Skip Navigation

Search Results: (1-15 of 18 records)

 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2017213 Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations
The purpose of this report was to determine which Mississippi public schools perform better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Additionally, this study identified profiles of schools within Mississippi, or groups of schools with similar socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. This study identifies Mississippi public schools as "beating the odds" when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a multiple linear regression approach. The study identified distinct socioeconomic and demographic profiles of schools using latent profile analysis. Results indicate that 18 schools are beating the odds in English language arts and 19 schools are beating the odds in mathematics. Seven schools (about 3 percent) are beating the odds in both English language arts and mathematics. Four distinct demographic profiles of schools were identified, with the majority of schools having a profile consisting of high percentages of minority and low socioeconomic status students. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the improvement of low performing schools in Mississippi.
2/14/2017
NCEE 20174013 School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 injected $3 billion into the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, which awarded grants to states that agreed to implement one of four school intervention models in their lowest-performing schools. Each of the models prescribed specific practices designed to improve student outcomes. Despite the sizable investment, comprehensive evidence on the implementation and impact of SIG has been limited. Using 2013 survey and administrative data from nearly 500 schools in 22 states, this report focuses on whether schools receiving a grant used the practices promoted by SIG and how that compares to other schools. The report also focuses on whether SIG had an impact on student outcomes. Findings show that SIG schools reported using more practices than other schools, but there was no evidence that SIG caused those schools to use more practices. There was also no evidence that SIG had significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.
1/18/2017
REL 2016171 Stated Briefly: Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest Region: Lessons from federal School Improvement Grant implementation
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This study examines implementation of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) transformation model in rural regions, exploring challenges in implementation and technical assistance to support these efforts. This study is not part of the federal evaluation of the SIG, which provides more comprehensive information about SIG schools. Leaders participating in research alliances with REL Northwest and other regional stakeholders requested this study to learn more about how implementation of the SIG transformation model has played out in rural schools across the nation.

Researchers used data from the first cohort of the U.S. Department of Education's SIG baseline database to administer a survey addressing four research questions: 1) How did principals of rural SIG transformation schools rate their school's implementation of the requirements of the transformation model?; 2) To what extent do principals report challenges to implementation of the transformation model?; 3) To what extent do principals report their school received technical assistance for the implementation of the transformation model?; and 4) To what extent are principals' reports of challenges and technical assistance related to implementation? The survey was sent to all cohort 1 SIG principals of rural schools using the transformation model—a group that represented 42 states and Bureau of Indian Education schools. The final sample size was 135 principals (67 percent of the 201 schools where staff members who worked under SIG were still present). All surveyed principals worked in schools that were similar in size and student characteristics to the total sample.

Principal responses highlight challenges in both implementation and technical assistance. The results confirm previous research, by finding that certain elements of the transformation model are challenging for rural schools to implement—particularly, those related to ensuring high-quality staff and family and community engagement. The study also finds that principals are more likely to implement strategies for which they receive technical assistance; at the same time, they implement fewer strategies that present challenges. This suggests that rural schools working on improvement strategies need help beyond just grant funding.
8/23/2016
REL 2016143 Development and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems in Midwest Region states
Recent federal and state policies that recognize the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care, such as the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool for All initiative, have led to a rapid expansion of quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs). Although 49 states implement a QRIS in some form, each system differs in its approach to defining, rating, supporting, and communicating program quality. This study examined QRISs in use across the Midwest Region to describe approaches that states use in developing and implementing a QRIS. The purpose was to create a resource for QRIS administrators to use as they refine their systems over time. Researchers used qualitative techniques, including a review of existing documents and semistructured interviews with state officials in the Midwest Region to document the unique and common approaches to QRIS implementation. Findings suggest that the process of applying for a Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant helped advance the development of a QRIS system, even in states that were not awarded funding. Also, all seven states in the Midwest Region use a variety of direct observations in classrooms to measure quality within each QRIS, despite the logistical and financial burdens associated with observational assessment. Five of the states in the Midwest Region use alternate pathways to rate certain early childhood education programs in their QRIS, most commonly for accredited or state prekindergarten programs. Finally, linking state subsidies and other early childhood education funding to QRIS participation encouraged early childhood education providers to participate in a QRIS. Developing and refining a QRIS is an ongoing process for all states in the Midwest Region and systems are continually evolving. Ongoing changes require policymakers, researchers, providers, and families to periodically relearn the exact requirements of their QRISs, but if changes are based on evidence in the field of changing needs of children and families, revised QRISs may better measure quality and better serve the public. Findings from this report can help inform the decisions of state QRIS administrators as they expand and refine their systems.
6/1/2016
REL 2016107 Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest Region: Lessons from federal School Improvement Grant implementation
This study examines implementation of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) transformation model in rural regions, exploring challenges in implementation and technical assistance to support these efforts. This study is not part of the federal evaluation of the SIG, which provides more comprehensive information about SIG schools. Leaders participating in research alliances with REL Northwest and other regional stakeholders requested this study to learn more about how implementation of the SIG transformation model has played out in rural schools across the nation.

Researchers used data from the first cohort of the U.S. Department of Education's SIG baseline database to administer a survey addressing four research questions: 1) How did principals of rural SIG transformation schools rate their school's implementation of the requirements of the transformation model?; 2) To what extent do principals report challenges to implementation of the transformation model?; 3) To what extent do principals report their school received technical assistance for the implementation of the transformation model?; and 4) To what extent are principals' reports of challenges and technical assistance related to implementation? The survey was sent to all cohort 1 SIG principals of rural schools using the transformation model—a group that represented 42 states and Bureau of Indian Education schools. The final sample size was 135 principals (67 percent of the 201 schools where staff members who worked under SIG were still present). All surveyed principals worked in schools that were similar in size and student characteristics to the total sample.

Principal responses highlight challenges in both implementation and technical assistance. The results confirm previous research, by finding that certain elements of the transformation model are challenging for rural schools to implement—particularly, those related to ensuring high-quality staff and family and community engagement. The study also finds that principals are more likely to implement strategies for which they receive technical assistance; at the same time, they implement fewer strategies that present challenges. This suggests that rural schools working on improvement strategies need help beyond just grant funding.
5/18/2016
NCEE 20164002 Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Final Report
This evaluation report tracks the implementation of School Improvement Grants (SIG) by examining the actions and reactions of 25 SIG schools as they attempt to turn around a history of low performance.
4/14/2016
NCEE 20154018 Usage of Policies and Practices Promoted by Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 injected $7 billion into two of the Obama administration's signature competitive education grant programs: Race to the Top (RTT) and School Improvement Grants (SIG). While RTT focused on state policies and SIG focused on school practices, both programs promoted related policies and practices, including an emphasis on turning around the nation's lowest-performing schools. Despite the sizable investment in both of these programs, comprehensive evidence on their implementation and impact has been limited to date.

This report focuses on two implementation questions: (1) Do states and schools that received grants actually use the policies and practices promoted by these two programs? (2) Does their usage of these policies and practices differ from states and schools that did not receive grants? Answers to these questions provide context for interpreting impact findings that will be presented in a future report.

The first volume of this report details our RTT findings, which are based on spring 2012 interviews with 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The second volume of this report details our SIG findings, which are based on spring 2012 surveys of approximately 470 schools in 60 districts and 22 states.
9/29/2015
NCEE 20154012 State Capacity to Support School Turnaround
One objective of the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) program is to help states enhance their capacity to support the turnaround of low-performing schools. This capacity may be important, given how difficult it is to produce substantial and sustained achievement gains in low-performing schools. There is limited existing research on the extent to which states have the capacity to support school turnaround and are pursuing strategies to enhance that capacity. This brief documents states' capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013. It examines capacity issues for all states and for those that reported both prioritizing turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Key findings, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia, include the following:
  • More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools.
  • 38 states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013.
  • More than 85 percent of states reported using strategies to enhance their capacity to support school turnaround, with the use of intermediaries decreasing over time and the use of organizational or administrative structures increasing over time.
  • States that reported both prioritizing school turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it were no more likely to report using intermediaries than other states but all 21 of these states reported having at least one organizational or administrative structure compared with 86 percent (25 of 29) of all other states.
5/5/2015
NCEE 20154004 Building Teacher Capacity to Support English Language Learners in Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants
The Study of School Turnaround examines the improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 case study schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program over a three-year period (2010–11 to 2012–13 school years). This brief focuses on 11 of these SIG schools with high proportions of English Language Learner (ELL) students (a median of 45 percent ELLs), describing their efforts to improve teachers' capacity for serving ELLs through staffing strategies and professional development (PD). Key findings that emerged from the ELL case study data collected during the 2011–12 and 2012–13 school years include:
  • Few schools reported leveraging staffing strategies to improve teacher capacity for serving ELLs. Administrators in 3 of the 11 schools reported considering ELL expertise and experience when hiring classroom teachers, while respondents in 2 of the 11 schools reported that teachers' ELL expertise and experience purposefully factored into assignment of teachers to specific classrooms.
  • Most teacher survey respondents (54 to 100 percent) in all 11 schools reported participating in ELL-related PD during the 2011–12 school year. On average, teachers reported that ELL-related PD accounted for less than 20 percent of their total PD hours.
  • Teacher survey respondents in schools that reported a greater PD focus on ELL-related topics, such as instructional strategies for advancing English proficiency or instructional strategies to use for ELLs within content classes, also generally appeared more likely to report that PD improved their effectiveness as teachers of ELLs.
11/25/2014
NCEE 20154001 Are Low-Performing Schools Adopting Practices Promoted by School Improvement Grants?
The federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program aims to improve student achievement by promoting the implementation of four school intervention models: transformation, turnaround, restart, and closure. Previous research provides evidence that low-performing schools adopt some practices promoted by the four models, but little is known about how schools combine these practices.

This brief describes both the individual SIG-promoted improvement practices and the combinations of these practices that low-performing schools reported adopting. Key findings, based on spring 2013 survey responses from 480 school administrators in low-performing schools that were and were not implementing a SIG intervention model, include the following:
  • Schools on average reported adopting 20 of 32 improvement practices promoted by the SIG transformation or turnaround models.
  • No school reported adopting all practices required under the transformation or turnaround models.
  • More than 96 percent of schools reported adopting each of the 3 most commonly adopted individual practices: using data to inform and differentiate instruction, increasing technology access for teachers or using computer-assisted instruction, and providing ongoing professional development that involves teachers working collaboratively or is facilitated by school leaders.
  • For 16 of the 32 practices examined, schools implementing a SIG model were statistically significantly more likely than schools not implementing one to report adopting that practice.
  • Almost every school reported adopting a unique combination of practices, but certain practices (for example, the 3 most commonly adopted practices listed above) were much more likely than others (for example, using financial incentives to recruit and retain effective teachers and principals) to be included in these combinations.
10/28/2014
REL 2014035 Speak Out, Listen Up! Tools for Using Student Perspectives and Local Data for School Improvement
Listening closely to what students say about their school experiences can be beneficial to educators for understanding and addressing school-related topics and problems and rethinking policies and practices. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide educators with a purposeful and systematic way to elicit and listen to student voice to inform school improvement efforts. School improvement is complex work that relies on multiple sources of information to frame challenges and address and monitor change efforts. Student voice brings an additional, important source of information to these efforts. The toolkit offers three tools. ASK (Analyzing Surveys with Kids) involves students in analyzing and interpreting survey results associated with a school-related topic or problem and then producing suggestions for school improvement. Inside-Outside Fishbowl organizes a special kind of focus group in which students and educators trade roles as speakers and listeners during a facilitated discussion of a school-related topic or problem, and jointly develop an action plan. S4 (Students Studying Students’ Stories) guides a digital storytelling process in which students produce and analyze videotaped interviews of other students about a school-related topic or problem and then host forums with educators to suggest improvements. The toolkit includes detailed information about how the tools work, the questions they address, the number and types of participants needed, the amount of time required, space and materials considerations, and directions for using the tools. It also includes a tool template so schools and districts can create new student voice tools for their particular needs and interests.
7/29/2014
NCEE 20144015 Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Findings After the First Year of Implementation
The Study of School Turnaround examines the improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 case study schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) over a three-year period (2010-11 to 2012-13 school years). Using site visit, teacher survey, and fiscal data, the case studies describe the school contexts, the principals’ leadership styles, the schools’ improvement strategies and actions, the supports states and districts provide to the schools, school stakeholders’ perceptions of improvement, and how SIG fits into the schools’ change process. Findings after the first year of implementation in the 25 “core” sample schools reveal that while all were low-performing, the schools differed in their community and fiscal contexts, performance and reform histories, interpretations of the causes of—and potential solutions for—their performance problems, and perceptions of improvement after the first year of SIG. However, most schools did report that their improvement strategies and actions during the first year of SIG were a continuation of activities or plans that predated SIG, and few schools appeared to have experienced a disruption from past practice as of spring 2011.
5/28/2014
NCEE 20144014 A Focused Look At Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants That Have High Percentages of English Language Learner Students
The Study of School Turnaround examines the improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 case study schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program over a three-year period (2010-11 to 2012-13 school years). This evaluation brief focuses on 11 of these SIG schools with high proportions of English Language Learner (ELL) students (a median of 45 percent ELLs).
4/16/2014
NCEE 20144013 A Focused Look At Rural Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants
The Study of School Turnaround is a set of case studies of the school improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program over a three-year period (school years 2010-11 to 2012-13). This evaluation brief focuses on the nine SIG schools that were in rural areas and how respondents in these schools perceived their rural context to influence specific turnaround activities. Key findings that emerged from the rural case study data collected in spring 2012 include:
  • Although rural SIG schools reported some challenges that nonrural SIG schools have also reported, such as low student motivation and staff morale, the rural schools reported additional challenges resulting from their schools' remote locations and large catchment areas. For example, respondents reported that these rural characteristics affected the recruitment or retention of teachers and, to a lesser extent, parents' involvement in the schools.
  • School and district administrators in eight of the nine schools suggested that long teacher commutes or isolated communities posed challenges to recruiting or retaining teachers. To counter these challenges, respondents in two schools reported offering direct support for teacher commutes (for example, gas stipends or vans), and respondents in three schools reported offering signing bonuses to incoming teachers.
  • School and district administrators and teaching staff in the nine schools mentioned multiple factors limiting parent involvement in school-based activities. Respondents from five schools perceived that a lack of access to transportation limited parent involvement, whereas respondents from three schools noted that the distance between schools and parents' homes was a contributing factor. Four schools focused on hiring or expanding the role of parent liaisons to increase parent involvement.
4/2/2014
WWC SSR10022 WWC Review of the Report "School Turnarounds: Evidence From the 2009 Stimulus"
The 2012 study, School Turnarounds: Evidence From the 2009 Stimulus, examined the effects of being eligible for and receiving School Improvement Grants (SIGs) on schoolwide achievement of students in 2,892 low-performing California public schools. SIGs are federally funded and offered to schools that are identified as persistently lowest achieving. The study used a regression discontinuity design in which average test score levels and changes on California's Academic Performance Index (API) defined which schools were eligible to receive a SIG. Because the study schools were not shown to be equivalent on all variables related to school level achievement, the research meets WWC regression discontinuity design standards with reservations. Changes in API may have been influenced by improved student learning, the movement of students from one school to another, or a combination of these factors. Additionally, the study analyzed school-level effects, and the magnitude of these effects cannot be directly compared to the magnitude of an effect from an intervention that uses student-level data for the analysis. Finally, as a result of the design used for the study, the reported impacts are only valid at the thresholds that define the eligibility criteria, and do not generalize to all SIG-eligible schools.
11/19/2013
   1 - 15     Next >>
Page 1  of  2