Efforts to improve conditions and outcomes in the lowest-performing schools and districts remain a high priority for policymakers and for AIR. While policy initiatives, targeted technical assistance, and research findings have yielded some success, students in these struggling schools deserve our perseverance. AIR researchers have conducted ground-breaking research and evaluation of state and federal education policies, including rigorous impact analyses and case studies that reveal contextual details of the school change process.
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21 Nov 2016
Better schools help make better communities and improve students’ chances of success. But what does research tell us about what works in school improvement? Explore what our researchers are learning about turning around struggling schools.
19 Oct 2016
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, requires that states develop and submit a State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education. To ensure a solid foundation for State Plan development and further stakeholder engagement, the Pennsylvania Department of Education asked AIR summarize working groups’ recommendations and relevant state policy and research in assessment, accountability, educator preparation, and educator evaluation.
13 Sep 2016
In these episodes from the Education Policy Center, Kerstin Carlson LeFloch and Catherine Barbour discuss what research tells us about best practices in school improvement. How can teachers and leaders work together to support school improvement? What are three critical components of school improvement?
14 Apr 2016
With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program underwent three major shifts; by increasing the level of funding, better targeting these funds to the persistently lowest-achieving schools, and requiring that schools adopt specific intervention models, the revamped SIG program aimed to catalyze more aggressive efforts to turn around student performance. This report focuses on a small sample of schools receiving SIG over the first three years of the revamped SIG program.
14 Apr 2016
The School Improvement Grant (SIG) program will expire as ESSA is implemented, but the challenges of low-performing schools have not. SIG provided some promising examples, as well as caveats that can challenge and inform those of us who believe our nation’s most disadvantaged students deserve better. In our latest blog post, Kerstin Carlson Le Floch shares what we’ve learned from case studies of 25 schools included in the Study of School Turnaround.
22 Mar 2016
Our nation’s lowest performing schools have traditionally struggled to offer students the instruction and supports they deeply need. The first phase of the federal School Improvement Grant Program targeted the goal of turning around these schools and improving learning for students. This report examines the first year of SIG implementation in a diverse sample of 25 schools from 13 districts and 6 states.
9 Mar 2016
School improvement policy for the past few decades has been characterized by mandated lists of activities designed to stimulate a dramatic turnaround in student achievement. In the long run, this policy approach did not engender the necessary school-level changes. This brief demonstrates why new policies must aim to get the right people in our schools and to create district and state systems that retain those people and build their knowledge and skills.