by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In 2016, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) began implementing school improvement interventions in 75 low-performing “transformation” schools. This week, Dr. Gary Henry and Ms. Erica Harbatkin of Vanderbilt University updated the N.C. State Board of Education on academic performance and personnel measures from those schools. To do make the comparison fair, researchers compared the 75 transformation schools to a comparison group of 85 low-performing schools. Performance for all schools was also included.
According to the Henry and Harbatkin,
There was no significant difference between student achievement growth in NCT [N.C. Transformation schools] and comparison schools in 2016.
In 2017, students in NCT schools made significantly less progress than students in comparison schools from 2015 to 2017.
In 2017, there was no significant difference between NCT and comparison schools, relative to their respective five-year trends.
Addressing the needs of students in these schools is tough work. And the researchers identified possible reasons why the NCT schools did not fare better, including staff turnover.
In the end, the findings offer more questions than answers.
In response, NC DPI staff outlined their approach to school improvement. Included in their presentationwas this breathtaking chart: