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Study suggests state turnaround efforts ineffective

The following is the abstract of the working paper: School Turnaround in North Carolina: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis, by Helen Ladd of Duke University and Jennifer A. Heissel of Northwestern University. 


This paper examines the effect of school turnaround in North Carolina elementary and middle schools. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that turnaround led to a drop in average school-level math and reading passing rates and an increased concentration of low-income students in treated schools. We use teacher survey data to examine how teacher activities changed. Treated schools brought in new principals and increased the time teachers devoted to professional development. The program also increased administrative burdens and distracted teachers, potentially reducing time available for instruction. Teacher turnover increased after the first full year of implementation. Overall, we find little success for North Carolina’s efforts to turn around low-performing schools under its federally funded Race to the Top grant.

Here is the paper.

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