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The Effects of Success in Sight as a School Improvement InterventionThe Effects of Success in Sight as a School Improvement Intervention

Regional need and study purpose. A school improvement program with demonstrated effectiveness can help raise student achievement in low-performing schools. This study will provide an unbiased estimate of the impact of Success in Sight, a comprehensive approach to school improvement, on student academic achievement.

Intervention description. Success in Sight is a two-year process to help schools achieve their improvement goals by building on their strengths, identifying the best ways to make progress, and paring away unnecessary activities. Over two years school leadership teams are taught how to balance the science of schooling with the art of continual improvement in 6 two-day professional development sessions and in 10 onsite mentoring sessions with change facilitators assigned to their school.

Study design and period. The 52 elementary schools in the sample, recruited from eight districts in Minnesota and Missouri, were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups (26 each). The sample is diverse—large and small and rural, suburban, and urban. It comprises 2,423 teachers and more than 21,000 students in grades 3, 4, and 5. The study period is 2006–10.

Key outcomes and measures. The primary outcome of this study is student achievement, measured by student scores for reading and math in grades 3, 4, and 5. Four other outcomes are related to the use of data-based decisionmaking, purposeful community, shared leadership, and effective school practices, assessed using the Teacher Survey of Policies and Practices.

Data collection approach. The researchers conduct baseline site visits to all treatment and control schools to document the local conditions and context through a focus group with the school leadership team, a focus group with a cross-section of staff, and an interview with the school principal. After the intervention the researchers will conduct short interviews with key contacts in schools to determine whether the local conditions at baseline have changed. Student scores on statewide No Child Left Behind assessments for reading and math will be collected for grades 3, 4, and 5.

Analysis plan. Data will be analyzed to determine the effects of Success in Sight on student achievement in participating schools after two years of the intervention. Further analyses will be conducted to estimate the effects of Success in Sight on school reform practices.

Principal investigators. Elizabeth Palmer, PhD, ASPEN Associates, Inc., and Helen Apthorp, PhD, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Additional Information. Region, contact information, and references

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