Continued Support for Improving the Lowest-Performing Schools

Continued Support for Improving the Lowest-Performing Schools. Brookings Institution. Susanna Loeb. February 9, 2017

The release of a new report on the effects of School Improvement Grants (SIG), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed at improving the nation’s lowest performing schools, called into question the viability of improving low-performing schools at scale. The report stated that, “Implementing a SIG-funded model had no impact on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.” A more careful read of the report, however, shows that the research was not able to tell whether the Grants affected any of these outcomes. The effects would have had to be unrealistically large for the study to have been able to detect them. The difference between the report’s conclusion that there was no effect and the more appropriate conclusion that they were not able to detect an effect is an important one, especially in light of state-specific research showing some success of the School Improvement Grant program. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 5 pages, 344.81 KB].

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