Policy & Funding | News

Report: Math and Reading Proficiency Improve in SIG Schools

Student achievement in math and reading has improved at schools that received School Improvement Grants, according to a new report from the United States Department of Education.

The report, "School Improvement Grant (SIG) Assessment Results: Cohorts 1 and 2," compares the average proficiency rates of SIG schools in the 2011–2012 school year to rates in the year prior to receiving grants. Cohort 1 is made up of schools that started implementing SIG interventions in the 2010–2011 school year, and cohort 2 is made up of schools that started in 2011–2012.

The SIG program, which began three years ago, is intended to help states and school districts improve student achievement in the nation's lowest-performing schools. Participating schools must implement one of four intervention models:

  • Turnaround model, where the school replaces the principal and up to half of the staff, as well as other changes;
  • Restart model, where a different organization takes over the management of the school;
  • School closure model, where the school is closed and students move to other schools; and
  • Transformation model, where the school implements numerous interventions, such as job-embedded professional development, research-based programs, differentiated instruction, response to intervention, and other strategies.

Among other things, districts can choose to invest SIG funds in technology such as educational technology for differentiated instruction or response to intervention, assistive technology for students with disabilities, data tracking systems, information sharing tools, and other technology deemed necessary for successful implementation of one of the SIG program's intervention models.

Key findings from the report:

  • Average proficiency rates in math and reading have increased;
  • On average, cohort 1 schools continued to improve in the second year of receiving SIG funds;
  • Cohort 1 schools showed greater improvements in math and reading proficiency compared to all schools nationally, while cohort 2 schools showed greater improvements in math, but comparable improvements in reading compared to all schools nationally;
  • On average, both cohorts showed improvements in math and reading proficiency, regardless of which SIG intervention model was used;
  • On average, cohort 1 showed improvements across all school levels, while cohort 2 showed small gains for some school levels, but not for others;
  • On average, cohort 1 showed improvements across all localities, while cohort 2 showed small improvements for some localities, but remained constant for others; and
  • On average, both cohorts showed greater improvements in math than in reading.

All of the school-level math and reading proficiency data can be found at data.gov, and the a PDF of the report, "School Improvement Grant (SIG) Assessment Results: Cohorts 1 and 2," can be found on the Department of Education's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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