College of Education > News and Publications > News: 2009 > Regional Forums Highlight REL Mid-Atlantic Activities

Regional Forums Highlight REL Mid-Atlantic Activities

REL Mid-Atlantic Activities

by Joe Savrock (April 2009)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Educators and policy makers regularly have questions about ways to improve student learning.

To provide technical service for education professionals in a five-state area, the Regional Educational Lab Mid-Atlantic (REL Mid-Atlantic) regularly holds regional forums in various locations. Several forums in April were set up to discuss Institute of Education Sciences (IES) practice guides.

•    Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices—This forum was held in Gambrills, Md. on April 23. Michael Kamil and Janice Dole addressed the five recommendations presented in the IES Practice Guide of the same name.

•    Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning—Intermediate Unite #17 (IU 17) in Williamsport, Pa., hosted this forum on April 24, in which Kenneth Koedinger discussed the IES practice guide. The event was simulcast to IU 9 in Smethport, Pa.

•    Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom—This forum took place in Newark, Del., on April 29 and Newark, N.J., on April 30. Michael Epstein of the Center for At-Risk Children’s Services and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln discussed the IES practice guide on this topic.

To find out about future forums, or to obtain other information, contact the Lab at 866-735-6239 or

REL Mid-Atlantic also continues to conduct fast-response projects and longer-term research studies. A current fast-response project titled Mapping the Curricular Landscape is expected to produce two tools: (1) annual descriptive reports on the adopted core and supplemental curricula in districts across the region, and (2) a searchable database that educational leaders can use to generate reports displaying the adopted curricula of districts meeting certain criteria.

A project titled Effects of Odyssey Math® Software on the Mathematics Achievement of Selected Fourth Grade Students is a long-term randomized control trial that compares the performance of students using Odyssey Math® as a partial replacement for their traditional instruction with other students who are not using Odyssey Math® on the mathematics subtest of the TerraNova CTBS Basic Battery. This research also compares the performance patterns of male and female students.

Another long-term randomized control trial, The Effect of Connected Mathematics 2 (CM2), looks to determine whether the use of CM2, a comprehensive mathematics curriculum, yields higher student math achievement and higher levels of engagement compared to the use of traditional curricula in sixth-grade classrooms.

REL Mid-Atlantic is a collaboration led by Penn State’s College of Education and includes four other partners—Rutgers University, ICF International, the Metiri Group, and Analytica, Inc. REL Mid-Atlantic’s funding of $34 million is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.