The Study of School Turnaround

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Turning around chronically low-performing schools has become an urgent priority. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided an additional $3 billion to fund aggressive school improvement efforts through the Title I School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Under the SIG program, grantee schools must implement turnaround efforts that align with one of four interventions: (1) a turnaround model, (2) a restart model, (3) school closure, or (4) a transformation model. While there has been a large investment in this effort, a lack of research evidence on these interventions underscores the need to evaluate both the implementation and the results of SIG.

During this project, also known as the Study of Schools Targeted for Improvement Using Title I Section 1003(G) Funds Provided Under ARRA, researchers are documenting the turnaround process in 25 schools across six states and looking at how these schools have used their SIG funds to implement improvement actions. The SST also includes two substudies, one focused on English Language Learners (ELLs) and the other focused on rural schools. Mathematica, as a subcontractor to the American Institutes for Research, participated in all rounds of data collection, analyses, and reporting and led the rural substudy.