Education Reform


Education reform comprises any planned changes in the way a school or school system functions, from teaching methodologies to administrative processes. RAND evaluates school reform models and conducts case-study analyses of individual schools and school systems to identify areas of improvement and highlight best practices and effective reform efforts.

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    New Assessments, Better Instruction?

    Sep 3, 2013

    The role of tests will be enhanced by policies that ensure that they mirror high-quality instruction, are part of a larger, systemic change effort, and are accompanied by specific supports for teachers.

Explore Education Reform

  • Research Brief

    Competency-Based Education in Three Pilot Programs: What It Is, How It's Implemented, and How It's Working

    In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extended grants to three organizations involved with competency-based education approaches. RAND examined these organizations' implementation, student experiences, and student outcomes.

    Aug 4, 2014

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    Examining Competency-Based Education

    Competency-based education meets students where they are academically, provides them opportunities for choice, and awards them credit for evidence of learning, not time spent studying a subject. Researchers identify lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice regarding this approach.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • News Release

    Choice of University in England: It's Not Just About the Money

    Tuition fee levels are not the only factor that prospective students and their parents consider when choosing universities. They also compare employment prospects, living expenses, university location, and course quality.

    Jun 12, 2014

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    Understanding the Impact of Differential University Fees in England

    Despite tuition of up to £9000 per year for higher education institutions in England, applications continue to rise. Aside from tuition fees, employment prospects, living expenses, university location, and course quality are important influences on prospective students' university choices.

    Jun 12, 2014

  • Report

    Leveraging Partnerships to Enhance the Impact of Principal-Preparation Programs

    New Leaders, an innovative national leadership organization, uses a model that unites core training and support with committed district partnerships, with positive results in both student achievement and feedback from participating districts.

    May 27, 2014

  • News Release

    Innovative School Principal Development Program Demonstrates Positive Student Achievement Gains

    Urban schools where principals received rigorous leadership training and support experienced larger gains in student achievement than schools led by principals who did not participate in the program.

    May 13, 2014

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    Research Brief

    How the New Leaders Principal-Preparation Program Impacts Student Achievement

    Students at schools with principals trained by the New Leaders program had modestly larger achievement gains than those at schools led by non-New Leaders principals. However, the program's effects varied by district, with no clear patterns.

    May 13, 2014

  • Report

    Improving School Leadership Through District Partnerships: Implementation and Effects of New Leaders — Appendix

    This document presents technical appendixes to supplement the main evaluation report Preparing Principals to Raise Student Achievement: Implementation and Effects of the New Leaders Program in Ten Districts (RR-507-NL).

    May 13, 2014

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    Innovative School Principal Development Program Demonstrates Positive Student Achievement Gains

    Urban schools where principals received rigorous leadership training and support experienced larger gains in student achievement than schools led by principals who did not participate in the program. At the high school level, students in schools where the trained principal had three or more years of experience saw gains in reading achievement of about 3 percentile points.

    May 13, 2014

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    Access to Quality Education: Priorities for Kurdistan (Arabic-language version)

    Achieving education reform in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq can be accomplished in a number of ways, including constructing new education facilities and restructuring the teacher evaluation and training processes.

    May 7, 2014

  • Report

    Strategic Priorities for Improving Access to Quality Education in the Kurdistan Region — Iraq: Kurdish-language version

    Describes the strategic priorities and recommendations RAND arrived at by assessing the status of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq's in-process reform of its K-12 education system.

    Apr 23, 2014

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    How Kurdistan Can Improve Access to Quality Education

    There are many ways to strengthen ongoing education reform in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: build new schools, improve teacher training, expand opportunities for high-performing students, redesign the teacher evaluation system, reward high-performing schools, involve parents and the public in promoting education, and more.

    Apr 4, 2014

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    Research Brief

    Can New Tests Lead to Better Teaching and Deeper Learning?

    New “deeper learning” tests tied to the Common Core State Standards could improve teaching practice. Tests that mirror high-quality instruction, that are part of a systemic change effort, and that are accompanied by training and support to help teachers interpret and use test scores effectively could have the best chance at positive impact.

    Feb 28, 2014

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    How to Assess 21st Century Competencies: 12 Key Lessons

    Assessing competencies such as creativity and global awareness can provide educators with a broader set of indicators they can use to inform instruction and set goals with students. However, evidence about the effects of testing suggests that caution and careful planning is warranted when developing a new assessment system.

    Feb 18, 2014

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    Evaluating the Impact of Access to Private Comprehensive Schooling in Mexico

    One promising avenue for delivering high-quality services to poor populations in developing countries is through subsidized private schools. RAND is investigating the impact and cost-effectiveness of a privately provided, affordable comprehensive schooling model for poor families in Mexico City.

    Nov 4, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators

    How do teachers assess things like creativity and collaboration, or cross-cultural skills? Our new report, Measuring 21st Century Competencies, focuses on just that question. The report grew out of the Global Cities Education Network, which is comprised of urban school systems working together on overcoming common education challenges. The participating cities are Denver, Hong Kong, Houston, Lexington, Melbourne, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto.

    Nov 1, 2013

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    RAND's Teacher Bonus Research Recognized by U.S. Dept. of Education

    The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences recognized a RAND report on the effects of teacher bonuses in New York City public schools last week. IES added the report, A Big Apple for Educators, to its What Works Clearinghouse™.

    Sep 24, 2013

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    Guiding Education Reform in Qatar

    Qatar's leadership asked RAND to examine the country's K-12 school system and provide options for improvement. Researchers collected and analyzed information by observing schools, government ministries, and other workplaces; conducting interviews; and analyzing relevant documents.

    Sep 19, 2013

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    Making Colleges More Affordable

    President Obama has released a plan to make colleges more affordable for the middle class. The plan calls for linking federal student aid to college performance, capping student loans at 10% of income, and incentivizing innovative instructional approaches to cut costs and improve quality.

    Aug 26, 2013