Contractors: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; American Institutes for Research; Social Policy Research Associates
Race to the Top (RTT) is an ED-sponsored competitive grant program to states that has committed $4 billion through ARRA to support comprehensive K–12 education reform in four major areas: teachers and leaders, standards and assessments, data systems, and school turnaround. School Improvement Grants (SIG) are authorized and funded through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with a supplement through ARRA, for a total of $3.5 billion. Awards are given to SEAs in proportion to Title I funding, and schools receiving SIG must implement one of four school reform models: turnaround, transformation, closure, or restart. Although the award mechanisms and the state and district context of grantees under the two programs differ substantially, grantees under both programs are required to implement the same four turnaround models in their lowest-achieving schools. As part of OMB's FY 2010 Evaluation Initiative, IES proposed to conduct an impact evaluation of the Race to the Top and School Improvement Grant programs. In consultation with OMB, IES is planning to address four complementary evaluation questions:
States identified their lowest-achieving schools as eligible for funding to implement a school turnaround model (STM). To the extent that a consistent measure(s) and/or rules were used across the schools within states or districts, the study plans to use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact on student outcomes of receiving RTT and/or SIG funding to implement a STM. This sample will include about 525 schools in 60 districts from 22 states. The RTT sample will include all 50 states and DC for the implementation study component, and will utilize an interrupted time series design with state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress data to analyze the relationship between RTT and student outcomes. At least two and possibly three years of data collection are planned including state interviews, district interviews, school surveys, and extant data on student outcomes.
It is expected that RTT and SIG requirements will be implemented over a number of years. Therefore, the evaluation plans to focus on implementation at the state, district, and school levels in the early years of the study. We also anticipate that additional years of data collection beyond the scope of this contract will be needed to fully describe the implementation and impact of these efforts.
Cost/Duration: $18,606,416 over 5 years (September 2010–September 2015)
The contract was awarded in September 2010. The first year of implementation data collection has been completed, and collection of extant student outcomes data is currently underway. The first report is scheduled to be released in March 2014.