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Accountability--School Improvement


Race to the Top: Promising Approaches to Assisting the Lowest-Performing Schools (Goal 4) MS Word PDF - (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, March 2009)...

Leaving No School Behind: New Imperative for State Education MS Word - The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act will bring dramatic changes to many states’ accountability systems. According to this article, the most legislative attention has been focused on identifying and improving the performance of low-performing schools. In terms of compliance, earlier this year only 15 states met the assessment requirements, and just 12 states provided support to low-performing districts or schools. (Jane Armstrong, State Education Leader, Education Commission of the States, Fall 2002)...

No Child Left Behind Policy Brief: Low-Performing Schools PDF - This policy brief provides: a general description of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act's (ESEA) requirements involving adequate yearly progress and required school improvement practices; a sampling of state opportunities to leverage ESEA to support low-performing schools; and key policy questions for states to consider as they support the improvement of low-performing schools within the ESEA environment. (Kirstin Craciun and Ravay Snow-Renner, Education Commission of the States, April 2002)...

Improving Low-Performing Schools: Lessons from Five Years of Studying School Restructuring Under No Child Left Behind - This report synthesizes five years of research on state and local efforts to improve persistently low-performing schools in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act. CEP conducted this research in six states - California, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Ohio - and in 23 districts and 48 schools within those states. The report also makes recommendations for improving federal assistance in this area. (Center on Education Policy, December 2009)...

"Diverse Providers" in Action: School Restructuring in Hawaii - The state of Hawaii has chosen to partner with outside organizations in 44 of its 92 restructuring schools--a much greater level than mainland states. The unique procurement and accountability frameworks for managing these partnerships offer unique insights to states considering a similar approach. These partnerships are accompanied by efforts to build infrastructure and provide crucial support and monitoring. (Frederick Hess and Juliet Squire, American Enterprise Institute, August 2009)...

Making Mid-Course Corrections: School Restructuring in Maryland - This report describes findings from case studies of 10 Maryland schools undergoing restructuring in accordance with No Child Left Behind. Replacing school staff and using turn-around specialists were the most common approaches, but did not have a significant, positive affect on student performance. This report also examines implementation issues related to school restructuring. (Brenda Newman-Sheldon, Center on Education Policy, December 2007)...

The Turnaround Challenge - Turning around low-performing schools is one of the greatest challenges facing policymakers and educators. This report provides a framework for states and districts for school turnaround that is flexible and systemic, and focuses on three key elements: changing conditions, increasing capacity and organizing clusters of schools. A self-audit and other tools for states engaged in school turnaround also are included. An Executive Summary also is available. (Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, 2007) ...

Moving Beyond Identification: Assisting Schools in Improvement - This report examines the kind of assistance that schools in improvement under No Child Left Behind receive and how effective district and state officials believe that assistance to be. The Reading First program was cited as an effective way to boost test scores, as was professional development, alignment of curriculum and instruction with tests. The survey also found that numerous districts lack the capacity to carry out some of NCLB’s requirements with regard to low-performing schools. (Center on Education Policy, July 2007) ...

Extreme Makeover: Two Failing San Diego Schools Get New Start as Charters - Two San Diego, California schools faced restructuring under No Child Left Behind and opted to convert to charter schools, a seldom used approach under the law. This policy brief provides a case study of these two schools and lessons learned from their experiences. (Joe Williams and Thomas Toch, Education Sector, November 2006)...

Leading for Learning - This special pullout section is the third annual Education Week report examining leadership in education, a topic of critical concern at a time of ever-increasing expectations for schools. It includes a mix of explanatory articles and research findings analyzed by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. Its three current objectives are: (1) strengthen education leadership to improve student achievement; (2) enhance out-of-school learning opportunities; and (3) expand participation in arts and culture. (Education Week, September 2006) ...

Promoting a Systematic Focus on Learning Supports to Address Barriers to Learning and Teaching - Anticipating Congressional hearings related to reauthorizing NCLB, this report focuses on how learning supports can be enhanced in the reauthorized law. The emphasis is on fully integrating the development of a comprehensive system of learning supports as an essential component in school improvement efforts. (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, July 2006) ...

Audit Tool: A Method for Determining Level of Need for Support to Improvement - The District Audit Tool was designed to assist in formulating intensity and focus of technical assistance by helping states: (1) prioritize which districts failing to meet AYP requirements require the most intense and immediate assistance; (2) quantitatively and qualitatively judge the status of these districts against the research-based elements that represent successful schools and districts; (3) identify their short, medium and long term needs to improve student learning; (4) assign/confer with districts on a plan for how, when, and by whom technical assistance will be delivered and progress will be monitored on plan implementation. (Jan Sheinker, Kimberly Hambrick, Diane Lowery, David Lamitina, Christine Steele, Kathy St. Clair, Keith Butcher and Ted Jarrell, Council of Chief State School Officers, December 2005)...

The Role of Districts in Fostering Instructional Improvement: Lessons from Three Urban Districts Partnered with the Institute for Learning - In Fall 2002, RAND initiated an assessment of three urban districts' efforts to improve instructional quality and school performance. This report examines the assessment's findings, and identifies: (1) the strategies the districts used to promote instructional improvement and how these strategies worked; (2) what constrained or enabled district instructional improvement efforts; (3) what the impact of the Institute for Learning (IFL) was and what constrained or enabled the district-IFL partnerships; and (4) the implications for district instructional improvement and district-intermediary partnerships. Also available is an executive summary. (Julie A. Marsh, Kerri A. Kerr, Gina S. Ikemoto, Hilary Darilek, Marika Suttorp, Ron W. Zimmer and Heather Barney, RAND, November 2005)...

School Improvement Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - Under NCLB, a school in need of improvement (SINI) is provided with additional resources in the form of a school improvement fund (SIF). States allocate the SIF directly to schools, and are to establish school support teams to assist in the design and implementation of improvement plans. This paper examines how states are implementing their role as providers of technical assistance and resources to SINIs, detailing a number of ways to more effectively implement school improvement: (1) building state capacity to implement a repertoire of approaches to school improvement; (2) focusing school improvement efforts beyond the school level; (3) ensuring appropriate funding for school improvement efforts; (4) using school improvement funds more strategically; and (5) focusing on effectiveness. An executive summary is available. (Phyllis McClure, The Center for American Progress, March 2005)...

Policy Options for Interventions in Failing Schools - This paper evaluates existing responses to school failure and provides recommendations for improved interventions in failing public schools. The paper contains a theory and literature review followed by case studies of school interventions in New Zealand and in low-performing public schools in California. Policy recommendations for schools in general – and public schools in California in particular – are discussed starting on page 144. By instituting "new accountability" and parental choice, automatic responses to failing schools are expected to work across entire school systems. The author recommends that interventions be specifically designed for the failure they are meant to correct, as automatic responses fail to work across entire systems. Additionally, the government, or its designated agency, should be prepared to initiate interventions without time limits in persistently failing schools. (Connor P. Spreng, RAND, 2005)...

Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better? - Some California elementary schools serving largely low-income students score as much as 250 points higher on the state’s academic performance index than other schools with very similar students. This study surveyed principals and teachers in 257 California elementary schools serving similar student populations and analyzed the results to determine which current K-5 practices and policies are most strongly associated with higher levels of student achievement. Identified practices include: (1) prioritizing student achievement; (2) implementing a coherent, standards-based curriculum and instructional program; (3) using assessment data to improve student achievement and instruction; and (4) ensuring availability of instructional resources. (Trish Williams, Michael Kirst and Edward Haertel, EdSource, October 2005)...

Reaching New Heights: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools - This guidebook provides a policy framework for turning schools around and highlights best practices from states, districts and schools. The authors suggest five guiding principles for governors and other policymakers: (1) not all low-performing schools are the same, (2) the solution must include capacity-building, (3) districts are essential collaborators in efforts to turn around schools, (4) be prepared for the long haul and (5) assistance to low-performing schools should be part of a larger strategy of school improvement. (NGA Center for Best Practices, August 2003)...


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