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Accountability
Accountability--Sanctions/Interventions
No Child Left Behind--Consequences for Schools
No Child Left Behind--School Support


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)...

Prisoners of Time PDF - The 1994 report from the National Education Commission on Time and Learning states that, "Learning in America is a prisoner of time. For the past 150 years, American public schools have held time constant and let learning vary." This reprinted edition from ECS offers a new introduction and updated examples of the creative and productive ways in which schools can use time. It is designed to refocus attention on the critical issue of using time as a resource for teaching and learning. (National Education Commission on Time and Learning, April 1994, Reprinted by ECS, October 2005)...

Annotated Bibliography on Learning MS Word PDF - In education, a theory is more than a set of ideas about how the world works -- theory becomes practice. Both educators and policymakers need to understand a variety of theories of how people learn in order to make appropriate decisions. This bibliography provides general information about various theories still in practice in today’s schools. Following each theory is a list of annotated references for the reader to learn more about both the theory and the practices that result from it. (Lois Brown Easton, Education Commission of the States, September 2005)...

Closing Low-Performing Schools and Reopening Them as Charter Schools: The Role of the State MS Word PDF - This paper suggests that states consider incorporating into their broader restructuring efforts an option that allows policymakers and administrators – selectively and wisely – to close down chronically low-performing schools and reopen them as charter schools. It explores the challenges and potential benefits of this option, as well as the roles that states can play in its implementation. (Todd Ziebarth, Education Commission of the States, September 2004)...

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)...

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) ...

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)...

Corrective Action in Low-performing Schools: Lessons for NCLB Implementation from State and District Strategies in First-generation Accountability Systems - This report examines accountability systems initiated in seven states and two large districts prior to 2001 to learn what lessons apply to No Child Left Behind. Through the use of evaluative reports, policy documents and interviews with state officials and researchers, the authors identify eight key lessons: (1) sanctions are not the fallback solution; (2) no single strategy has been universally successful; (3) staging should be handled with flexibility; (4) intensive capacity building is necessary; (5) a comprehensive bundle of strategies is key; (6) relationship-building needs to complement powerful programs; (7) competence reduces conflict; and (8) strong state commitment is needed to create system capacity. (Heinrich Mintrop and Tina Trujillo, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, July 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)...

Reaching Capacity: A Blueprint for the State Role in Improving Low-performing Schools and Districts - Schools and districts in Massachusetts – disproportionately those that serve low-income and non-white students – are struggling and need tools, resources and assistance to raise student achievement. Sections I, II and III of this report define the existing problem, and sections V, VI and VII provide guidance toward fulfilling the state’s commitment to all students. The report concludes that the state needs greater capacity to provide support in three domains: (1) curriculum and professional development, (2) assessment and data, and (3) leadership. Appendix A (starting on page 46) provides cost estimates for the major recommendations. (Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy at MassINC, 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)...

External Support to Schools on Probation: Getting a Leg Up? - This report is based on a two-year study of the design and implementation of the school probation policy in Chicago's elementary schools. The authors found the external support provided to schools is too fragmentary and weak to change instruction, but this support may improve other aspects. The weaknesses appear attributable to both implementation and design issues. (Kara Finnigan and Jennifer O'Day, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, July 2003)...

Knowing the Right Thing To Do: School Improvement and Performance-based Accountability - More often than not, schools labeled as low-performing do not fit the stereotype of failing schools, according to this report. The author argues that one of the problems in many struggling schools is that teachers are working hard but not teaching for meaning and learning. What is more, accountability systems do not take into consideration the sheer scale of the work that needs to be done, or the fact that periods of flat performance are natural and necessary components of the improvement process. Elmore identifies eight essential phases in the school improvement process and offers recommendations for policymakers' modifications to accountability systems to help underperforming schools improve. (Richard F. Elmore, NGA Center for Best Practices, August 2003)...

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)...

State Strategies for Turning Around Low-Performing Schools - Improvements in low-performing schools are most successful when they involve state help at an early stage, according to this report. After examining the characteristics of high-performing schools, this report suggests five key policy actions to improve education systems. They include: (1) demanding results-based accountability, (2) ensuring efficient use of resources, (3) investing in quality professional development, (4) supporting extra learning opportunities and (5) creating incentives to reward performance. (Dane Linn, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, February 2001)...

Using TIMSS To Inform Policy and Practice at the Local Level - In this policy brief, the author looks at the ways in which the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1995 and TIMSS-1999 data have helped to provide information on assessing student achievement. The author notes that TIMSS has a number of advantages as a tool for improvement: (1) it was a rigorously executed international study and has credibility in terms of measuring student achievement by global standards, (2) comparative international data allow educators to consult the policies and practices of higher achieving nations as possible strategies for reform, and (3) TIMSS provides data not only on student achievement but on as many as 1,500 contextual variables that might explain variations in achievement. (Deborah I. Nelson, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, May 2002)...

Turning Around Low-Performing Schools: A Guide for State and Local Leaders - This guide focuses on promising strategies for improving student achievement and building school capacity, as well as the traditional subjects of identifying and intervening in low-performing schools. (U.S. Department of Education, May 1998)...


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