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Despite increasing pressure for improving student achievement, most studies of comprehensive school reforms show only a modest effect — or sometimes no effect at all. But if reform has not been implemented, or has been implemented only in part, changes in student achievement cannot be expected. To fill the “implementation measurement” gap, the authors developed a unique methodology to quantitatively measure the level of school reform implementation. They applied this methodology to measure actual implementation of four different models in a large number of schools, along with a corresponding set of non-model schools. They found that very few schools have fully implemented their reform model. Practices in model and non-model schools are similar, although some practices are implemented more thoroughly or frequently when prescribed by a model. At the current level of implementation, comprehensive school reform is likely to have little effect on student achievement.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Measuring CSR Model Implementation

  • Chapter Three

    Sources of Data

  • Chapter Four

    Conformance to Model Design

  • Chapter Five

    Practices of Model and Nonmodel Schools

  • Chapter Six

    Supporting CSR Models: Factors That Impact Model Implementation

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Protocol for Interviews with Model Developers

  • Appendix B

    “Should Have or Do” CSR Model Requirements

  • Appendix C

    Number of Schools with Longitudinal Data, by Years of Implementation

  • Appendix D

    Principal and Teacher Questionnaires

  • Appendix E

    Imputation for Missing Data

  • Appendix F

    Implementation Standardized Scores, by Years of Implementation

  • Appendix G

    Implementation Standardized Scores Specific to Each Model

  • Appendix H

    Implementation Standardized Scores, by Model and Nonmodel Schools

  • Appendix I

    Model Support and School Background Variables

  • Appendix J

    Support of Implementation of Individual Models

The research described in this report was conducted within RAND Education under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

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