Assessing The Implementation Of Comprehensive School Reform Models

by Georges Vernez, Rita T. Karam, Louis T. Mariano, Christine DeMartini

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The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Act (CSRD) of 1997 is providing increasingly larger amounts of funds and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 explicitly authorizes the use of Title I funds for schools to engage in whole school reforms. To date, several thousands of schools throughout the country have taken advantage of these extra funds seeking to implement one or another of several dozens of different models of school reform. All these models share a common focus on changing the “whole school” in order to improve the performance of at-risk students in high-poverty schools. RAND is the recipient of one of five grants from the U.S. Department of Education to study the effectiveness of selected comprehensive school reform models: Accelerated Schools, Core Knowledge, Direct Instruction, and Success for All. This working paper describes how schools that have adopted one of these four models have actually implemented their prescribed requirements. This description is based on the first of four waves of data collection effort. The paper is intended primarily for those monitoring the project’s progress and for those engaged in similar research. It is also intended to stir discussion about research methodology and how to measure program implementation.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Data Sources

  • Chapter Three

    Approach To Measuring Implementation Of Comprehensive Reform School Models

  • Chapter Four

    Conformance Of Model Implementation With Model Requirements

  • Chapter Five

    Implementation Experiences Across Models

  • Chapter Six

    How Different Are Model Schools From Non-Model Schools?

  • Chapter Seven


  • Appendix A

    Protocol For Interviews With Model Developers

  • Appendix B

    Indicators Of Model Implementation

  • Appendix C

    Standardized Scores

  • Appendix D

    Computation Of Implementation Scores

  • Appendix E

    Examination Of Principal Non-Response

This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and was conducted by RAND Education.

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