Study of School Turnaround

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 (SIG) Program, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, targeted $3.5 billion over three years toward the goal of turning around these schools and improving learning for students.

Through a contract funded by the U.S Department of Education, AIR researchers are studying the change process in a set of 25 low-performing schools receiving School Improvement Grants.

Over the three-year grant period, AIR and its Mathematica partners visited a diverse set of SIG schools, interviewing stakeholders such as superintendents, principals, external support providers, instructional coaches, teachers, parents, and students. Interviews focused on topics such as why schools had been chronically low-performing, which strategies schools chose to implement, and how implementing these strategies changed the schools.

AIR researchers analyzed qualitative data, together with data from a teacher survey, to tell the story of the schools’ change process during the grant period.  Results can be found in the publications below, which focus on the full study sample, a subsample of rural schools, and a subsample of schools with high percentages of English Language learners, respectively. The baseline data reports focus on state definitions of chronically low-performing schools, grant award procedures, and the characteristics of SIG-awarded schools.

Project Reports:

Data Collection Instruments:

Other Resources: