A recent study examines whether federal school improvement grants (SIGs) improved student outcomes in low-achieving schools, which as a condition of accepting the money had to use one of four school-improvement models: turnaround, transformation, closure, or restart. The program also recommended specific practices, such as comprehensive instructional reforms and changes to teacher and principal training. (It should also be noted that the Every Student Succeeds Act eliminated the SIG program, giving states more control over their turnaround efforts.)
The study compares 490 schools SIG and similarly-situated non-SIG schools across twenty-two states using a three analyses over a four-year period: a regressive analysis using 2010–11 and 2012–13 student test data; surveys of school administrators in 2011–12 and 2012–13; and a correlative study conducted in 2009–2010 and 2012–13.
The most important finding came from the regression analysis, and it’s that SIG dollars and tactics failed to improve math and reading scores, graduation rates, and college enrollment, when those schools are compared to similar non-SIG schools. This is in line with other recent studies on the same effects.
The results of the other two research methods are also, however, worth noting. The survey was designed to facilitate qualitative comparisons between SIG...