of Education recently completed its reviews of states' progress in placing highly qualified teachers in every classroom. NECC is available to assist in revising state teacher quality plans. To arrange for assistance, please contact:
Karen Laba ( - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
Steve Hamilton ( - Massachusetts
Maria-Paz Avery ( - Connecticut, Rhode Island

New Resources on English Language Learners Offered

PORTSMOUTH, NH: The Center on Instruction has published a valuable new resource on teaching English language learners. Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners represents the most current research on this topic. (October 2006)
Learn more about these resources in ELL Resources >

Joyce Epstein on the Changing Field of Family and Community Involvement

CT: Dr. Joyce L. Epstein, Research Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University, spoke at a statewide forum on School, Family, and Community Partnerships in Connecticut. (September 2006)
Listen to excerpts from her talk >

Planning Tool

The National Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality also offers a Planning Tool to Provide Evidence of Progress Toward Equitable Teacher Distribution. (September 2006)

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NECC Symposium Opens Regional Dialogue on Teaching Reading

PORTSMOUTH, NH: What do teachers need to know about teaching reading and when do they need to know it? Close to 100 representatives from higher education, state departments of education, local school districts, and educational philanthropies gathered in Portsmouth recently to grapple with that question. Descriptions of and audio from presentations by Catherine Snow of Harvard University, Michael Coyne of the University of Connecticut, Betty Lou Whitford of the University of Southern Maine, Marty Hougen of the Texas Higher Education Collaborative, and Amy Jackson of the National Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality are available. (June 2006)
more about the Symposium >

NECC and NYCC Staff Attend Training Sessions on NCLB and Literacy

PORTSMOUTH, NH: In order to develop its own capacity to be a strong resource to SEAs, Center staff attended two training sessions. Training on the NCLB law and regulations was offered by RMC Research, Inc. Forty-three staff members from the NECC and NYCC attended the two day training held in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Attorney Leigh M. Manasevit took the participants through a detailed examination of the law and related guidance material provided by the USED. Attendees considered both the changing and the consistent expectations across many of the law’s provisions.

The Center on Instruction offered training to Comprehensive Centers on the principles of literacy, ranging from early literacy to emerging research in adolescent literacy. Led by Dr. Joseph Torgeson, Director of the Center on Instruction’s Reading strand, the conference examined support strategies for literacy instruction and content, with special attention to struggling readers and the changing literacy demands on students as they move from grades 4 through 12. (February 2006)

Partnership Formed to Support NCLB

PORTSMOUTH, NH: A partnership of four New England education companies has assumed the helm of the U.S. Department of Education-sponsored New England Comprehensive Center. RMC Research Corporation of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; The Education Alliance at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Education Development Center, Newton, Massachusetts; and Learning Innovations at WestEd, Woburn, Massachusetts signed an agreement on November 4 with the U.S. Department of Education to provide technical assistance to the education leaders of the six New England states as they work to implement NCLB. Headquartered at RMC Research Corporation, the Center will offer regional and state initiatives in response to requests for technical assistance. (December 2005)