Research Briefs and Research Reports

The Research and Evaluation Team has developed a variety of reports to inform district policies and practices.

  • Research Briefs are one page responses to specific research questions.
  • The Successful Schools Studies are based on best practices associated with top performing schools in DPS.

Click the Toggles Below to Explore the Research Completed Categorized by District Priority

Whole Child
Student Mobility and Reading – An analysis exploring the relationship between students’ mobility (number of times the student has moved) and their performance on CSAP.
Great Schools
Foundation for Success/Early Literacy
Kindergarten Text Levels and Future Performance – An analysis of the relationship between students’ reading level in Kindergarten and their reading achievement on first, second and third grade reading performance.

The Impact of Increasing Kindergarten DRA/EDL Grade Level Expectations to Text Level 4 – Analysis of Kindergarten students reading at text level 4 and their performance in the following fall as first grade students. The analysis includes 3 cohorts.

READ Plans – An analysis of relationship between READ Plan quality and students’ likelihood of moving out of the SBGL band.

The READ Act – An analysis of Black and Hispanic students READ Act data (Significantly Below Grade Level and READ Plans).

EL READ Plan Analysis – READ Plans for English Learners are compared to Plans for non-English Learners to understand how students with detailed and well-implemented Plans improve their literacy skills.

College & Career Ready
Freshman Geometry and HS Success – An analysis comparing students who take Geometry as a Freshmen as compared to similar students who take Algebra 1.

9th Grade Attendance and Graduation – An analysis of the relationship between students’ attendance in 9th grade and their chances of graduation from high school.

CSAP and Standards Based Report Cards – Analysis on how end of year standard-based report card grades align with CSAP Reading and Math scores at the elementary level.

High School Course Grading Practices – Harvard University’s analysis on course grading practices across DPS high schools and across ethnicity groups

Graduation and Completion Rates – An analysis of DPS 4-year, 5-year, 6-year, and 7-year graduation and completion rates.

Attendance and Dropout – An analysis of the relationship between attendance rates in one year and dropout rates in the following year.

Rigor of APEX Courses – A comparison of the rigor of APEX courses to that of courses in traditional classroom settings.

APEX and Dropout Rates – An analysis of the relationship between the use of APEX and dropout rates in the following year.

CMAS Science and Social Studies Command Level and Course Grades – A comparison of school’s course grade to the CMAS scores in Science and Social Studies.

Strong Teachers & Leaders
Professional Learning – A literature review from UC Denver on best practices for professional learning.

Professional Learning for Teachers Helps Students’ Literacy – examines if participation in Guided Reading Plus (GRP) or Intermediate Guided Reading Plus (iGRP) graduate courses positively impact literacy outcomes for students.

Close the Opportunity Gap
Supporting English Learners (Part I): This research brief highlights the supportive factors that help students become academically proficient in English. In particular, exposure to Early Childhood Education (ECE) and bilingual programming (Kindergarten-4th grade) supports students’ acquisition of English.

Long Term English Learners (Part II): DPS research indicates that both males and students whose parents opt them out of services (PPF3) are particularly likely to become LTELs, so methods to support these particular populations could be helpful. This could include a focus on students’ motivation, differentiating instruction, and supplementing the current ELD courses.

Overview of Gifted and Talented Identification & Disproportionality – Students of color, students who quality for free or reduced lunch, English Learners and other student populations are less likely to be identified as Gifted and Talented.

Disproportionality of Gifted and Talented Identification among ELs – English learners are under-identified as Gifted and Talented and there are potential barriers in the identification process.

CELA Plateau – Provides a brief review on the research in the field regarding why DPS students experience a “plateau” at CELA Levels 3 and 4 as well as at transition points between grade levels, and offers recommendations to address these issues.

CELA Plateau Literature Review – Provides an expanded review in the field regarding why DPS students experience a “plateau” at CELA Levels 3 and 4 as well as a transition points between grade level, and offers recommendations to address these issues.

Third Grade Language of Assessment – Analysis on how Spanish-speaking ELL students who scored at CELA Levels 1, 2, or 3 perform on the 3rd grade Lectura test compared to the Reading test, and how those students then perform in 4th and 5th grades. The purpose of this brief is to help inform decisions regarding in which language students should be tested in 3rd grade.

The Relationship Between Interims and TCAP (by identity groups)- Analysis on the differences among student subgroups in terms of how midterm Interim is related to TCAP.

Dual Designation – Trend analysis on students dual- designated as Students with Disabilities and as ELLs.

Dual Designation II – Additional analysis on students dual- designated as Students with Disabilities and as ELLs, particularly on their disability types.

Disproportionality In Discipline – Analysis on the differences in out-of-school suspension rate among race/ethnic groups.

The Opportunity Quartile – A summary of a series of analysis on the characteristics, movement patterns and successful strategies related to the students in the Opportunity Quartile, with links to the full Board presentations.

The ACCESS Trajectory – An analysis of the differences in English Learners’ (ELs) progress toward English proficiency, based on their instructional program.

DPS Achievement Gap Study – examines what factors are associated with low-income students and English Learners who closed achievement gaps in Denver Public Schools.

Long-term English Learners – An introduction of who Long-term English Learners are and how we can support them.
» October 2015: Long-term English Learners: original brief
» April 2016: Long-term English Learners: updated brief (includes CMAS data)

Research Report - DPS UCD ELA Exemplary Schools Case Studies
The ELA Successful Schools study consisted of a series of mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) case studies conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Denver and Denver Public Schools. The study sought to identify characteristics of schools that have achieved above average success with English Language Learners (ELLs).

ELA Successful Schools – Research Report – Overview of Study:

General Successful School Practices: Schools experiencing success in educating English language learners (ELL students) share key characteristics of successful schools in general, including: coherence in vision, values, and actions; high expectations for students and teachers; a climate of safety, respect, and supported collaboration for teachers; and a safe community for children.

Practices Specific to English Language Learners: Case study schools shared, in varying degrees, the following characteristics specific to the needs and strengths of ELL students:  a “language lens;” a focus on academic language; a focus on literacy and/or bi-literacy; teachers who share an understanding of second language acquisition (SLA); active use of data to guide instruction in language, literacy, and content; a culture of continuous learning/improvement; purposeful professional development and coaching; strong distributed and/or instructional leadership and committed and well-trained teachers; and active engagement of parents.

Specific School Reports:

ELA Successful Schools – Goldrick

ELA Successful Schools – Bruce Randolph

ELA Successful Schools – Abraham Lincoln

ELA Successful Schools – Force

ELA Successful Schools – Merrill

ELA Successful Schools – MSLA

ELA Successful Schools – West Denver Prep