Case Studies in Educational Performance Contracting

Grand Rapids, Michigan

by Gerald C. Sumner

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Describes the experience of the Grand Rapids Unified School District in 1970-1971 with three different educational performance contractors attempting to raise the reading and mathematics skills of different groups of low achievers. Alpha Learning Systems operated several learning centers as part of the OEO performance contracting experiment, while Westinghouse Learning Corporation and Combined Motivation Education System worked under contract with the school district. Different as the contractors were, all three systematically individualized instruction, used commercially available materials and equipment, and gave material rewards for student achievement. All produced greater improvement than would be expected from regular schooling, and all ran into situations making contract interpretation difficult. All programs will be expanded for 1971-1972, under coordinated district management. This report analyzes relationships between contractors and schools, and suggests administrative improvements. Pertinent documents for the three programs are appended.

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