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School Improvement in Ohio and Missouri: An Evaluation of the School Turnaround Specialist Program

Full Abstract: School turnaround has received much attention and funding, but little empirical evidence exists as to how and whether it works. This study follows 34 elementary and middle schools in Missouri and Ohio throughout the course of their participation in the University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program (STSP). Our evaluation of the STSP employs a triple differences model, comparing participating schools to non-participating schools within the same district as well as comparable schools in different districts. On average, participating schools experienced statistically significant improvements in student achievement after completing the two-year STSP. Improved student achievement is not concentrated within specific performance categories, suggesting that participation in the STSP is associated with increases in overall student performance rather than focusing on students at the margin of proficiency.

CEPWC Working Paper Series No. 10. June 2013.

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