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Learning What Works to Turn Around Failing Schools. Rebecca A. Maynard University of Pennsylvania IES Research Conference Washington, DC June 12, 2008. Goals. Review the evidence available to support recommendations Suggest new research Evidence to support (or not) the recommendations

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Learning what works to turn around failing schools l.jpg

Learning What Works to Turn Around Failing Schools

Rebecca A. Maynard

University of Pennsylvania

IES Research Conference

Washington, DC June 12, 2008


Goals l.jpg
Goals

  • Review the evidence available to support recommendations

  • Suggest new research

    • Evidence to support (or not) the recommendations

    • Evidence to support implementation guidelines– putting what works to work


1 signal need for dramatic change l.jpg
1. Signal Need for Dramatic Change

  • New leader/change in leadership approach & link with instructional focus

  • What we know

    • Sample of success stories (selection on the outcome)

    • New principals came in with clear purpose

      • Necessary, but not sufficient for recruitment?

    • Successful “sitting” principals became more involved with students and teachers

      • Necessary or a signaling device?


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2. Focus on Improving Instruction

  • Student-level monitoring; data-guided instruction; professional support for teachers

  • What we know

    • All successful schools used data to guide policies and practice

      • School; classroom; & student level data and needs


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3. Orchestrate “Quick Wins”

  • Mobilize and motivate

  • What we know

    • Quick Wins were prevalent among turnaround schools included in case studies

    • Varied focus—discipline; time use; resources and physical plan


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4. Build a Committed Staff

  • Shuffle, support, motivate, and (when necessary and feasible) replace

  • What we know

    • Faculty and staff in successful schools represented in case studies had shared goals and a common mission

    • Typically there was some changing of roles, addition of staff, and/or reorganizing of roles



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EX 1: Successful turnaround schools signaled a need for change

  • Is signaling necessary for turnaround?

    • Is it sufficient?

  • What are the qualities of effective new principals?

    • If failing schools hired principals with “effective” qualities, are they more likely to achieve turnaround?

  • What would “effective principal involvement” with students and teachers look like?

    • If “sitting” principals in failing schools “engaged,” would their schools turnaround?


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EX 2: Successful turnaround schools improved instruction change

  • What school-level data are useful indicators of a need for change?

    • What are effective responses to “need indicators”?

    • What is the expected impact of recommended responses?

  • What classroom/teacher-level data are useful indicators of a need for change?

    • What are effective responses to “need indicators”?

    • What is the expected impact of recommended responses?

  • Ditto for student-level data



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A sample of ongoing relevant research change

  • Observational study relating change strategies with school performance (Weinbaum & Weiss)

  • Prospective study of 10 turnaround efforts (Dukes et al.)

  • VAL-Ed study to develop a measure of effective school leadership (Porter, Polikoff et al.)

    • Effectiveness of VAL-Ed v. BAU assessment

  • Data driven reform initiatives (Slavin et al.)

    • Effectiveness of DDR v BAU

  • Whole school reform initiatives


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A sample of other useful studies change

  • Theory generation

    • Longitudinal analysis of a representative sample of failing schools

      • Predictors of successful turnaround

      • Case studies of schools with unexpected outcomes

    • Case study of “unsuccessful” turnaround efforts

  • Research synthesis/secondary analysis

    • Review evidence related to component recommendations

      • E.g., what is the evidence that data driven instruction improves outcomes?

  • Impact evaluations

    • Turnaround training for school leaders

      • Does it lead to higher rates of success? For whom?

    • Instructional support for failing schools

      • Are the models that are effective? For whom?


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