Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel: Exploring the Impact of Mobility and Assignment Strategies on Student Educational Experiences and Outcomes

Saturday, November 14, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Tuttle North (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Gwendolyn S. Baxley, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Panel Chairs:  Yasmin Rodriguez, Beloit College
Discussants:  Courtney Preston, Florida State University

The Impact of within and Between School Mobility on Instructional Quality and Growth
Peter Goff, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Gwendolyn S. Baxley, University of Wisconsin - Madison

The Impact of Replacing Principals on Student Achievement in DC Schools
Elias Walsh and Dallas Dotter, Mathematica Policy Research

Faced with mounting federal and state policy pressures, urban school and district leaders continually resort to strategic practices to enhance school educational quality, particularly for students in underperforming schools (Cohen-Vogel, 2011). Practices commonly employed by urban school and district leaders include the strategic assignment of principals, teachers and students in and across schools. While students are reassigned to different schools as a result of district-initiated school closures or incentive programs (Brummet, 2012; Engberg, Gill, Zamarro, & Zimmer, 2012; Steiner, 2009; Sunderman & Payne, 2009), teachers and principals are tactfully assigned, reassigned or unassigned both within and between schools as a means to achieve optimal student outcomes, (Duke & Salmonowicz 2010; Duke, 2004; Grissom, Kalogrides, & Loeb, 2013). Though principal, teacher and student assignment strategies are often studied in isolation within the literature, this panel provides the unique opportunity to discuss the efficacy of these various approaches in connection with one another and their parallel goals of enhancing students’ educational experiences and achievement. To unpack the benefits and drawbacks of these three assignment strategies, the panel draws upon diverse longitudinal datasets from both the U.S. and China and couples traditional and novel measures of students’ educational outcomes and experiences. The first paper explores the success of an urban district incentive policy on the process of reassigning students equitable across schools and boosting the educational quality of underperforming schools. The second paper examines the impact of district-initiated school closures on student reassignments, absenteeism, and students’ experiences of their academic settings. The third paper examines the disruptive impact that teacher strategic reassignments have on classroom management, delivery of instruction, student engagement and classroom culture. The final paper examines the effect of district-wide principal reassignment initiatives on student math and reading achievement. While the findings from these studies indicate that student and teacher assignment strategies may support and hinder students’ educational experiences and outcomes, principal assignment strategies has a positive impact. As APPAM’s 2015-2016 conference theme underscores, empirical evidence is needed to determine effective practices. This includes more rigorous examinations, such as the ones presented in this panel, to better understand the nature and consequences of principal, teacher and student strategic assignments; strategies that are increasingly incorporated into urban school policies and district reform efforts. The findings from this panel can aid scholars, policymakers and practioners in identifying, understanding and weighing the potential harm and benefits of principal, teacher and student assignment strategies on student learning and educational experiences.
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