Achieving Dramatic School Improvement: An Exploratory Study
The schools highlighted in this report were selected for further examination from a nationwide pool of 1,946 initially low-performing elementary and middle schools that had received funding under the federal Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) program. In the course of a five-year longitudinal study of CSR implementation and student outcomes, these 11 schools stood out for their significant improvement in student achievement. Some of the schools were identified in the study as being “rapid improvement schools” because they had showed quick and dramatic improvement in student achievement; others improved at a slower pace.
This sub-study report, by researchers from WestEd and its CSR evaluation partner, American Institutes for Research, includes in-depth, retrospective case studies of the 11 schools. Drawing from those case studies, it identifies reform-related approaches and themes that were common across both types of school. But it also describes how these schools, both as types and as individual organizations, differed in the specifics of their improvement efforts.
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