Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brian Rowan, Deborah Ball, and David Cohen work to identify the importance of methods of implementation in school improvement programs

Tags: ball, cohen, news, rowan

Brian Rowan, Deborah Ball, and David Cohen, have been involved in a massive study that involved 115 elementary schools, 300 teachers, 800 school leaders, and 7,500 students, In this research, they studied three different school improvement programs with the goal of illuminating the characteristics that made the programs more—or less—successful. Rowan and other colleagues recently issued a report (pdf) of their findings and the work is the subject of an article in the December 16, 2009, Education Week.

The project, called the Study of Instructional Improvement, followed the implementation of three programs, Accelerated Schools, America's Choice, and Success for All.

Among their findings is that academic gains were greatest for those programs that had well-defined plans, routines, and scripts−and that had teachers who followed the plans. Gains were weaker for the program that provided little guidance to the teachers. “The general principles,” said Rowan, “are a high degree of specificity for what you want to do and high degrees of support for teachers to do it with fidelity.”

The article is available online, however an Education Week subscription is required to see the complete text. Brian Rowan is the Burke A. Hinsdale Collegiate Professor in Education. Deborah Ball, is dean of the School of Education and William H. Payne Collegiate Professor in Education and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. David Cohen is the John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education and professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

January 21, 2010, update: The research was the topic of an article in the November/December issue of the Harvard Education Letter and a posting on a Washington Post blog on January 10, 2010.

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