The study was conducted in 19 schools in Clover Park, Washington.
The study compared whole-school improvement programs, including SFA®, Accelerated Schools, and locally developed programs, in 19 schools for students in grades 1–2. Schools were divided into four groups based on their similarity on several school characteristics, including enrollment, percentage of minority students, percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and initial academic performance. Only one group (referred to as “cluster 2A” by the study authors), which was the third highest with respect to socioeconomic status, meets WWC group design standards. This group included three SFA® schools and two Accelerated Schools. The percentage of minority students in the three intervention schools was between 47% and 63%. In the comparison schools, the percentage of minority students ranged from 42% to 54%. The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch varied from 63% to 66% in intervention schools, and from 66% to 71% in comparison schools. For the effectiveness ratings, the WWC focused on findings from the sample of 128 second graders, who completed 2 years of the program. After 2 years, three SFA® schools with 86 students and two Accelerated Schools with 42 students remained in the analytic sample.
Intervention students received the typical SFA® program, including the SFA® reading curriculum, tutoring for students in grades 1–2, quarterly assessments, family support teams for students’ parents, a facilitator who worked with school personnel, and training for all intervention teachers.
Accelerated Schools is a comprehensive school reform program that is designed to close the achievement gap between at-risk and not-at-risk children. The program redesigns and integrates curricular, instructional, and organizational practices to improve the achievement of at-risk students.
Support for implementation
No information on training for the specific teachers in this study was provided.