Educational Policy Brown Bag Event: Gradually Turning Around – Evidence from Lowest-Performing Schools that Received School Improvement Grants (10/22/15)

Gradually Turning Around: Evidence from Lowest-Performing Schools that Received School Improvement Grants
Min Sun
Assistant Professor in Ed. Policy
UW College of Education

Oct. 22
12:30-1:30PM
Savery Hall 410

Abstract
There have been considerable resources channeled to lowest-performing schools in the country through School Improvement Grants (SIGs) since 2010. However, research demonstrating the effectiveness of SIGs is very limited. This study draws on a decade of longitudinal data and uses a difference-in-difference strategy to provide important evidence on program impacts across the full three-year duration of the SIG award in one large urban school district. Although there are gradual improvements in the first two years of reform, we find particularly positive effects of SIG interventions on student achievement in the third year. This pattern is consistent with the anticipation that comprehensive school turnarounds need time to allow positive changes to take place in schools. Moreover, we examine other outcomes that speak directly to the “healthy growth” of these schools, including reduced students’ unexcused absences, increased probability of parents choosing SIGs as their first choice, as well as retaining effective teachers and providing supports for developing teacher capacity.

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