Baseline Analysis of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools

Just weeks after Ed Sector’s “Portrait
of School Improvement Grantees
” comes this IES-funded report on the federal
School Improvement Grants (SIGs). (For more information on SIG, look here
and here.)
While much of the information presented here mimics that delivered by Ed
Sector, some valuable new insights emerge, especially regarding state
differences. For example, Kentucky awarded funding to 105 of its 108 qualifying
schools, while Illinois funded only ten of 738. Further, planned approaches to SIG
evaluations vary dramatically between states. Eight plan to monitor their
grants monthly, whereas thirty-three will do so on an annual basis. How states
choose to evaluate their grantees range from conducting site visits,
designating staff for monitoring, holding “check-in” meetings, and using
electronic/online tools. As is common with many large-scale IES-funded reports,
this report offers much data and little analysis, making policy implications
difficult to determine. But the groundwork it lays—especially regarding state
differences in funding distribution and implementation tactics—will surely
provide helpful background and insight in future years as SIG begins to be

Steven Hurlburt, Kerstin Carlson Le Floch, Susan
Bowles Therriault, and Susan Cole, “Baseline
Analysis of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools
,” (Washington, D.C.: American Institutes for Research, May

Chris Irvine
Chris Irvine is a Policy and Operations Associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute