High Student Achievement: How Six School Districts Changed into High-Performing Systems
The Educational Research Service's new study of high-performing districts expands on an appraisal of high-performing schools that it published three years ago. This one highlights four districts: Brazosport Independent School District (in Clute, Texas); Twin Falls School District (in Idaho); Ysleta Independent School District (in El Paso); and Barbour County School District (in Philippi, West Virginia). All four districts serve a significant number of low-income children, yet showed significant gains in student achievement over the past five years. The study found an unsurprising correlation between strong leadership, a culture of high expectations, clearly articulated goals and standards, and a combination of empowerment and accountability among school staff and student achievement. A key factor contributing to district success, however, was item-level analysis of assessment results so as to identify specific weaknesses in students' knowledge and skills. This helped schools to focus classroom and individual instruction on improving these areas. Extensive efforts to provide immediate and appropriate corrective instruction contributed to the impressive score gains that these four districts made. To order a copy of the report, surf to http://www.ers.org/CATALOG/description.phtml?II=WS-0420&UID=2001070509040188.8.131.52 or contact the Educational Research Service at 1-800-791-9308.