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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    How Educators View the Rapid Life Cycle of School Reforms

    Apr 11, 2019

    Researchers and educators have noted the emergence of a school reform "churn." New initiatives and programs are adopted, only to be dropped when the next popular reform emerges. How do principals and teachers perceive continuity in the programs at their schools?

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    Research Brief

    What Other States Can Learn from Louisiana's School Reform

    Jun 10, 2019

    Louisiana's education policy changes aim to improve outcomes for public school students statewide. How well are these reforms working? Analyses of the state's early efforts to reshape its education system point to several early successes, remaining challenges, and key lessons.

Explore Education Reform

  • 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

  • Young student taking a test in class

    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

  • 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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    New Assessments, Better Instruction?

    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.

    Sep 3, 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

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    Evaluating the Effectiveness of Teacher Pay-for-Performance

    RAND's substantial body of work on teacher pay-for-performance provides policymakers with a strong evidence base on the design, implementation, and potential results of pay-for-performance programs.

    Jul 31, 2013

  • News Release

    India's Rapidly Expanding Higher Education System Could Be Improved by Linking Education Quality to Funding

    India's higher education system faces challenges from underprepared faculty, unwieldy governance, and other obstacles to innovation and improvement. Instituting policies that link funding to quality could hold schools accountable for their performance, encourage greater innovation, and further the nation's education goals.

    Jul 23, 2013

  • a college lecture in India


    Linking Funding and Quality to Improve Higher Education in India

    India's higher education system faces challenges from underprepared faculty, unwieldy governance, and other obstacles to innovation and improvement. Instituting policies that link funding to quality could hold schools accountable for their performance, encourage greater innovation, and further the nation's education goals.

    Jul 22, 2013

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    Research Brief

    Linking Funding and Quality to Improve Higher Education in India

    RAND researchers developed a course of action to help India implement policies and reforms that link higher education quality to funding to increase accountability, encourage greater innovation, and contribute to national goals.

    Jul 22, 2013

  • Students at James A. Garfield High School immersed in an engineering project


    Transforming Schools by Developing 21st-Century Skills

    If students are to learn the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow's competitive world, educators may need to rethink yesterday's teaching practices. That's the rationale behind teaching-21st century skills, which include high-order abilities like teamwork and critical thinking.

    Jul 18, 2013

  • high school student looking at graph on blackboard


    The Limits of Career and Technical Education in Improving Math Achievement Among High School Students

    Students who had taken occupationally focused career and technical education (CTE) courses in addition to their regular academic courses had similar learning gains to those who had only taken academic courses: an academic curriculum that includes CTE courses neither bolstered nor curtailed the acquisition of math skills.

    Jun 19, 2013

  • two elementary students with a teacher


    What Do We Know About Charter Schools? Moving Beyond the Talking Points

    Since their inception in 1992, charter schools have been a lightning rod for controversy in the education policy world. Research highlights the importance of moving beyond test scores and broadening the scope of measures that evaluate success in order to fully assess the performance of charter schools.

    Apr 4, 2013

  • Students in a classroom


    Taking Stock on the Anniversary of 'No Child Left Behind'

    While “No Child Left Behind” aims to improve schools, Congress can improve the law. Flexibility and capacity are crucial, particularly for struggling schools, writes Brian Stecher.

    Jan 10, 2013

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    Five Ways to Improve 'No Child Left Behind'

    The bill's eleventh anniversary presents an opportunity to consider what the evidence tells us about how to make NCLB more effective.

    Jan 8, 2013

  • map of Qatar

    Journal Article

    Reforming the Qatari School System

    Qatar's education system now includes independent schools, internationally-accredited and well-respected private schools, and a tuition vouchers program that may spur further expansion of the private school system.

    Jan 1, 2013

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    Making Extended Learning Time Worth the Investment

    Five states are experimenting with adding a substantial amount of time to the school year in some schools. This policy initiative holds promise, says Jennifer McCombs.

    Dec 14, 2012

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    The Common Core State Standards and DoD Education Activity Schools

    As it implements the Common Core State Standards, the Department of Defense Education Activity should consider developing and providing implementation-specific supports to its schools.

    Nov 12, 2012