A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Planning and Evaluation Service
This study examined changes in student performance in a sample of 71 Title I schools. It followed a longitudinal sample of students as they progressed from 3rd to 5th grade between 1997 and 1999. The LESCP had two objectives: (1) to analyze student outcomes associated with specific aspects of curriculum and instruction; and (2) to determine under which policy conditions -- especially regarding standards-based reform -- potentially effective classrooms practices were likely to flourish. The study was based on data collected in spring 1997, spring 1998, and spring 1999. It included: standardized achievement tests, teacher surveys, interviews with district administrators and principals, focus groups of school staff and parents, classroom observations, collection of state and district policy documents, and information from student records.
- Students made greater gains in reading when teachers highly rated their professional development in reading and said that it matched their school's reform plan, focused on standards and assessments, and added to their confidence in using new approaches. The growth in student test scores between grades three and five was about 20 percent greater when teachers rated their professional development high than when they gave it a low rating.
- Students made faster gains in reading when their 3rd grade teachers had been especially active in reaching out to low achievers' parents. In such classrooms, students in 3rd grade initially tended to have performance below the LESCP average in reading but made significant gains by the end of 5th grade. Growth in test scores between the third and fifth grade was 50 percent higher for those students whose teachers and schools reported high levels of parental outreach early than students whose teachers and schools reported low levels of parent outreach activities for the third grade.
- Students whose 5th grade teachers reported spending a great deal of time engaged in very basic instruction -- using worksheets, reading aloud, and using other types of relatively routine skill practice -- made fewer gains on reading tests than those whose teachers reported spending only an average amount of time working at that level. Growth in test scores was 10 percent lower when teachers spend a lot of time on basic instruction than when they spend little time engaged in these activities.
- As in reading, students made greater gains in mathematics when teachers highly rated their professional development in mathematics and said that it matched their school's reform plan, focused on standards and assessments, and added to their confidence in using new approaches. Growth in test scores between grades three and five was 50 percent higher for those students whose teachers and schools rated professional development high than when they gave it a low rating.
- Low-achieving students made greater gains in mathematics when their 3rd grade teachers had been especially active in reaching out to their parents. Test scores in mathematics grew between the third and fifth grade at a 40 percent higher rate for students in schools whose teachers reported high levels of parental outreach than those students whose teachers reported low levels of parental outreach activities.
- Implementation of reforms involving more student-initiated activities and more complicated assignments in mathematics had a positive effect on student achievement. Growth in test scores between the third and fifth grades was about 17 percent greater for students whose 5th grade teachers reported relatively very high usage of these types of activities and assignments versus students whose 5th grade teachers reported relatively very low usage.
- Students 3rd grade reading scores were higher in classes where the teacher reported high visibility of standards and assessments. However, no relationship was found between visibility of standards and assessments and gains in reading scores between the 3rd and 5th grades.
- In mathematics, students' gain scores were lower than the LESCP average in schools where teachers reported knowing and using standards and assessments. One interpretation of these findings is that schools that initially paid the highest level of attention to standards and assessments might have been the schools where poor student performance was a problem.
The report is available in Word and PDF formats, in two volumes:
- Volume 1: Executive Summary in PDF [538K] and Word [141K]
- Volume 2: Technical Report in PDF [1.2M] and Word [760K].
Copies of this report are available by contacting the U.S. Department of Education's Publication Center in the following ways: Toll-free phone calls to 1-877-4ED-Pubs (1-877-433-7827), TTY/TDD call 1-877-576-7734. If 877 is not yet available in your area, call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327), TTY/TDD call 1-800-437-0833; via internet at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html; via e-mail at email@example.com; via fax to 301-470-1244; and, via mail to ED Pubs, Education Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398.
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This page last updated 07/31/01 (jer).