Reviewing the research on school turnaround

This report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) summarises existing research on school turnaround and profiles four schools that used a combination of federal funding and research-based methods to successfully improve outcomes for students.

Among the studies included in the report are:

  • A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that leadership and management changes associated with the school-restructuring No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) sanction showed the strongest positive effects on student achievement, as measured by school- and student-level data.
  • A study from Harvard University that examined the extent to which low-performing traditional public schools that implemented the practices of high-performing charter schools improved student achievement.

CAP’s analysis of the data found that school turnaround is most successful and meaningful when districts take aggressive steps to transform underperforming schools. According to the report, aggressive action on the part of school districts, resources and requirements, governance and staffing changes, data-driven decision making, and a focus on school culture and nonacademic supports for disadvantaged students are all part of an evidence-based set of best practices that are key to successful school turnaround.

Source: Dramatic action, dramatic improvement: the research on school turnaround (2015), Center for American Progress

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