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FAQ(s): School Improvement: What works in improving low-performing schools/districts?
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Closing the Achievement Gap: Lessons From Illinois' Golden S...
To illustrate the achievement gap by identifying and examining Golden Spike schools--Illinois schools that have a sustained record of closing the achievement gap. What are Golden Spike schools doing to perform so well? What is going on in these schools as a whole that affects the practice of all teachers in the school and raises student achievement accordingly?
Issue/Topic: Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap; At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
Author(s): McGee, Glenn
Organization(s): Northern Illinois University; Wilmette School District 39; Center for Governmental Studies
Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk
Season: Spring 2004
Findings/Results:
  • Golden Spike schools share distinct commonalities in leadership, literacy, teacher qualities, and community engagement. However, characteristics such as school size, class size and alignment with state standards make little differen...
2004-04-01T00:00:00
Role of Districts in Fostering Instructional Improvement (Th...
Primarily to provide feedback to three districts and intermediary organizations to improve reform efforts geared at improving instructional quality and performance. Also offers insights into how to improve teaching and learning (strategies; constraints/enablers; implications for improvement and partnerships). Presents findings from a three-year study.
Issue/Topic: Promising Practices; No Child Left Behind--School Support; Accountability; Accountability--School Improvement
Author(s): Barney, Heather; Zimmer, Ron; Suttorp, Marika; Ikemoto, Gina; Kerr, Kerri; Marsh, Julie; Darilek, Hilary
Organization(s): RAND
Publication: Role of Districts in Fostering Instructional Improvement (The)
Published On: 2005
Findings/Results:
Districts benefited from focusing on a small number of initiatives.
District success was also tied to the degree to which strategies:
  • Were aligned with other existing or new programs
  • ...
2005-01-01T00:00:00
Corrective Action in Low-Performing Schools: Lessons for NCL...
To make recommendations as to how states and districts can most effectively and efficiently undergo the corrective action and restructuring phases of intervention.
Issue/Topic: Teaching Quality; Teaching Quality--Certification and Licensure--Highly Qualified Teachers; No Child Left Behind; No Child Left Behind--Consequences for Schools; No Child Left Behind--School Support; Accountability; Accountability--School Improvement
Author(s): Trujillo, Tina; Mintrop, Heinrich
Organization(s): University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles
Publication: Center for the Study of Evaluation
Season: Summer 2005
Findings/Results:
  • There is no statistically significant association between state exit exam policies and increases in dropout rates.

  • There are statistically significant associations between state exit exam policies and lower high school compl...
  • 2005-06-01T00:00:00
    Maturing Mayoral Role in Education, The
    To describe the history and current state of mayoral involvement in public education
    Issue/Topic: Governance; Governance--Local/Mayoral Takeovers
    Author(s): Kirst, Michael; Edelstein, Fritz
    Organization(s): Stanford University; United States Conference of Mayors
    Publication: Harvard Educational Review
    Published On: 2006
    Findings/Results:

    Assessing a Mayor's Capacity for Educational Leadership

    1.    State and City Authority

    • In most states, any increase in mayoral authority over the schools requires state legislative ...
    2006-01-01T00:00:00
    Best Policies and Practices in Urban Educational Reform: A S...
    The purpose of the study is to provide findings regarding best policies and practices in educational reform focusing on student achievement in math and science. The study explores different models linking policy implementation to student outcome.
    Issue/Topic: Curriculum--Mathematics; Curriculum--Science; Accountability--School Improvement
    Author(s): Crasco, Linda; Kim, Jason
    Organization(s): Systemic Research, Inc.
    Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk
    Published On: 2006
    Findings/Results:
    • In general, student achievement gains appear linked to the theoretical educational reform drivers developed by the National Science Foundation.

    • “Open access” policies show a positive relationship with student ...
    2006-01-01T00:00:00
    School Turnarounds: A Review of the Cross-Sector Evidence on...
    This examination of cross-sector literature identifies a set of conditions and actions that have been documented to influence implementation of turnaround initiatives in schools and other kinds of organizations. Does not provide a rigid blueprint for successful turnarounds. Could serve as a foundation for subsequent research on actual school turnarounds. Districts and states may benefit from using the common elements as provisional guidance.
    Issue/Topic: Leadership; No Child Left Behind; No Child Left Behind--School Support; Accountability; Accountability--School Improvement
    Author(s): Hassel, Emily; Morando Rhim, Lauren; Kowal, Julie; Hassel, Bryan
    Organization(s): Public Impact; Center on Innovation & Improvement
    Published On: 2007
    Findings/Results:

    Findings are presented according to two broad themes that provide an analytic framework to synthesize the cross-sector literature: environmental context and leadership. Find...

    2007-01-01T00:00:00
    Race, Racial Concentration, and the Dynamics of Educational ...
    Whether the influence of a student's race on the learning process varies by the characteristics of the schools the student attends - in particular racial composition and school location.
    Issue/Topic: Curriculum--Mathematics; Equity; Minority/Diversity Issues
    Author(s): Lleras, Christy
    Organization(s): University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Publication: American Educational Research Journal
    Published On: 2008
    Findings/Results:

    1. Math course placement, engagement and student achievement positively affect one another over time, and these effects occur within both Low and High Minority schools.

    • Less desirable habits and lower skills in middle school t...
    2008-01-01T00:00:00
    Short Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality
    To study the short run effects of accountability on student achievement in an effort to uncover the causal impacts of accountability grades on student and school outcomes. To study DOE school level data on student achievement to determine whether grades assignments in the fall of 2007 impacted student achievement in the early months of 2008.
    Issue/Topic: Accountability
    Author(s): Rockoff, Jonah; Turner, Lesley
    Organization(s): Columbia University
    Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
    Published On: 2008
    Findings/Results:

    1. The results suggest that the new accountability system put in place had important effects in the months following its launch:

    • Schools that received very low accountability grades (F or D) saw improved test scores in math an...
    2008-01-01T00:00:00
    Turning Around Failing Schools: Policy Insights From the Cor...
    To review existing research in the corporate, not-for-profit, and the public sectors to develop policy insights for shaping efforts to turn around failing schools.
    Issue/Topic: No Child Left Behind--School Support; Accountability--School Improvement
    Author(s): Murphy, Joseph
    Publication: Educational Policy
    Published On: 7/18/2008
    Findings/Results: The authors' findings from their review of the literature on organizational turnarounds can be characterized under the three broad headings of leadership, efficiency, and focus.

    1. LEADERSHIP: Leadership is seen as a central variable in...

    2008-07-18T00:00:00
    Review of Empirical Evidence About School Size Effects: A Po...
    To determine the impact of school size on an array of different student and organizational outcomes.
    Issue/Topic: School/District Structure/Operations--School Size
    Author(s): Leithwood, Kenneth; Jantzi, Doris
    Organization(s): American Educational Research Association; Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
    Publication: Review of Educational Research
    Season: Spring 2009
    Findings/Results:
    • Smaller schools are generally better for most purposes.


    • Smaller does not mean "really small." Smaller is a relative term. For example, in districts with secondary school size exceeding 2,500, smaller can mean as many...
    2009-04-01T00:00:00
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