Panel Paper: Resource- and Approach-Driven Multi-Dimensional Change: Three-Year Effects of School Improvement Grants

Thursday, November 3, 2016 : 8:35 AM
Columbia 3 (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Min Sun, University of Washington, Emily K. Penner, University of California, Irvine and Susanna Loeb, Stanford University

Hoping to spur dramatic school turnaround, the Federal Government channeled considerable resources to the country’s lowest-performing schools through School Improvement Grants (SIG). However, research demonstrating the effectiveness of SIG is scarce. This study utilizes a decade of longitudinal data and a difference-in-difference strategy to provide evidence on program impacts on multiple dimensions across the full three-year duration of the SIG award in one large urban school district. Following two years of modest improvement, we find particularly positive effects of SIG interventions on student achievement in the third year. This result is consistent with prior literature indicating that improvements from comprehensive school turnarounds emerge gradually. Moreover, we identify other improvements in SIG schools that speak to their “healthy growth”, including reduced students’ unexcused absences, increased family preferences for SIG schools, improved retention of effective teachers, and greater development of teacher professional capacity.