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IES Grant

Title: The Impact of CSI Designation in Multiple Measure ESSA Accountability Systems
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Le Floch, Kerstin C. Awardee: American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2020 - 07/31/2024) Award Amount: $2,288,342
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R305A200254

Co-Principal Investigator: Ozek, Umut

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to examine accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Although research has examined the effects of accountability policies, little is known about why accountability is or is not showing results. The project team will examine causal pathways to help explain such results. Researchers will take advantage of newly introduced accountability measures to examine a richer set of outcomes beyond student test scores. This study will be one of the first to examine accountability systems as implemented under ESSA.

Project Activities: The project team will (a) measure the impact of comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) school designation on student outcomes, especially the effect on new ESSA measures, such as chronic absenteeism and college and career readiness; (b) examine causal pathways that could explain impact results, including principal behavior in support of school improvement; (c) measure the influence of new measures under ESSA on the identification of low-performing schools; and (d) examine the design and implementation of ESSA accountability systems, including the rationale for new measures and supports aligned with them.

Products: Researchers will produce a set of evidence describing the impact of accountability on student outcomes. The team will also produce a cost effectiveness analysis, peer-reviewed publications and a final, publicly accessible dataset or documentation about how the researchers accessed and used data from extant sources.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The researchers will conduct this study in California, Ohio, and Florida and focus on all CSI schools well as a comparison group of the of lowest-performing non-CSI schools.

Sample: The study will compare outcomes in CSI schools to those of non-CSI schools in California (781 CSI schools including 481 bottom 5 percent schools); Ohio (285 CSI schools including107 bottom 5 percent schools) and Florida (553 CSI schools including 355 bottom 5 percent schools).

Intervention: The intervention is the designation of schools as CSI schools and the associated actions that follow from that designation. Specifically, researchers will examine how principals of CSI schools respond and prioritize areas for improvement and will document the supports and services that the states and school districts provide to CSI schools.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will use regression discontinuity (RD) designs to examine the impacts on schools above and below the cutoff for the identification of bottom 5 percent Title I schools and use comparative interrupted time-series (CITS) designs to capitalize on the timing of the introduction of processes for CSI identification.

Control Condition: The control condition is non-CSI schools.

Key Measures: Researchers will examine typical measures such as achievement and graduation rate but will also examine measures such as chronic absenteeism and college/career readiness. The team will administer a principal survey in CSI and non-CSI schools to understand their awareness, prioritizing processes, and interventions to improve student outcomes.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use RD and CITS to answer causal questions examining CSI designation. They will also conduct simulations and other analyses to examine how including new measures alters the set of schools identified as low performing. Through analyses of survey data and interviews, they will seek to understand the motivations behind including certain measures and the supports and services provided to CSI schools.

Cost Analysis: The research team will use the ingredients approach to measure the cost of supports, services, and resources provided to CSI schools