Improving School Performance in Middle Schools Identified as Low Performing by Georgia's Accountability Formula under No...

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Title:
Improving School Performance in Middle Schools Identified as Low Performing by Georgia's Accountability Formula under No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
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1 online resource (10 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Parlier, Joseph R
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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Degree:
Doctorate ( Ed.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Educational Leadership, Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education
Committee Chair:
OLIVER,BERNARD
Committee Co-Chair:
ELDRIDGE,LINDA BURNEY
Committee Members:
LOWERY,RUTH MCKOY
TOWNSEND,JANE SUSAN

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Subjects / Keywords:
accountability -- action -- corrective -- education -- federal -- funding -- georgia -- improvement -- middle -- nclb -- restructuring -- school -- state -- testing
Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Educational Leadership thesis, Ed.D.
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

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Abstract:
Schools and school districts throughout the nation are required to meet academic performance indicators defined by their state to avoid entering improvement, corrective- action, or restructuring status as outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In Georgia, these performance indicators relate to student performance in language arts and mathematics on the state's criterion referenced test. Based on student performance in these areas, schools are measured by the state accountability formula and are subject to specific designations that result in rewards or sanctions by the state education agency. In 2007, the number of Georgia middle schools identified as needs improvement schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight was 15. Each school entered into an improvement contract with and received support and intervention from the state education agency. From 2007-2010, each school made the necessary student performance gains to be removed from needs improvement status. This study uses a retrospective data set from 15 middle schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight in 2007 and 15 schools that were not in needs improvement levels seven and eight in 2007, but had similar performance levels and demographics and were located in similar geographic settings (urban, suburban, and rural). These data were used to examine the overall school performance and the performance of subgroups of students in language arts and mathematics on Georgia's Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). The purpose of the analysis was to determine if improvement in student performance was made and if levels of improvement were statistically significant over the four year period during which interventions and support were or were not provided by the state education agency based on the school's designation.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Joseph R Parlier.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2014.
Local:
Adviser: OLIVER,BERNARD.
Local:
Co-adviser: ELDRIDGE,LINDA BURNEY.

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lcc - LD1780 2014
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WritingResearchArticlesforPublicationinEarly ChildhoodEducationOliviaN.SarachoPublishedonline:23November2012 SpringerScience+BusinessMediaNewYork2012Abstract Publishedresearchresultsinearlychildhood educationcontributetotheeld'sknowledge,theory,and practice.Theyalsoguidefutureearlychildhoodeducation researchstudies.Thepublicationofresearcharticlesisan essentialrequirementforacademics.Forsomeresearchers, however,writingmaybeadifcultactivity,particularly theprocessofgettingthestudypublished.Thisarticle discussesbasicissuesinscholarlywritingandoffers guidelinesonwaystoorganizeandwritescienticresearch manuscriptsthatareappropriateforearlychildhoodeducationandotherdisciplines.Itexplainstheimportanceof publishing,denesthemeaningofascienticresearch publication,andexplainstheprocessinmanuscriptpreparationtoguideemergingresearcherstowriteresearch manuscriptsthatarecomprehensibleandwillhaveahigh probabilityofbeingacceptedforpublication.Finally,it describesthepublicationprocess. Keywords Writingforpublication First-timeauthor Writinganarticle Publicationprocess ScholarlywritingCriticismandtestingareoftheessenceofourwork.Thismeansthat scienceisafundamentallysocialactivity,whichimpliesthatitdependson goodcommunication.Inthepracticeofscienceweareawareofthis,and thatiswhyitisrightforourjournalstoinsistonclarityandintelligibility. — HermannBondiIntroduction Formanydecadesearlychildhoodeducationprograms haveexpandedallovertheworld.Programsforyoung childrenindifferentcountrieshaveconfrontedcountless challengesandissues.Atpresent,societyhasacknowledgedtheimportanceofyoungchildren'slearningbased onanexponentialincreaseinthenewknowledgeabout andforearlychildhoodeducation.Advancesintheeld aresupportedbyrigorousresearchconductedbyleading scholarsandinstitutionswhohaveidentiedthe (a)knowledgeandskillsthatchildrenneedtosucceedin schooland(b)teachingpracticesthataremostappropriateforthem.AccordingtoSarachoandSpodek ( 2012 ): Knowledgeoftheeldofearlychildhoodeducation isofthreekinds:theory,researchandpractice. Althoughthesespheresoftenseemindependentof oneanother,theyareinterrelated.Theprocessof knowledgegenerationis cyclical ,ratherthanbeing deductive(topdown)orlinear(onestepalwaysfollowsanother).Theformsalloverlap.Theprocess usuallybeginswithaproblemorissuethatneedsto bestudiedthroughresearch;thisresearchisdrivenby theoryandpractice.Theresultsalsocontributeto theoryandpractice,whichthenprovidedirectionsfor futureresearchstudies(p.2). Innovativeknowledgebasedontheincreaseofrelated researchinearlychildhoodeducationrequiresthatnew knowledgecontinuetobeavailableandreadilyaccessible totheeld.Researcherswhoconductstudiesandpublish theirresultsdevelopinnovativeknowledgeaboutgood practiceinearlychildhoodeducation.Thepublicationof researchhasmanybenets,buttheprocessmayintimidate manyresearchers.Noviceandevenexperiencedresearcherscanbenetfromstrategicmethodsofpreparingand writingresearchmanuscriptstosubmittoprofessional journals(Dixoninpress). O.N.Saracho( & ) DepartmentofTeaching,Learning,PolicyandLeadership, UniversityofMaryland,CollegePark,MD20742,USA e-mail:ons@umd.edu123EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554 DOI10.1007/s10643-012-0564-3

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Earlychildhoodeducationresearcherswhowantto writeforpublicationforthersttimecanwastetimeand energywhentheyfocusonwritingbehaviortheylearnedin theirgraduateeducationcourses.Thethoughtprocessfor publishedwritingisdifferent;itbeginsbyidentifyingthe journalreaders'interestsandorganizingtheideasintoa reasonablestructure(Dixon 2011 ). Writingforpublicationisafundamentalpursuitfor academics.Traditionally,motivationtopublishoriginate fromscholarly,scientic,andethicalphilosophiesconcerningthesignicanceofdisseminatingknowledge. Thesereasonscontinuetobeappropriate,buthavebeen furtherincreasedbytheexpectationsofacurrentuniversity environment.Academicsarerequiredtopublish.The quantityandqualityofpublishedworkisusedtoevaluate theirperformance(McGrailetal. 2006 ). ExpectationstoPublishinAcademia Allovertheworld,scholarsareexperiencingpressureto publishtheirresearch.Writingandpublishingpeerreviewedmanuscriptsisanessentialrequirementforacademics.Acurrentuniversityenvironmentexpectshigh publicationratesbecausethesedeterminetheperformance ofboththeindividualsandinstitutions.Regardlessofa compellingpersonalandprofessionalrationaletopublish, academicpublicationproductivityhasconsistentlybeen low(McGrailetal. 2006 ).Someacademicsdiscontinue theirproductivity,becausetheylacktheframeworkor formalstructuretocontinuetheirwriting(Morssand Murray 2001 ).Thosewhoareearlyintheirwritingcareers andlackcondenceintheirabilityneedprofessionalsupportandencouragement(BaldwinandChandler 2002 ).A numberofacademicsfeelthatwritingcausesthemtohave fearandanxiety(LeeandBoud 2003 ).Othershavean inadequateunderstandingofthewritingandpublication process.Theyalsohaveemotionalbarriers(e.g.,afearof rejection,fearofcompetition)andambiguityaboutwhich ideasareworthyofpublication(Dies 1993 ).Eventhose whoarecondentthattheirideasareworthwhilemaylack condenceintheirwritingability(GrantandKnowles 2000 ).Althoughafewresearchershavebecomeproductive writers,manyinexperiencedacademicshavedifculties withthewritingandpublicationprocess. Writingforpublicationrequiresahighlydeveloped levelofwritingskillsandresearchersndthatthepublicationdemandsrequirethemtolearnstrategiesonhowto becomeproductivewriters.Unfortunately,researchers oftenreportthattheydidnotreceivethistypeofpreparationintheirgraduatecourses(MurrayandNewton 2008 ). Theydidnothavetheopportunitytoundertakeaformal courseinscienticwriting.Asgraduatestudents,they adoptedtheirprofessors'andpreviousauthors'styleand approach.Later,asemergingresearchers,manyusedtheir academicreadingstoreplicatetheauthors'writingstyle includingalloftheirrelateddeciencieswhichcaused themtodevelopcontinuousandsystematicerrors(Dayand Sakaduski 2011 ). Requirementsonhowtowriteresearchpublicationsare vague.Numerousgeneralbookshavebeenwrittenonthe subject,butthesetextsaremissingthespecicpractices thatwritersneedtopublish(Murray,andNewton 2008 ). Researcherswithoutpreparationmayndthatwritinga researcharticleinascienticstyleischallenging(Derntl 2011 ).Ascienticpaperisawellwrittenandpublished reportthatdescribestheresultsoforiginalresearch; therefore,itmustadheretospecicrequirementson howascienticreportiswrittenandpublished(Dayand Sakaduski 2011 ). Thepurposeofthisarticleistoexplaintheimportance ofpublishing,denethemeaningofascienticresearch publication,anddiscusstheprocessofmanuscriptpreparationinsuchawaythatitcanserveasaguideforinexperiencedresearchersinearlychildhoodeducationandall disciplines.Finally,itdescribesthepublicationprocess. Sincejournalsdifferintheirrequirements,itisimpossible toproviderecommendationsthatareuniversallyacceptable.Therefore,generalbasicstandardsthatmostjournals fromdifferentdisciplinesacceptwillbeprovided. SignicanceofPublishing Publishingisimportantbecauseitreportsvalidresearch ndingsthatadvanceknowledgeintheeld.Such advancementsaffectnotonlythestatusofindividualsin Academiaandtheirinstitutions'reputationsbutalsothe journalsandtheirsponsoringprofessionalorganizations. Publishingmakesitpossiblefor(a)newdoctoralgraduates togainaccesstocollege/universitypositions;(b)faculty memberstoobtainhighersalaries,bepromoted,andget tenure;(c)professorstogetdifferentjobs;and(d)scholars toreceiverecognition,support,andprestige(Albersetal. 2011 ;NihalaniandMayrath 2008 ). Thegoalofscienticresearchispublication.Publishing researchndingsisanessentialelementofboththe researchprocessandthecareerinAcademia.Researchersareevaluatedbasedontheirpublicationsratherthantheir naturalknowledgeofeitherbroadornarrowscientic subjectsortheirsenseofhumororcharismaticpersonality''(DayandSakaduski 2011 ).Usually,thenumberof journalpublicationsandcitationsarepublicallyreported andusedtoidentifythemostproductiveauthorswhohave thehighestimpactontheirinstitutionsandtheirgraduate 46 EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554123

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schoolprograms.Particularlyforfacultymembers employedatrigorousresearchinstitutions,thepublishor perish''practiceisareality(Albersetal. 2011 ).The publishorperishmentalityatlargeresearchinstitutions frequentlycreateshigherexpectationsforfacultymembers topublishscienticresearch. TheScienticResearchPublication Researchers,students,authors,editors,andallothers involvedneedtoknowthemeaningofascienticpublication.DayandSakaduski( 2011 )deneascienticpaper asa written and published reportdescribing original researchresults.''Scienticpublicationsmustfulll requirementsconcerning how thepaperiswrittenand published.Thismeansthattheprocess,content,style,and developmentofthepublicationareequallyimportant.A scienticpublicationisa validpublication whenitis publishedintheappropriateresearchjournal(e.g.,peerreviewedjournalintheappropriateeld).Anoutstanding researchstudythatispublishedelsewhere(e.g.,newspaper, proceedings,newsletters,conferencereports,internal reports,newspapers)isnotconsideredtobeascientic publication.Alsoresearchpublishedingovernment reports,conferenceproceedings,institutionalbulletins,and otherephemeralpublicationsfailtomeetthecriteriaof scienticpublication(DayandSakaduski 2011 ).For example,TheCouncilofBiologyEditors(CBE)developed thefollowingdenition,whichisfoundinmanycontemporarypublicationguidelines. Anacceptableprimaryscienticpublicationmustbe therstdisclosurecontainingsufcientinformation toenablepeers(1)toassessobservations,(2)to repeatexperiments,and(3)toevaluateintellectual processes;moreover,itmustbesusceptibletosensoryperception,essentiallypermanent,availableto thescienticcommunitywithoutrestriction,and availableforregularscreeningbyoneormoreofthe majorrecognizedsecondaryservices(Councilof BiologyEditorsNewsletter 1968 ,pp.12)suchas educationalabstracts,databases,andindices. Recently,anadhoccommitteewascreatedtoexamineand developaworkingdenitionconcerningascientic publication.Theyexaminedthedenitionthatwaspublishedinthe 1968 CouncilofBiologyEditorsNewsletter. Theadhoccommitteewasveryimpressedwithboththe insightandtheprecisionofthedocumentthattheBoard andtheCommitteeacceptedit(StegemannandGastel 2009 )asacurrentdenitionofascienticresearch publication. ManuscriptPreparation Writinginascienticstylemaybedifcult.Theprocess maybeanintimidatingcourseofactionfortheinexperiencedresearcherforsomeexperiencedfacultymembersas well.Alogicalandsystematicapproachcanreducethis feeling(Cunningham 2004 ).Thestandardstructureofa scienticpaperconsistsofatitle,anabstract,andfour sectionsthatconsistofintroduction,methodology,results, anddiscussion(IMRaD).Briey,IMRaD(introduction, methodology,results,anddiscussion)istherequiredformatthatresearchersfollowinpresentingtheirresearch.It describestheappropriateandcompletepresentationof scienticresearch.Researchersareabletopresent:whatis known,whatisnotknown,andwhythestudywasconducted(Introduction);whoarethesubjects,howthe researchwasconducted,andhowtheresultswereassessed throughthematerialsandprocedures(Methodology);what wasfound(Results),andwhatistheimportanceofthe study(Discussion)(Todorovic 2003 ).Table 1 providesa briefdescriptionofeachsectionthatprogressesin sequencethroughouttheresearcharticle.Forexample,the introductionisproceededbythemethodology,thenthe results,andnallythediscussion(Sharp 2002 ).The researcharticlealsoincludesaconclusion,references, appendices,andacknowledgements. Title Thetitleisthecomponentofthemanuscriptthatisusually readrst;therefore,itisimportantthatitestablishes appropriateexpectationsforthereader.Additionally, electronicindexingservicesdependheavilyontheaccuracyofthetitletoassistreadersinlocatingrelevantstudies totheirresearch.AccordingtoDayandSakaduski( 2011 ), apropertitlehas ƒ thefewestpossiblewordsthatadequatelydescribethecontentsofthepaper''(p.9).Infact, the6theditionoftheAmericanPsychologicalAssociation's(APA)stylemanualsetsa12wordlimitonarticle titles.Alengthytitlefrequentlyhastoomany wastedwords suchastitlesthathaveInvestigationson ƒ ''atthe beginningofthetitle.Incontrast,brieftitlesaretoobroad andvague.Forexample,thetitleWritingReports''does notprovideanyinformationaboutthestudy.Therefore,allwordsinthetitleneedtobecarefullyselected,relatedto eachother,andproperlyordered.AccordingtoPeatetal. ( 2002 ),appropriatetitlesneedto(a)identifythemainissue ofthemanuscript;(b)startwithitssubject;(c)beaccurate, clear,specic,andcomplete;(d)excludeabbreviations; and(e)beappealingtoreaders.Forexample,Saracho ( 1998 )conductedafactoranalyticstudytoexaminethe socialbehaviorsthatarefoundinthree-to-ve-year-old children'splaybasedontheircognitivestyle.Factorswere EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554 47123

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identiedaccordingtothechildren'sageandsex.She assessed,observed,andidentiedthesocialbehaviors foundinboththechildren'splayandcognitivestyle.The factoranalysisidentiedtwodimensionsofsocialbehaviorsinthedifferentformsofplayforeachcognitivestyle. ThetitleofherstudywasSocializationFactorsinthe CognitiveStyleandPlayofYoungChildren.'' Abstract Abstractsareaone-paragraphsummaryofthecomplete study.Theyareimportantbecausetheyidentifyresearch studiesinaspecicarea(Derntl 2011 ).Thelengthofthe abstractrangesbetween200and300words.Abstractsare wellorganized,arewellwritten,andhavebriefbutcompleteinformationthatiseasilyunderstood.Theabstract providesageneralideaofthestudy'scontent.Itdescribes thepurpose,methodology,majorresults,andconclusions ofthestudy.Itshouldstandaloneandbeindependentof thearticletoassistresearcherstoimmediatelyidentifya widerangeofpertinentwork(Selvanathanetal. 2006 ). Twoexamplesofanabstractinearlychildhoodeducation arefoundinBox 1 :(a)anabstractofaqualitativestudy and(b)anabstractofaquantitativestudy.Therstabstract summarizesaqualitativestudywhereSarachoandSpodek ( 2010 )investigatedhowfamiliesselected,used,andread storybookstoyoungchildren.Theyexaminedhowparents readstoriestotheirchildreninrelationtoavarietyof genresinadditiontoinformationandnarrativetexts. SarachoandSpodek( 2010 )alsoexploredthefrequency andnatureofstoryreadingathomeandtheirselectionof children'sliteraturebooks,theparents'perceptionsabout literacy,andtheirliteracyinvolvementintheirhome environment.ThesecondabstractsummarizesaquantitativestudywhereSaracho( 1995 )examinedtherelationship betweenthree-tove-year-oldchildren'scognitivestyles andtheirplay.Sheidentiedtheplaybehaviorsinthe differentplayareasthatarecharacteristicoftheeld dependentandeldindependentcognitivestyle. Introduction Theintroductionprovidesabackgroundontheimportance ofthestudybyclearlydescribingtheresultsofprevious relatedstudies.Sinceauthorsneedtoprovideacomplete literaturereview,researchersneedtosearch,identify,read, andreferencethendingsofrelevantstudies.Sincethere areavarietyofresearchmethodologiesthatcanbeusedto addressaspecicresearchquestion,researchersneedto justifytheirselectionanduseofaspecicmethodology includingtheiruseofqualitativeorquantitativedata.The introductionneedstostate(a)theresearchquestionsor hypotheses,(b)howthesequestions/hypotheseswillbe addressed,(c)thepurposeofthestudy,(d)theexpected Table1 Componentsofascienticresearchpublication ComponentContent TitleHelpsthereadertounderstandthenatureoftheresearchstudyanddetermineiftheywishtoreadit AbstractProvidesacompletebutconcisedescriptionofthestudy Givesabriefsummaryusingawordlimitthatusuallyrangesbetween200and300words Includeskeywordsforindexlistingandon-linesearchfordatabases IntroductionUsesbriefdescriptionsofpreviousrelatedstudiestosupportthecurrentresearch Providesatheoreticalframeworktojustifytheneedforthecurrentresearchstudy Concludeswiththehypothesesorresearchquestionsandthepurposeofthestudy MethodologyDescribeseverythingthatisneededtoreplicatethestudysuchasit: € Explainsandjustiesthemethodologyused € Describes,procedures,materials,measures,analyses,andsubjectsused(includingethicsandconsent) € Describesandjustiesthesamplesizecalculation € Describesandjustiesthestatisticsusedtoanalyzethedata ResultsDescribesallndings(includingsignicant,negative,andnon-signicantresults) Complementsthedescriptionoftheoutcomeswithappropriatetables,graphs,andgures DiscussionEmphasizesthemajorndingsandcomparesthemwithndingsfrompreviousrelatedstudies Discussesanylimitationsofthestudy Providesrecommendationsforfutureresearchandpractice ReferencesProvidescompletereferencesthatwerecitedinthetext UsesthecurrenteditionoftheAPAstyletocitereferencesintextandtolisttheminthereferences'section AdaptedfromCunningham's( 2004 )originaltable 48 EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554123

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ndings,and(e)therationalethatledtotheresearch questions/hypotheses.Box 2 presentssampleresearch questionsfoundinastudyinearlychildhoodeducation. Theintroductionshouldbelessthanaquarterofthetotal lengthofthereport(Udanietal. 2007 ). Methodology Whileconductingthestudy,theresearchercanwriteallthe informationandresultsinanotebook.Thisprocedurewill facilitatethewritingofthemethodologysection,which includesacompletedescriptionaboutthestudy.The methodologysectionneedstoincludeenoughdetailtohelp theresearchersunderstandandreplicatethestudy.Aprocedurethatwasusedinapreviousstudyneedstobereferencedincludinganymodicationsthatweremade. Lastly,theanalyses(includingthestatisticalmethodology and/orsoftwarepackageused)ofthedataaredescribed (Udanietal. 2007 ).AccordingtoMaloy( 2001 ),the methodologysectionshouldbriey(a)givedetailsonthe generalkindofscienticproceduresthatwereused; (b)describetheparticipants(SeeBox 3 ),measures,and equipmentthatwereused;and(c)explaintheprocedures thatwereusedinthestudy.Specicallyitshoulddiscuss thesourcesofevidenceandtheanalysesofthedata. SourcesofEvidence Themethodologysectiondescribesthesourcesofevidencein relationtotheunitsofstudyandthedataorempiricalmeasuresthatwereusedtoaddresstheresearchquestionsor hypothesesinsolvingaprobleminearlychildhoodeducation. Sourcesofevidenceconsistofparticipantsandmeasuresused inthestudy.Hence,theresearchsite,group,participants, events,orotherunitsstudiedareconsideredtobesourcesof evidence.Adescriptionneedstobeprovidedforthereadersto knowtheircharacteristics,theprocedures,thebasisfortheir selection,andajusticationfortheseselections. Box1 Samplesofearlychildhoodeducationabstracts Abstract Thisstudyexaminedfamilies'choicesofchildren'sliteraturebooksforjointstoryreading.Teachers,parents,andtheirchildrenfromve kindergartenclassroomsparticipatedinthestudy.Overa4monthperiod,familymembersjoinedotherparentstwiceaweektolearnand practicestoryreadingtechniques.Theyselectedchildren'sliteraturebooksthatwereofinteresttobothofthemandtheirchildrenandwere developmentallyappropriate.Familymemberswereinterviewedandrespondedtoaquestionnairebeforetheintervention.Theresults providedinsightinrelationtotheparents'perceptionsaboutliteracy,readingwithfamilies,andstoryreading.Allmembersofthefamilies readtotheirchildrenfrequentlyordailyandengagedthechildreninconversationsaboutthebooksread.Thebookschosentobereadtothe childrenwerecategorizedbygenre,withmodernctionbeingthemostpopulargenre(SarachoandSpodek 2010 ,p.401). Abstract Children's(n = 1,276)cognitivestylewasidentiedandtheirplaywasobservedandrecorded.Reliabilityandvalidityestimateswere obtainedonthemeasuresandprocedures.Arepeatedmeasuresmultivariateanalysisofvarianceindicatedsignicantresultsrelatingtothe children'scognitivestyleandtheirplayaccordingtoage.Alsofoursignicantinteractionswerefound:(1)ageandplaybehaviors;(2)play behaviorsandcognitivestyle;(3)ageandcognitivestyle;and(4)age,cognitivestyleandplaybehaviors.Signicantdifferenceswere demonstratedbetweenelddependent(FD)andeldindependent(FI)3-to5-year-oldchildren'splaybehaviorsinthephysical,block, manipulativeanddramaticformsofplay.MostFDchildrendisplayedmoreplaybehaviorsthandidFIchildren.Theseresultssuggestthat theFDandFIcognitivestylesareprovidingadifferentialeffectontheplaybehaviorsof3-,4-,and5-year-oldchildren(Saracho 1995 p.405). Box2 Sampleearlychildhoodeducationresearchquestions Thefollowingresearchquestionscanbeusedinastudythatinvestigatesthesignicanceofmatchingthecognitivestyleofrst-andthirdgradestudentstotheirteachers(Saracho 1983 ). Whataretheeffectsoftheteachers'cognitivestyles(moreelddependentormoreeldindependent)ontheirstudents'standardized achievementscores? Aretheredifferentialeffectsforgradelevelsorforstudentswhomatchorfailtomatchtheteachers'cognitivestyles? Box3 Participantsinanearlychildhoodeducationstudy Testsofcognitivestylewereadministeredto20rstand20third-gradefemaleteachersandasample(480)ofsixboysandsixgirlsforeach teacher.Onlyfemaleteacherswereusedsincealmostalloftheprimaryteachersintheschooldistrictwerefemales.First-andthird-grade studentsandteacherswereusedassubjectstoinvestigatetheeffectsduetoagelevels.Therstgradestudents'agesrangedfrom6yearsto 6years,11months;thethird-gradestudents'agesrangedfrom8yearsto8years,11months.Sixboysandsixgirlsintheseageranges wererandomlyselectedfromeachteacher'sclassroom,whiletheteachersandstudentswererandomlyselectedfromagroupofvolunteers. Allrst-gradestudentshadattendedpublicschoolkindergartenduringthepreviousyearandbothrst-andthird-gradestudentsshouldhave beenadministeredtheComprehensiveTestsofBasicSkillsthepreviousyear(Saracho 1983 ,p.185). EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554 49123

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Themethodologysectionalsospeciesthedataor experimentalmeasuresthatwereusedtocollectdata,the proceduresthatwerefollowed,andajusticationforthese selections.Datasourcesusuallyconsistofparticipantand nonparticipantobservations;unstructuredorsemi-structuredinterviews;documentsandotherartifacts;audio-or video-recordings;andstandardizedinstrumentssuchas surveys,tests,structuredinterviewprotocols,andcategoricaldemographicinformationthatwereusedtocollectdata acrosscasesorunitsofresearchanalyses(American EducationalResearchAssociation 2006 ). Analyses Researchersusuallyhavemoredatathantheyneedto publish.Theyneedtoreducetheirdatabyselectingonly thedatathataddresstheirresearchquestionsorhypotheses. Theselecteddataareanalyzedwithappropriateanalyses (e.g.,analysesofvariance,factoranalyses).Theanalytic techniquesarejustiedanddescribedindetailtohelp readersunderstandthedataanalyses,processes,and assumptionsthatareessentialtoexplicittechniques(e.g., techniquesusedtoundertakecontentanalysis,discourseor textanalysis,deliberationanalysis,timeuseanalysis,networkanalysis,oreventhistoryanalysis).Qualitative studiesneedtoaddresstheproceduresusedfordata reduction.Theanalysesandpresentationoftheresults shouldfocusontheresearchquestions/hypothesestosupportclaimsorconclusionsdrawnintheresearch(American EducationalResearchAssociation 2006 ).Itisimportantto savetherawdata,becauseajournaleditororrefereemay requesttoexaminethedata.Alsoafterpublicationsome researchersmayrequestthisinformation(Sharp 2002 ). Results Researchersneedtorefertotheirfocalresearchstatementto determinewhichresultstouse.Theyneedtoonlypresentthe resultsandanalysesthataddr esstheresearchquestionsor hypotheses.Addingirrelevantdata,tables,andanalyseswillbe confusingandthemanuscriptwilllosethefocusoftheresearch. Theresultsshouldbepresentedinaclearconciseformat.When thereareonlyafewfactors,theresultsshouldbediscussedin thetextofthemanuscript.Otherwise,theresultsshouldbe presentedintablesorguresfo rclaritypurposes.Theresults sectionclearlydescribestheoutcomesofthestudy.Outcomes thatusemultipledatapointsne edtobepresentedintablesor gurestoshowtheimportanceo fthestudy.However,these outcomesneedtobesummarizedintheaccompanyingtext.All outcomesdonotneedaseparatetableorgure.Theresults sectionshouldonlyhaveafewn umericalresultsorasimple descriptionoftheoutcomesinthetextratherthanatableor gure.Thedescriptioninthetex thasanappropriatereference totablesandguresthatincludesalloftheinformationthat addressestheresearchquesti onsorhypotheses.Thissection alsoincludesstatisticalparametersthatsupportthestated results.However,itisimportanttoavoidusingtablesthathave largequantitiesofdata.Sincea graphicalrepresentationis frequentlyeasiertounderstand,researcherscanpresentthe resultsinagraphinsteadofatabl e.Thetitles,tables,andgures needtobeself-explanatorywit houtneedingtorefertothetext (Cunningham 2004 ).AccordingtoMaloy( 2001 ),theresults sectionshouldbrieydescribe (inasentenceortwo)thestudy andreportonlythoseresultsthataddresstheresearchquestions orhypothesesbasedonthedata. Discussion Thediscussionsectioncriticallyanalyzes,compares,and discussestheresultsinrelationtotheresearchproblem, questions/hypotheses,andmethodology.Thendingscontributetonewknowledge,whichiscomparedwiththepreviousknowledge(Maloy 2001 ).Thediscussionsection describestheinterpretationofthedata,discusseswhetheror nottheresultsofthestudysupportitsresearchquestionsor hypotheses,andcomparestheresultsofthestudywiththoseof previousstudies.Itisimportanttoidentifyanddiscussany limitationsofthestudyandanysuggestionstoreducelimitations(Udanietal. 2007 )infuturestudies.Inaddition,Maloy ( 2001 )statesthatthediscussionsectioniswhereresearchers addresseachmajorresultbygivingexplanations(a)forthe patterns,principles,andrelationshipsthatarefoundinthe results;(b)onhowtheresultsinthestudysupportorcontradict thoseresultsinthestudiesthatwerecitedintheintroduction; and(c)forthereasonsofanyagreements,contradictions,or exceptions.Itshouldincluderecommendationsforfuture researchandendwithaconclusion. Researchersneedtosuggestadditionalfutureresearch thatmightattendtothestudy'slimitations.Accordingto Maloy( 2001 ),thediscussionsectionneedstodescribethe theoreticalimplications,practicalapplications,waysto applytheoutcomestoothersituations,andhowtheoutcomesprovideabetterunderstandingoftheareaunderstudy. Researchersneedtomakecomprehensiveexplanationsby providingevidenceforeachconclusionanddiscussing probablereasonsforexpectedandunexpectedndings.They alsoneedtoprovideacriticaldiscussionandassessmentof (a)anyagreement,contradiction,orknowledgegap;(b)the judgmentoftheirimportance;and(c)anypossibleoutcomes thatareessentialinleadingthemanuscripttotheconclusion. Conclusion Someresearchersprefertoincludeaconclusionsectionin theirmanuscripttoprovideaspecicandsummarizing statementoftheresults.Theconclusionopenswithaclear 50 EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554123

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statementofthemajoroutcomes.Suchstatementshouldbe shortandtothepoint.Thesignicanceoftheoutcomes needstobejustiedusingsupportfrompreviousrelated studies.Themeaningoftheoutcomesofthestudyneedsto beconsideredincomparisontootherrelatedstudies(Maloy 2001 ).Theconclusionsectionshouldendwithfouror vemostimportantconclusionsfromtheresultsofthe study.Thesecanbestatedusingbulletpointstoofferthe utmosteffect(Cunningham 2004 ).Researchersmayprefer toincludetheirrecommendationsforfuturestudiesinthis section. References Referencesareintegratedinthemanuscriptinrelationto publishedstudiesthatsupportthestudy.Referencecitationsarefoundinthetextandarelistedinthecitedreferencessectionattheendofthemanuscript(Derntl 2011 ). Thereferencesprovidethebasisforthestudy.References shouldbeaccuratewithallthesourcesofinformationthat wereused.Althoughtherearemanystylesofreferencing, mostjournalsrequireauthorstousetheguidelinesfromthe latesteditionofthe PublicationManualoftheAmerican PsychologicalAssociation (APA 2010 ).Inpreparingthe manuscript,theseguidelinesneedtobefollowedforboth thereferencessectionandthecitationsinthetext. Appendices TheAppendicessectionincludesanyinformationthatwill helpreadersunderstandtheresultsofthestudy.Forexample, ifthedataweregatheredusingquestionnaires,acopyofthe questionnairemaybeincludedintheappendix.Forexample, Saracho( 1988 )includedacopyofherPreschoolReading AttitudesScaleasanappendixattheendofthearticle. Acknowledgements Writingandconductingstudiesrequireassistanceofothers. Individualswhohelpedwiththepreparationofthemanuscriptorprovidedsupportforthestudycanbeacknowledged.Suchindividualsrangefromthosewhoprovided nancialsupport,helpedwithexperimentaltechniquesto thosewhoreadorprovidedfeedbackonthenalmanuscript.Box 4 providesacknowledgementsfornancial supportforanearlychildhoodeducationstudyonfamily literacyinearlychildhoodeducation. InstructionstoAuthors Mostjournalshavetheirownrequirementsandguidelines, whichcanbefound(a)inthehardcopyofthejournalthat hasbeenselectedand/or(b)onitswebsite.These requirementsandguidelinesarefoundinasectiontitled, InstructionsforAuthors.''Authorsneedtofollowthese instructionsiftheywishtopublishscienticpapersin respectivejournals. ThePublishingProcess Thesixtheditionofthe PublicationManualoftheAmerican PsychologicalAssociation (APA 2010 )identiestheauthors' responsibilitiesinpublishingscholarlyarticlesin(a)the preparationofthemanuscript;(b)undertakingadministrative andethicalresponsibilities;(c)meetingthejournal'spolicy requirements;and(d)cooperatingwiththejournaleditor, editorialstaff,andpublisher.Theseresponsibilitiesincludea widerangeofissues,suchasusingtheappropriateresearch designtoacceptorrejecttheresearchhypotheses,providea strongtheoreticalrationaletosupporttheresearchhypotheses, analyzethedatacorrectly,accuratelyinterprettheresults, clearlywritethestudy,andfollowtherequiredformatting withinthemanuscript.Obviously,therearemanyresponsibilitiesthatneedtobemetandmanyskillsthatneedtobe demonstratedwhendevelopinganappropriatemanuscriptfor submissiontoascholarlyresearchjournal. TheSubmissionProcess Many(e.g.,Albersetal. 2011 ;Floydetal. 2011 ;Nihalani andMayrath 2008 )suggestthatbeforesubmittingamanuscripttoajournal,authorsverifythatthemanuscriptis appropriatefortheselectedjournal,reviewthejournal's guidelinesforsubmission,andproofreadthemanuscript. Thejournalneedstobecarefullyselectedtomakesurethat itisappropriateforthemanuscript.Thejournal'swebsite willprovidemanuscriptspecicationsandguidelinesto authors.Whenauthorssubmitamanuscripttoajournal,the editoracknowledgesthereceiptofthemanuscriptand sendsitoutforreview. JournalSelection Researchersneedtoselectthejournalthatismostappropriateforthemanuscript.Theycangotothejournals websitethatdescribesthejournal'sbackgroundand intendedreadership.Thisinformationguidesresearchersto determinewhichjournalisthemostappropriateoutletfor theirwork.ThemostwidelyusedjournalsinearlychildhoodeducationarepresentedinBox 5 JournalSpecications Thejournal'swebsitehasasectionthatprovidesauthorswithguidelinesforpublishingamanuscript.Forexample, EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554 51123

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itspeciesthelengthinwords,mainparts,referencesstyle, andhowtosetuptables,gures,andotherillustrations.It isimportantthatauthorsfollowthejournalsspecications. Mostresearchjournalsrequirethatauthorsfollowthelatest editionoftheAPAmanual(Dixon 2011 ). ManuscriptSubmission Mostmanuscriptsaresubmittedelectronicallyinthejournal'swebsite.Authorsfollowthedirectionsforsubmission thatarepostedinitswebsite.Themanuscriptissubmitted withacoverletter.Thelettershouldconrmthatthe manuscriptistheauthor'soriginalworkandthatitisnot beingsubmittedtoanotherjournal.Originalmanuscripts aresubmittedtoonejournalatatimeandcannotbesubmittedtoanotherjournaluntilthejournaleditorwherethe manuscriptwasrstsubmittedreleasesthemanuscript. Afterthemanuscriptissubmitted,thepeer-reviewprocessisinitiatedandtheeditororaneditorialassistant acknowledgesreceiptofthemanuscript,designatesita number,andexaminesifthemanuscriptissuitableforthe journal.Sometimes,editorsndthatthemanuscriptis inappropriateandrejectitwithoutfullrevieworrequirethe authorstomakechangesbeforeitissentouttoreviewers (Albersetal. 2011 ;Floydetal. 2011 ). Peer-ReviewProcess Thesubmissionofamanuscripttoajournalactivatesthe peer-reviewprocess,whichdeterminesthequalityofthe manuscript,itsimportancetotheeld,anditsappropriatenessforthejournal(APA 2010 ).Iftheeditorsconsider thatthemanuscriptisappropriate,theyassignittoan actioneditor.Theactioneditorinvitesreviewers(usually three)whohavetheexpertisetoaccuratelyreviewthe manuscript.Thesereviewersareprovidedwithmanuscripts thatdonotincludeanyidentifyinginformationaboutthe authorssothatthepeerreviewprocessisanonymous.The peer-reviewprocessusuallytakesapproximately 24months.Thentheactioneditordecidesonthe Box4 Acknowledgements TheworkreportedhereinisaprojectoftheNationalReadingResearchCenter,UniversityofGeorgiaandUniversityofMaryland.Itwas supportedundertheEducationalResearchandDevelopmentCentersProgram(PR-AWARDNO.117A20007)asadministeredbytheOfce ofEducationalResearchandImprovement,U.S.DepartmentofEducation.Thendingsandopinionsexpressedheredonotnecessarily reectthepositionorpoliciesoftheNationalReadingResearchCenter,EducationalResearchandDevelopmentCentersProgram,Ofceof EducationalResearchandImprovement(Saracho 1997 ,p.201). Box5 Earlychildhoodeducationjournals EarlyChildDevelopmentandCarePublishesstudiesonallfacetsofearlychilddevelopmentandcare Includesdescriptiveandevaluativearticlesonsocial,educationalandpreventive medicalprogramsforyoungchildren,experimentalandobservationalstudies,critical reviewsandsummaryarticles EarlyChildhoodEducationJournalExaminesearlychildhoodeducationissues,trends,policies,andpractices Supportspointsofviewandpracticalrecommendations EarlyChildhoodResearch&Practice(ECRP)Firstopen-access,peer-reviewed,bilingualInternetjournalinearlychildhood educationandcare EarlyChildhoodResearchQuarterly(ECRQ) AfliatedwiththeNationalAssociationforthe EducationofYoungChildren(NAEYC) Publishesempiricalresearch(quantitativeorqualitative)onearlychildhood development,theory,andeducationalpractice EarlyEducationandDevelopment(EE&D)Publishesarticlesthatfocusoneducationalandpreschoolservices Publishesstudiesonchildrenandtheirfamilies Includesimplicationsforpracticeofresearchandsolidscienticinformation JournalofEarlyChildhoodResearchOffersaninternationalforumforempiricalresearchonlearninganddevelopmentin earlychildhood Includespolicymakersandpractitionersworkingineldsrelatedtoearlychildhood JournalofResearchinChildhoodEducation AfliatedwiththeAssociationforChildhood EducationInternational(ACEI) Publishesarticlesthatadvanceknowledgeandtheoryfortheeducationofchildren (birththroughearlyadolescence) Includesreportsofempiricalresearch,theoreticalarticles,ethnographicandcase studies,participantobservationstudies,andstudiesusingdatacollectedfrom naturalisticsettings Hascross-culturalstudiesandinternationalconcerns 52 EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554123

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dispositionofthemanuscript(Floydetal. 2011 )andwrites alettertotheauthorsummarizingthereviewers'comments withsuggestions.Theletteralsocommunicatestothe authorthedecisiontoaccept,reviseandresubmit,''or reject''themanuscript.Whenauthorsreviseandresubmit amanuscript,theyusuallywritealettertotheactioneditor describingindetailtherevisionsbasedonthereviewers' recommendations.Ifthemanuscriptisrejected,authors shouldusetheeditor'ssuggestionstorevisethemanuscript andsubmitittoadifferentjournalthatmaybeabetter matchforthetopicandresearchquality(Mart nezetal. 2011 ).Thepeer-reviewprocessistediousandtime-consuming,butmanyviewittobeascienticrequirement (Albersetal. 2011 ). ConcludingRemarks Writingscienticresearchpublicationsisjustasdifcultas designingandconductingtheresearchstudy.Themanuscriptneedstoberevisedseveraltimesandcriticizedby colleagueswhoarebothfamiliarandunfamiliarwiththe areaofstudy.Mostofall,authorsneedtowriteamanuscriptthatisclear,direct,andunderstandable. Mostemergingandmanyproductiveresearchersnd writingdifcultanddreadthemanyrevisionsofthe manuscript.However,whenamanuscriptisacceptedfor publication,authorsgetafeelingofsatisfactionand achievement.Ofcourse,seeingone'sworkinprintmakes itallworthwhile. ReferencesAlbers,C.A.,Floyd,R.G.,Fuhrmann,M.J.,&Mart nez,R.S. (2011).Publicationcriteriaandrecommendedareasofimprovementwithinschoolpsychologyjournalsasreportedbyeditors, journalboardmembers,andmanuscriptauthors. Journalof SchoolPsychology,49 (6),669689. AmericanEducationalResearchAssociation.(2006).Standardsfor reportingonempiricalsocialscienceresearchinAERApublications. EducationalResearcher,35 (6),3340. AmericanPsychologicalAssociation.(2010). PublicationManualof theAmericanPsychologicalAssociation (6thed.).Washington, DC:AmericanPsychologicalAssociation. Baldwin,C.,&Chandler,G.E.(2002).Improvingfacultypublication output:Theroleofawritingcoach. JournalofProfessional Nursing,18 (1),815. CouncilofBiologyEditors.(1968).Proposeddenitionofaprimary publication. CouncilofBiologyEditorsNewsletter ,12. Cunningham,S.J.(2004).Howtowriteapaper. Journalof Orthodontics,31 (1),4751. Day,R.,&Sakaduski,N.(2011). Howtowriteandpublisha scienticpaper. Westport,CT:GreenwoodPress. Derntl,M.(2011). Basicsofresearchpaperwritingandpublishing Estoril,Portugal:RWTH(unpublishedmanuscript). Dies,R.R.(1993).Writingforpublication:Overcomingcommon obstacles. InternationalJournalofGroupPsychotherapy,43 (2), 243249. Dixon,N.(2011).WritingforpublicationforthersttimeTrythe hunterstyle. InternationalJournalofPhysiotherapyandRehabilitation,1 (2),3845. Dixon,N.(inpress).Writingforpublicationonresearchwithyoung children.InO.N.Saracho(Ed.), Handbookofresearchmethods inearlychildhoodeducation .Charlotte,NC:InformationAge Publishing. Floyd,R.G.,Cooley,K.M.,Arnett,J.E.,Fagan,T.K.,Mercer,S.H., &Hingle,C.(2011).Anoverviewandanalysisofjournal operations,journalpublicationpatterns,andjournalimpactin schoolpsychologyandrelatedelds. JournalofSchool Psychology,49 (6),617647. Grant,B.,&Knowles,S.(2000).Flightsofimagination:Academic womenbe(com)ingwriters. InternationalJournalforAcademic Development,5 (1),619. Lee,A.,&Boud,D.(2003).Writinggroups,changeandacademic identity:Researchdevelopmentaslocalpractice. Studiesin HigherEducation,28 (2),187200. Maloy,S.(2001). Guidelinesforwritingascienticpaper .Universityof California,Irvine.Retrievedfrom http://www.marsheldclinic. org/proxy/mcrf-admin-oswp-rm-guidelines_for_writing_a_ scientic_manuscript.1.pdf Mart nez,R.S.,Floyd,R.G.,&Erichsen,L.(2011).Strategiesand attributesofhighlyproductivescholarsandcontributorstothe schoolpsychologyliterature:Recommendationsforincreasing scholarlyproductivity. JournalofSchoolPsychology,49 691720. McGrail,M.R.,Rickard,C.M.,&Jones,R.(2006).Publishor perish:Asystematicreviewofinterventionstoincrease academicpublicationrates. HigherEducationResearch& Development,25 (1),1935. Morss,K.,&Murray,R.(2001).Researchingacademicwriting withinastructuredprogramme:Insightsandoutcomes. Studies inHigherEducation,26 (1),3542. Murray,R.,&Newton,M.(2008).Facilitatingwritingforpublication.Physiotherapy,94 (1),2934. Nihalani,P.K.,&Mayrath,M.C.(2008).Publishingineducational psychologyjournals:Commentsfromeditors. Educational PsychologyReview,20 ,2939. Peat,J.,Elliott,E.,Baur,L.,&Keena,V.(2002). Scienticwriting— Easywhenyouknowhow .London:BritishMedicalJournal(BMJ)Books. Saracho,O.N.(1983).Relationshipbetweencognitivestyleand teachers'perceptionsofyoungchildren'sacademiccompetence. JournalofExperimentalEducation,51 (4),184189. Saracho,O.N.(1988).Preschoolreadingattitudesscale. EarlyChild DevelopmentandCare,37 ,93108. Saracho,O.N.(1995).Relationshipbetweenthecognitivestylesand playbehaviorsofpreschoolchildren. EducationalPsychology, 15 (4),405415. Saracho,O.N.(1997).Usingthehomeenvironmentforemergent literacy. EarlyChildDevelopmentandCare,127–128 (1), 201216. Saracho,O.N.(1998).Socializationfactorsinthecognitivestyleand playofyoungchildren. InternationalJournalofEducational Research,29 (3),263276. Saracho,O.N.,&Spodek,B.(2010).Families'selectionofchildren's literaturebooks. EarlyChildhoodEducationJournal,37 (5), 401409. Saracho,O.N.,&Spodek,B.(2012).Introduction:Acontemporary researcher's vademecum(redux) .InO.N.Saracho&B.Spodek (Eds.), Handbookofresearchontheeducationofyoung EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554 53123

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children/3rd (pp.115).NewYork,NY:Routledge/Taylorand FrancisGroup. Selvanathan,S.K.,Udani,R.D.,Udani,S.D.,&Haylett,K.R. (2006).Theartoftheabstract. Student:BritishMedicalJournal, 14 ,7071. Sharp,D.(2002).Kipling'sguidetowritingascienticpaper. CroatianMedicalJournal,43 (3),262267. Stegemann,S.,&Gastel,B.(2009).Councilclassics:Whatconstitutesprimarypublication? ScienceEditor,32 (2),5758. Todorovic,L.(2003).Original(scientic)paper:TheIMRaDlayout. ArchiveofOncology,11 (3),203205. Udani,R.D.,Selvanathan,S.K.,Udani,S.D.,&Haylett,K.R. (2007).Writingupyourresearch. Student:BritishMedical Journal,15 ,406408. 54 EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2013)41:4554123



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1 IMPROVING SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IN MIDDLE SCHOOLS IDENTIFIED AS LOW PERFORMING BY ACCOUNTABILITY FORMULA UNDER NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) By JOSEPH RAY PARLIER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014

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2 2014 Joseph Ray Parlier

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3 This dissertation is dedicated t o my wife and daughters who have stood by me personally and professi onally though every endeavor. I could not ask for a better wife and role model for my daughters than you, Lori. I could not ask for children with greater character than you, Sarah Beth, Abbey, and Maggie.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I woul d like to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to my committee chair, Dr. Bernard Oliver for his advice and encouragement through my coursework and the writing of this dissertation In addition, I would like to thank the other members of my committee, Dr. Linda Eldridge Dr. Ruth Lowery and Dr. Jane Townsend for their time and guidance. A special thank you is also extended to other members of the University of Florida LEAD cohort who were a constant source of support and assistance throughout the pro gram. I would also like to express my gratitude to Angela Rowe for keeping me in line and on target for required deadlines Special thanks are owed to my parents, Ray Parlier and Connie Rensberger, and my siste rs, Carla Niblett and Holli Shipman, for their love and encouragement. I appreciate that my parents impressed upon us the value of a strong work ethic and character. My parents instilled at an early age the value and importance of education. I would also like to acknowledge my step mom and in laws, Renee Parlier, Sonny Ellis and the late Deborah Ellis for all of their help and support throughout my college education years Finally, words can never express my love and gratitude to my wife Lori and daug hters Sarah Beth, Abbey, and Maggie The sacrifices they willingly made in order for me to accomplish this goal and support my career as a school leader are too numerous to count.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF DEFINITIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ 10 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 13 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 16 Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 16 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 18 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 20 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ......................... 21 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 21 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 22 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 23 Significance of Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 24 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 25 Areas of Emphasis for Turning Around Low Performing Schools ........................... 27 Curriculum ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 28 Assessment ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 29 Instruction ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 30 Planning and Organization ................................ ................................ ............... 31 Family and Community Engage ment ................................ ............................... 32 Professional Learning ................................ ................................ ....................... 32 Leadership ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 34 School Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 35 Improving Schools in Georgia ................................ ................................ ................. 36 e Accountability System (SSAS) .............................. 36 Interventions of Supplemental Education Services and School Choice ............ 38 Interventions and Support for Improvement Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 1 and 2) ................................ ................................ .............................. 39 Interventions and Support for Corrective Action Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 3 and 4) ................................ ................................ ........ 40 Interventions and Support for Restructuring Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 5 and higher) ................................ ................................ ...................... 40 Funding for School Improvement ................................ ................................ ..... 46

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6 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ................................ ....................... 48 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 48 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 48 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 49 Assumptio ns ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 51 Data Sources ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 51 Population and Sample ................................ ................................ .................... 51 Data Collection and Instrumenta tion ................................ ................................ 54 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 4 ANALYSIS OF DATA ................................ ................................ .............................. 57 Presentation of the Data ................................ ................................ ......................... 58 Descriptive Data ................................ ................................ ............................... 58 Statistical Compilation ................................ ................................ ...................... 59 Analysis of the Research Questions ................................ ................................ ....... 69 5 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 75 Summary of Results ................................ ................................ ................................ 76 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 82 Limitatio ns of the Research ................................ ................................ .................... 83 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 84 Implications for Parents ................................ ................................ .................... 84 Implications for Schools ................................ ................................ .................... 85 Implications for State Education Agencies ................................ ....................... 85 Implications for State and National Policymakers ................................ ............. 86 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 86 APPENDIX A THE AYP DECISION MAKING PROCESS FOR GEORGIA'S SCHOOLS ............. 88 B INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORTS FOR SCHOOLS IN IMPROVEMENT, CORRECTIVE ACTION, AND RESTRUCTURING STATUS ................................ 89 C GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 2007 2008 IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 90 D GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 2009 2010 IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 104 E GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 2009 2010 NEGOTIATED CONTRACT TERMS ................................ ................................ ............................ 112 F MAP OF GEORGIA WITH SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT REGIONS AN D CONTRACT SCHOOLS IDENTIFIED ................................ ................................ ... 116

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7 G UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IRB CONSENT ................................ ........................ 117 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 118 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 124

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Percentage of Georgia schools in needs improvement status ............................ 19 1 2 Adequate Yearly Progress ................................ ................................ .................. 20 2 1 Effects on student achievement of school and teacher effectiveness with a student entering school at the 50 th percentile ................................ ..................... 30 2 2 Needs improvement levels and consequences/interventions ............................. 38 2 3 Alignment of areas of emphasis for low performing schools from research with support and intervention from Georgia Department of Education ............... 45 2 4 Federal funding to schools in needs improvement status in Georgia ................. 46 2 5 Formula for distribution of federal grant money for needs improvement schools in Georgia ................................ ................................ .............................. 47 3 1 Summary of population of Contract Schools and Non Contract Schools group in 2007 and 2010 ................................ ................................ ................................ 54 4 1 Demographic data for students included in study ................................ ............... 59 4 2 Number and percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 61 4 3 Number and percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 62 4 4 Number and percent of black and white students meeting or e xceeding standards in language arts ................................ ................................ ................. 63 4 5 Number and percent of black and white students meeting or exceeding standards i n mathematics ................................ ................................ ................... 64 4 6 Number and percent of economically disadvantaged (ED) and not economically disadvantaged (Non ED) stu dents meeting or exceeding standards in language arts ................................ ................................ ................. 65 4 7 Number and percent of economically disadvantaged (ED) and not economically disadvantaged (Non ED) students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics ................................ ................................ ................... 66 4 8 Number and perc ent of students with disabilities (SWD) and students without disabilities (Non SWD) meeting or exceeding standards in language arts ......... 67

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9 4 9 Number and percent of students with disabilities (SWD) and students without disabilities (Non SWD) meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics ........... 68 4 10 Comparisons of performance of all students in language arts ............................ 70 4 11 Compar isons of performance of all students in mathematics ............................. 70 4 12 Comparisons of performance of black students in language arts ....................... 71 4 13 Comparisons of performance of black students in mathematics ......................... 71 4 14 Comparisons of perfo rmance of economically disadvantaged students in language arts ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 73 4 15 Comparisons of performance of economically disadva ntaged students in mathematics ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 73 4 16 Comparisons of performance of students with disabilities in language arts ........ 74 4 17 Comparisons of performance of students with disabilities in mathematics ......... 74

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10 LIST OF DEFINITIONS Accountability tudent performance in language arts and mathematics as it relates to predetermined measureable o bjectives determined by the state department of education Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) An absolute measurement comparing student performance to a predetermined measureable objective determined by the state department of education Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) Predetermined performance levels that schools must meet in language arts and mathematics to make Adequate Yearly Progress Assessment The collecting and analyzing of student performance data to identify patter n s of achievement or underach ievement in order to design and implement appropria te instructional interventions (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 13) Consequence The sanction imposed by the state education agency for a school not making Adequate Yearly Progress Contract Schools (CS) Schools required to enter into an improvement contract with the Georgia Department of Education because of their status as needs improvement level seven and eight schools Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) Annual assessments, designed to me asure student learning as it relates to a predetermined curriculum, that are administered to students in grades 3 8 in the areas of language arts mathematics, science, and social studies Economically Disadvantaged (ED) A designation for a student who qualifies for free or reduced lunch based on federally established criteria Curriculum A system for managing and facilitating student achievement and learning based upon consensus driven con tent and performance standards (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 9 ) Family and Community Engagement A community of learning that involves parents and community members as active participants with consistent and growing evidence of parental involvement and volunteerism, participation in workshops and enrichment activi ties, and a process of two way communi cation (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 37) Feeder School A school from which another school receives its students at

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11 the beginning of a n ew school term (Example: The elementary schools that send their students to a common middle school are considered feeder schools.) Full Academic Year Student A designation given to a student who is enrolled in the same school on both the fall and spring d ates for state reporting Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) Georgi setting p olicy and procedure for the K 12 education system in Georgia Student Achievement (GOSA) implementation of laws passed by Geo Assembly Intervention Action of support taken by the state education agency to support schools not meeting academic performance objectives Instruction Designing and implementing teaching learning assessment tasks and activities to ensure that all students a chieve proficiency relative to the curriculum (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 19) Language Arts Combined subjects of reading, English, and language arts Leadership The governance process through which individuals and groups influe nce the behavior of others so that they work collaboratively to achieve common goals and promote organizational effectiveness exists (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 53) Needs Improvement (NI) Designation given to schools not making sufficient progress u No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) Federal legislation regarding education programs, includes requirement for states to adopt accountability systems including student performance requirements in language arts mathematics, and science, at a minimum Non Contract Schools (NCS) Schools not required to enter into an improvement contract with the Georgia Department of Education because of their status as a needs improvement school at a level lower than seven or sc hool not identified in needs improvement status Planning and The process, procedures, structures, and products that focus

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12 Organization the operations of a school on ensuring attainment of standards and high levels of learning for all students (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 29) Professional Learning The means by which teachers, administrators, and other school and system employees acquire, enhance, and refine the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to support high levels of learning for all s tudents (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 45) Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) Agency that provides services to schools in a particular region in the state of Georgia Reward Recognition provided by the state education agency for a school and/o r district for making Adequate Yearly Progress Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) schools and districts and interventions for schools not making Adequate Yearly Progress School Cult ure The norms, values, standards, and practices associated with the school as a learning community committed to ensuring student achievement and organizational productivity (Georgia School Keys, 2013, p. 63) Students with Disabilities (SWD) A student w ith a documented disability and individualized education plan

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13 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S AYP Adequate Yearly Progress AMO Annual Measurable Objective(s) CRCT Criterion Referenced Competency Tests CS Contract Schools ED Economically Disadvantaged FAY Full Academic Year GaDOE Georgia Department of Education GOSA Georgia Office of Student Achievement NCLB No Child Left Behind NCS Non Contract Schools Group NI Needs Improvement Non ED Students who are not Economi cally Disadvantaged Non SWD Students without Disabilities OTL Opportunity to Learn RESA Regional Education Service Agency SEA State Education Agency SSAS Single Statewide Accountability System SWD Students with Disabilities

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14 Abstrac t of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education IMPROVING SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IN M IDDLE SCHOOLS IDENTIFIED AS LOW PERFORMING BY NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) By Joseph Ray Parlier May 2014 Chair: Bernard Oliver Major: Educational Leadership Schools and school districts throughout the nation are required to meet academic performance indicato rs defined by their state to avoid e ntering improvement, corrective action, or restructuring status as outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In Georgia, these performance indicators relate to student performance in language arts and mathematic s on the sta referenced test. Based on student performance in these areas, schools are measured by the state accountability formula and are subject to specific designations that result in rewards or sanctions by the state education agency. I n 2007, the number of Georgia middle schools identified a s needs improvement schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight was 15 Each school entered into an improvement contract with and received support and intervention from the state education a gency. From 2007 2010, each school made the necessary student performance gains to be removed from needs improvement status. This study uses a retrospective data set from 15 middle schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight in 2007 and 15 schoo ls that were not in needs

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15 improvement levels seven and eight in 2007 but had similar performance levels and demographics and were located in similar geographic settings (urban, suburban, and rural) These data were used to examine the overall school perfo rmance and the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) The purpose of the analysis was to determine if improvement in student performance was made and if levels of im provement were statistically significant over the four year period during which interventions and support were or were not provided by the state education agency

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16 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background mission statement developed by a faculty and education stakeholders contains language similar to this statement. Schools and school districts value and work to ensure the success of each student. Whil e these ideals are adopted, the United States Department of Education has document ed mathematics or reading at a level of 70% (United States Department of Education, 2009). Additionally, approximately one mill ion students drop out of school each year (Aud et al., 2011) costing a total of approximately $200 billion in lost lifetime earnings (Hall & Almy, 2012). T he federal government, states districts, and schools have worked to develop turna round strategies t o improve low performing schools. However, the results of these efforts are mixed, and failing schools continue to exist (Aud et al., 2011; Cuban, 2003; Murphy and Myers, 2008; United State s Department of Education, 2010 ) While research around district and school efforts to improve low performing schools exists, Massell, et al. (2012) found that little research has been done in the last 17 years on the improving low performing schools. Federal legislation and informal efforts have targeted state education a gencies (SEA) to work with districts and schools to increase accountability and ensure that the achievement gap among subgroups of students is closed (Brown, Hess, L autzenheiser, & Owen, 2011; Rhim & Redding, 2011; Yatski & B owen, 2011; Yatsko, Lake, Nelson, & Bowen, 2012). In 2001, an effort by the federal government to ensure that every child is provided with a free and

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17 appropriate public education was revisited by reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education A ct, more commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2002). NCLB incorporated the strategies and principles to increase accountability for states, school districts, and schools; to provide more choice for parents and students, especially in low perform ing schools; to increase flexibility for states and local education agencies regarding the use of Federal education funding; and to provide a greater emphasis on reading and literacy. Increased state accountability is a central component of the reauthoriz ed law. NCLB outlines the state requirements regarding the implementation of an accountability structure requiring federal government approval (2002). Schools are required to assess student mastery of the curriculum in the areas of reading, mathematics, a nd science each year through the administration of state mandated assessments. Based on student performance on these state mandated assessments, students, schools, and districts are held accountable for individual student, subgroup, and overall performance accountability. In Georgia, the General Assembly (2000) designates the responsibility for defining the accountability system, known as the Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS), to the Georgia Department of E Office of Student Achievement (GOSA). The SSAS rules include descriptions of performance levels for making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), interventions and consequences for schools not making AYP, and rewards for school s making AYP. In response to the increased level of accountabili ty, rewards, and consequences, s chools and school districts are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that students perform

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18 academically at a level high enough to ensure that the school and district do not enter needs improvement status. Statement of the Problem As a result of increased accountabi lity and requirements for schools to make AYP, 533 schools in Georgia were identified as ne eds improvement schools at the i mprovement (NI years 1 2), corrective action (NI years 3 4), and r estructuring (NI years 5, 6, 7, and 8) levels. Of the 19 schools in r estructuring status at the end of the 2006 2007 school year, 15 schools were middle schools that had reached levels seven and eight of needs improvement. As a result of reaching levels seven and eight of needs improvement, these 15 middle schools were required to enter into an improvement contract with the state of Georgia outlining specific interventions that would be provided to assist the schools with making AYP for two consecutive years which would result in the school being removed from needs improvement status. The research problem is to examine the longitudinal data and support and intervention implemented in Georgia middle schools cl assified as nee ds improvement at levels seven and eight to compare achievement gains of schools receiving intensive support and intervention to achievement gains in similarly performing schools that did not receive the same support and intervention. Acc ountability for student performance on state mandated assessments has placed significant pressure on schools to ensure that each student performs at a level that will meet or exceed standards. As a result of individual student performance, scores for all students are combined to creat e aggregate score s in language arts and mathematics. Further, the data are disaggregated by race eco nomic status, and disability. S chools are held accountable for the performance of the all students and any

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19 sub group ( s ) with 40 or more students. All schools are not demonstrating minimum levels of performance or improvement with the aggregate group and/or disaggregate groups to keep from being identified as a needs improvement school Table 1 1 shows the percentage of school s not making AYP and being classified as needs improvement in Georgia. From 2004 2011, the percentage of schools in needs improvement status ranged from 13.2 percent to 20.4 percent. The percentage of schools classified as needs improvement represents varying schools yearly As a result of student performance schools are required to cooperate with the state education agency to receive spe cific support and intervention ranging from weekly assistance from a Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) to an on site school improvement specialist daily. Table 1 1. Percentage of Georgia schools in needs improvement status Year Percentage of school in NI status 2004 20.4 2005 17.5 2006 15 2007 15.6 2008 14.5 2009 13.2 2010 13.7 2011 16.4 (Georgia Depar tment of Education, 2011) As schools implement ed strategies to improve student and school performance, performance targets are identified These targets increase each year until reading 100 percent of students are meeting standards Table 1 2 outlines the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) that had to be met each year in language arts and mathematics in order for a school to accountability formula.

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20 The increasing expectations for schools to perform at hig her levels each year in order to make AYP and avoid being labeled as a needs improvement school provide schools with the incentive to ensure that strategies are being implemented to support students and ensure success. Table 1 2 ual Measure able Objectives schools must meet to make Adequate Yearly Progress Annual Measur e able Objectives (AMO) Year L anguage arts % meets & exceeds Mathematics % meets & exceeds 20 03 60 50 2004 60 50 2005 66.7 58.3 2006 66.7 58.3 2007 66.7 58.3 2008 73.3 66.7 2009 73.3 66.7 2010 73.3 66.7 2011 80 75 2012 86.7 88.3 2013 93.3 91.7 2014 100 100 (Georgia Department of Education, 2008) Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the student achievement data and formalized interventions of 30 Georgia middle schools that were at varying levels of needs improvement from 2007 2010 Of these schools, 15 were at needs improvement levels seven and eight. These scho ols received intensive interventions as outlined in Appendix B and support from the Georgia Department of Education. The remaining 15 schools had similar performance levels and demographics and were located in similar geographic settings (rural, suburban, and urban) as the 15 schools designated at needs improv ement levels seven and eight. The comparison schools were classified at the

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21 corrective action or rest ructuring level and did not qualify to receive the formalized interventions and support from the G eorgia Department of Education. In this study, performance data of all students, black students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities will be examined T hese categories of data represent the groups in which t he schools did no t meet the A nnual Measureable Objective in language arts and/or mathematics for the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Research Questions Question 1: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State E ducation Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for all students? Question 2: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achi evement for the black subgroup? Question 3: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the economically disadvantaged subgroup? Question 4: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the students with disabilities subgroup? Hypotheses The following hypothe ses will guide the study: H 1 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for all students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. H 2 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student a chievement for black students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention.

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22 H 3 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for economically disadvantaged studen ts at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. H 4 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve stude nt achievement for students with disabilities at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. Limitations Because this study is specific to one state, many of the limitations to the study processes and accountability structure. Each state has a different accountability formula for determining school performance. T he conclusio ns of this study may be of interest to m iddle school leaders and policy makers nationwide; however, because each state has a different accountability system, the specific interventions and supports and their related success must be considered in the context Additionally, e response requirements, testing conditions, and a unique process for setting standards Therefore, the success or lack of success of the schools in this study could vary under In other words, a school in needs improvement status in another state may not meet the requirements of a needs improvement designation in Georgia. Likewise, a s chool not in needs improvement s tatus in another state may meet the requirements to be designated as a needs improvement school in Georgia.

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23 The study is an examination of the performance level of schools after being designated as needs improvement sch ools and does not take into account previous improvement strategies that could have contributed to incremental improvement in st udent performance that occurred but did not result in the school meeting an absolute measure of performance. The study was lim ited to the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in language arts and mathematics for the 2006 2007, 2007 2008, 2008 2009, 2009 2010 school years. The study compares perfor mance of schools over a four year period and does not account for t he transient nature of students. However, student performance included in this study is reflective of only students who meet the definition of Full Academic Year (FAY) in Georgia. Student performance results are only included for students who were enroll ed in the school for both the fall and spring enrollment counts for state reporting purposes Because the study uses criterion referenced test data instead of norm referenced test data, po pulations of students vary yearly at the schools reflected in this s tudy. The study reflects schools from urban, suburban, and rural Georgia settings. Of the schools, 14 are in urban settings, five are in suburban settings and 11 are in rural settings. Assumptions The study makes the assumptions that criterion reference d student achievement data are ap propriate measures for student performance and that Criterion Referenced Competency Tests are valid and reliable sources of data regarding student proficiency in language arts and mathematics.

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24 Significance of Study Througho ut the United States, individual states, school districts, and schools have struggled to design systems of support and intervention to ensure successful academic performance for all students in middle schools. As a result, researchers and practitioners ha commonalities among types of support and intervention have been identified. By understanding these commonalities, educational leaders realized they must customize support and inte rvention to ensure success for each student Deficiencies in the knowledge include the specific type and intensity of support and intervention needed to support schools and school districts to ensure student success. This study is significant to inform educators, including administrators and teachers, parents, and policymakers about the types of intervention and support that can be used in low performing schools to ensure improvement in the educational environment for all students.

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25 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LI TERATURE The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2002) outlines the requirements of states and schools to ensure that students in the United States have access to a free and appropriate public education that meets specified standards of quality. Th e purpose of NCLB is fulfilled by multiple objectives; however, the elements specifi c to the study of improving low performing schools include the following: 1. Ensuring that high quality academic assessments, accountability systems, teacher preparation and training, curriculum, and instructional materials are aligned with challenging State academic standards so that students, teachers, parents, and administrators can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement; 2. Meeting the educationa l needs of low achieving children in our Nation's highest poverty schools, limited English proficient children, migratory children, children with disabilities, Indian children, neglected or delinquent children, and young children in need of reading assista nce; 3. Closing the achievement gap between high and low performing children, especially the achievement gaps between minority and nonminority students, and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers; 4. Holding schools, local educational agencies, and States accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students, and identifying and turning around low performing schools that have failed to provide a high quality education to their students, while providing alternatives to stude nts in such schools to enable the students to receive a high quality education; 5. Distributing and targeting resources sufficiently to make a difference to local educational agencies and schools where needs are greatest; 6. Improving and strengthening account ability, teaching, and learning by using State assessment systems designed to ensure that students are meeting challenging State academic achievement and content standards and increasing achievement overall, but especially for the disadvantaged;

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26 7. Providing greater decision making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance; 8. Providing children an enriched and accelerated educational program, including the use of schoolwide programs or addi tional services that increase the amount and quality of instructional time; 9. Promoting schoolwide reform and ensuring the access of children to effective, scientifically based instructional strategies and challenging academic content; 10. Significantly elevati ng the quality of instruction by providing staff in participating schools with substantial opportunities for professional development; 11. Coordinating services under all parts of this title with each other, with other educational services, and, to the extent feasible, with other agencies providing services to youth, children, and families; and 12. Affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children (2002). As a result of NCLB, schools, school districts, and states have determined strategies to implement to improve low performing schools. A s schools respond to legislation and receive additional financing to improve and turn around schools, the core of the work that impacts leadership, teaching and learning in school is essential to the improvement of student achievement. Turnaround is defined by Rhim, et al. (2007, p. 4) organization. As turnaround relates to schools, turnarou nd would be defined as making the necessary achievement gains to demonstrate a pattern of improvement, particularly in mathematics and literacy (Duke, 2006). In an analysis of over 35 years of research regarding the practices and characteristics of effect ive schools, Marzano (2003) identified eleven key practices that impact student achievement. These areas are curriculum, instruction, assessment, planning, organization, student support, family

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27 support, community support, professional learning, leadership, and school culture. In interviews with state and district leaders in schools and districts engaged in the first two years of the school turnaround process, early indicators of positive change include the following: 1. Improved facility cleanliness and orde r 2. Use of curriculum pac ing guides 3. Introduction of formative and benchmark assessments 4. Empowerment of principals and school leadership teams to make substantive changes and alter organizational norms 5. Development of data rooms and corresponding data meetings conducted to assess student progress and inform instructional planning and practices 6. Growth on interim and benchmark assessments 7. Increased transparency about leadership priorities (e.g., clearly articulated 90 day action plans) 8. Improved collaboration (e.g ., more planning time for teachers) 9. Changes in district thinking (e.g., explicit message that particular schools receive additional support ) 10. Creation of a turnaround zone comprised of a cohort of schools embarking on focused change 11. Newfound degrees of trus t between state and district personnel 12. O ngoing substantive conversations between regional technical assistance providers, district, and building administrators 13. S ignificant improvement in annual state assessments 14. Attainment of annual performance growth goal s (Center on School Turnaround (Rhim, 2013, p. 11). When improving low performing schools, test data are often the sole indicator in determining the failure or success of schools (Meyers & Murphy, 2007). Though Steiner, 2003, p.7) Areas of Emphasis for Turning Around Low Performing Schools In addition key practices impacting student achievement, Duke (2006) examined case studie s of improving schools and found that personnel in these schools attributed increases in student performance to eight

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28 categories of school based change which included leadership, policies, programs, school organization, personnel, instruction, parent and c ommunity involvement, and facilities. Curriculum The movement to a standards based curriculum has been attributed with improving student achievement by ensuring that the content expected to be taught and performance level of students are clearly defined (R avitch, 1995). Characteristics of an effective curriculum include the sequencing and organization of curriculum to ensure students know, do, and understand the core content, a process for teachers to engage in collaborative planning for the implementation of curriculum while agreeing on co re content and required student performance, and the use of a systematic process for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of curriculum (Marzano, 2003). In addition to having a rigorous curriculum, educators must be prepared to set dent performed in the past. When a teacher preconceives low performance, the level of expectations for the student may not be as high (Covington, 1992). A factor affecting the level of implementation and student mastery of curriculum is the opportunity t o learn (OTL). When students are assessed on curriculum mastery and scores are used to impact individual and collective accountability, students must have been taught the content being assessed (Husen, 1967). This assurance is referred to as the opportun ity to learn. Both the First and Second International Math Studies (FIMS and SIMS) empha sized three types of curriculum (Burstein, 1992;

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29 Husen, 1967). The types of curriculum are intended curriculum, implemented curriculum, and attained curriculum. The i ntended curriculum is outlined by the state or district for teachers to teach The implemented curriculum is w hat the teacher actually teache s. The attained curriculum is what the students learn. A strong relationship between student achievement and the difference in the intended and implemented curriculum exists and makes the opportunity to learn a key factor in student achievement (Brewer & Stacz, 1996; Herman, Klein, & Abedi, 2000; Robitaille, 1993). Alignment of curriculum to the assessment processe s is critical to the improvement of instruction and student achievement (Duke, 2006). Assessment Once the curriculum is defined, educators must determine how student learning or mastery of the curriculum will be assessed. Assessment is an on going process that occurs during learning based on the instruction provided (Assessment Reform Group, 1999; Crooks, 2001; Shepard, 2000). In the turnaround of a Boston school, the use of curriculum based interim assessments ensured the implementation of the curriculum with fidelity and assisted teachers in supporting students in their areas of need (Schmoker, 2011). Further, Fullan (20 0 5) found that the use of formative assessments to systematically monitor and track student progress and assess the impact of strategie s led to improvements in student achievement. With assessment the involvement of students in the process helps students identify their own learning and emphasizes progress over failure (Stiggins, 1999, 2001). Then, assessment becomes a tool for learning rather than a means to an end (Davies, 2000). Characteristics of an effective assessment program include a comprehensive and cohesive system requiring the use of assessment data to design and adjust

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30 instruction to maximize student achievement, a variety o f assessment techniques that are routinely implemented, analyzing data to plans for improvement for individual students, subgroups, and the school as a whole (Marzano, 2003). Instruction Once the curriculum is defined and assessment strategies have been d etermined, educators are responsible for planning instruction that includes tasks to is a coherent curriculum (Schmo ker, 2011, p.70). These tasks and activities are referred to as instruction. The most important factor impacting a the teacher. Students who spent an entire year with an effective teacher demonstrated a gain of 53 percentage points over students who spent a y ear with an ineffective teacher gaining 14 percentage points (Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997; Sanders, & Horn, 1994). Further, an analysis of the impact of teacher and school effectiveness on student achievement is outlined in Table 2 1 Table 2 1. Effect s on student achievement of school and teacher effectiveness with a student entering school at the 50 th percentile School & teacher effectiveness Achievement percentile after two years Average school & average teacher 50th Least effective school & least effective teacher 3rd Most effective school & least effective teacher 37th Least effective school & most effective teacher 63rd Most effective school & most effective teacher 96th Most effective school & average teacher 78th (Marzano, 2003, p. 74) As schools work to improve, the relationship of continuously verifying that the instruction delivered is aligned to the curriculum is critical to school improvement (Duke, 2006). Components of effective instruction included designing and implementing task s

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31 and activities that are aligned to the curriculum, implementation of research based teaching strategies, and evidence of high expectations for all students that includes students setting and monitoring their own progress based on clear evaluation criteri a (Marzano, 2003). Planning and Organization In addition to having effective curriculum, assessment and instruction processes, schools that have consistently realized improvements in student achievement have focused on improving organization al processes. In the improvement process, organization al processes important to improving student achievement and staff performance include collaborative planning and intervention, data review processes, alignment of curriculum, strategies for monitoring effectiveness a nd quality, and professional learning that is targeted (Duke, 2006). Through collaborative planning, student performance data are no longer the responsibi lity of the individual teacher. Instead, processes are in place for multiple educator s to examine th e data and determine strategies to assi st the learning (Duke, 2006). By including all staff in the process of planning and organizing through distributed leadership, the principal increases the opportunity for all leadership actions to be delivered in a systematic process (Elmore, 2004). Developing distributed leadership allows the establishment of capacity within teachers to ensure that the aligned curriculum is taught and student progress is monitored (Duke, 2006). Distributed leadership i s an organiz ational strategy that influences the improvement of student achievement more than individual leadership (Louis, et al., 2010) Schools with effective planning and organization have a vision and mission that serve as the basis for all aspects of continuous improvement and reflect the values and

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32 beliefs of all stakeholders. Additionally, a continuous improvement planning process including a dynamic continuous improvement plan, planning between the school and district regarding the allocation and use of fisca l resources and collaboration among all staff to ensure that rules, policies, and procedures are articulated, supported and successfully implemented to maintain a safe, productive, and inviting learning environment (Marzano, 2003). Family and Community En gagement Engaging parents in the improvement process of low performing schools requires supporting parents who were often unsuccessful in schools themselves (Day 2007). Three areas that support the improvement of a school and related to family and communi ty engagement include improved communication, parent involvement, and community partnerships (Fullan, 2006). In schools where there is an increase in quality parent and community relationships, parents and the community become part of the solution to the 2006). In schools where there is a high level of involvement and support, continuous improvement is active and sustained thro ugh involvement of stakeholders. O rganizational structures a nd processes exist to ensure that stakeholders take an active part in school governance, decision making, and problem solving S takeholder needs are addresse d through services and cross functional partnerships among community organizations (Marzano, 2003) Professional Learning In order to support faculty and staff, a professional learning plan exists in high Schools realizing improvement in student achievement results often have formalized struc tures through

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33 which teachers analyze student performance data, plan appropriate strategies to address weaknesses, and meet collaboratively to review plans and the success of plans ( Maxwell, Huggins, & Scheuruch, 2010; Murphy & Lick, 2005; DuFour, 2006 ). Cl assroom practices must receive attention in order to improve teacher and school knowledge and skills (Elmore, Peterson, & McCarthey, 1996). When developing plans for professional learning, a needs based assessment of administrators, teachers, and staff should determine the components of the plan (Day, 2007). Professional learning should focus on student learning and performance outcomes and become central to the culture of the sch ool. Targeted professional development lasting a minimum of 14 hours and often lasting between 30 and 100 hours had the most significant effects on student achievement in a study by Yoon, et al. (2007). Principals can ensure effective implementation of p lans by leading teachers in and modeling professional learning (Psencik, 2011). As a result, a cycle where principals and teachers engage in identifying student and individual weaknesses, develop professional learning plans based on these areas, implement and monitor the plans, and have an on going impacting student learning in the classroom (Psencik, 2011). Effective professional learning includes customized planning based on the context of the school ensuring that resources have been allocated to support adult learning and collaboration, an aligned process containing articulated goals and purposes that is data driven, research based, evaluated, and collaborative in design and implementation, and reinforces the

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34 and success for all students resulting in the use of specific, research based strategies in the classroom to promote student learning ( Marzano, 2003). Many schools making significant improvement participate in weekly professional learning rather than just the dates established by the district (Salmonowicz, 2009) Leadership Research links effective principals to significantly improving student achievement and learning (Steiner, Hassel, & Hassel, 2008; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005). In over 70% of successful turnarounds, a change in the leadership occurs to begin the process of significant improvement (Kowal, & Hassel, 2011). Princ ipals in improving schools view their function as instructional leaders, disciplinarians, and monitors of student progress (Duke & Landahl, 2011). Turnaround leaders consistently demonstrate the four key competencies of having a strong persistence to achi eve high levels of results and the desire to implement the strategies needed for success, motivating and influencing others to get high levels of performance, analyzing data and developing data based plans that are actionable and monitoring the implementat ion of these plans, and maintaining a focus on improvement through commitment and self assuredness regardless of the political climate that exists during the turnaround process (Steiner, Hassel, & Hassel, 2008). Steiner and Hassel (2011) have found that a school will not be improved without the guidance of an effective leader who can lead the school through sustainable improvement efforts. Effective principals guide faculty and staff in determining areas of strength and weakness, developing plans with act ionable goals that are based on strengths and weaknesses, identification of roles and responsibilities of individuals in the implementation of the plan (Steiner, et al., 2008). Once plans are developed and implemented, monitoring the implementation throug h meaningful

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35 classroom visits, not just visibility, with feedback regarding instruction resulted in higher levels of performance for students and teachers (Louis, et al., 2010). In the development and implementation of plans to improve student achievement distributing leadership and building the capacity of teacher leadership ensures high levels of implementation of the plan and sustainability of the plan over time (Day, 2007). St rong leadership includes the principal and other school administrators provi ding leadership to promote high expectations for student achievement while promoting the school as a learning community, facilitating the development, implementation, and maintenance of a supportive learning environment for teachers and students through st rong organizational and management skills, recognizing the need to distribute governance and leadership which are the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, and utilizing a leadership team to share in the governance and decision making of the schoo l (Marzano, 2003). School Culture In effective schools, the culture of the school is positive and supports student growth and school improvement. Teachers in improving schools were more likely to believe that all students could achieve objectives outlined in the curriculum (Duke & Landahl, 2011). Culture has an influence on all aspects of the school program, including instructional practice, organizational behavior, student discipline, and student and faculty learning (Deal & Peterson, 1994; Firestone & W ilson, 1985). Positive school cultures share a commitment to learning and caring and concern for all students and staff in the building (Peterson & Deal, 1998). Schools developing tradition establish norms for student success and behavior (Hopfenberg, 19 95). Leaders have a direct impact on the establishment of a positive or toxic school culture (Deal & Peterson,

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36 1994). In order to be effective, school culture must reflect the norms, values, standards, and practices that reinforce academic, social, emoti onal, and relational growth of each student and a commitment to professional growth and focus rules, practices, procedures in an effort to fost er a sense of belonging among stakeholders (Marzano, 2003). Improving Schools in Georgia NCLB requires each state to develop accountability systems to ensure that As a result of student performance on these assessments, schools in each state are held accountable for student performan ved accountability plan (2002). The SSAS outlines performance levels for making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), interventions and consequences for schools not making AYP, and rewards for schools making AYP (Geo rgia Board of Education, 2005). determined based on the multiple factors. Schools must demonstrate that 95 percent of students participated in the assessment, meet the state Annual Measureable Objective (AMO) or one of three second look statistical formulas regarding performance (confidence interval, multi year averaging, or safe harbor) for all students and specific subg roups of students, meet proficiency standards related to a second indicator which has been graduation rate in high schools and student attendance in most elementary and middle schools during 2007 2010 The AYP decision making process is outlined in a fl owchart in Appendix A. When determining the AYP status of a school, the first step is to compile all student

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37 achievement data in language arts and mathematics to determine the sub groups for which the school will be held accountable. Each subgroup must ha ve a minimum of 40 students in order to be a subgroup for which the school is accountable. For each subgroup that is a part of the AYP determination, a determination regarding whether or not the subgroup had 95% participation in the assessment must be mad e If the sub group does not meet the participation requirement, the school does not make AYP because of that sub If all subgroups for which the school will be held accountable have 95% participation, a determinatio n of whe ther or not each sub exceeds the Annual Measureable Objective (AMO) threshold for that year is made. If each group meets the AMO thresholds in language arts and mathematics, the school makes AYP. If one or more sub groups do no t meet the AMO(s), the data for the group must be further analyzed. If a sub group(s) does not meet the absolute threshold for the AMO, three statistical processes are followed to determine if the school will make AYP. These processes include multi year a veraging, confidence interval, and safe harbor. Once the AYP status of the school is determined, schools not making adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years are designated as needs improvement (NI) schools. Needs improvement schools are labeled as improvement (NI 1 & NI 2), corrective action (NI 3 & NI 4), or restructuring (NI 5 & higher), and are subject to consequences designed to assist the school in improving student achievement (2002). Once a school is in NI status, the school must make AYP for two consecutive years to be removed from NI status. Consequences for schools in NI status range in severity

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38 based on the NI level of th e school as outlined in Table 2 2 below (Georgia Board of Education, 2005). Table 2 2. Needs improvement levels and consequences/interventions Needs improvement level Consequences/interventions Did not make AYP year 1 No consequences NI 1 (Improvement Status) School choice, develop school improvement plan NI 2 (Improvement Status) School choice, supplemental se rvices, implement school improvement plan NI 3 (Corrective Action) School choice, supplemental services, continue school improvement plan, develop/Implement school corrective action plan NI 4 (Corrective Action) School choice, supplemental services Implement school corrective action plan, develop school restructuring plan NI 5 (Restructuring) School choice, supplemental services, continue school corrective action plan, implement school restructuring plan NI 6 (Restructuring) School choice, supplemental services, implement school restructuring plan, participate in GaDOE led school performance review and needs assessment, develop improvement contract NI 7 (Restructuring) School choice, supplemental services, Implement improvement contract, state contract monitored school NI 8 (Restructuring) Participate in GaDOE led school performance review and needs assessment, state contract monitored school develop state management contract NI 9 (Restructuring) School choice, supplemental servic es, implement state management contract, state contract managed NI 10 (Restructuring) School choice, supplemental services, implement state management contract, state contract managed (Georgia Department of Education, 2008) Interventions of Supplemen tal Education Services and School Choice As schools classified as needs improvement levels two and higher, Georgia Law (2000) authorizes the Georgia Board of Education to adopt rules requiring schools to

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39 provide supplemental education services and school choice as required under the No Child Left Behind Act (Georgia Board of Education, 2008). All schools in NI level two or higher are required to offer supplemental educational services and schools choice in Georgia. Interventions and Support for Improvemen t Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 1 and 2) site support and additional federal funding provided for the school to make improvements varies based Appendix B outlines these interventions and supports. On site support personnel from the state are responsible for providing a combination of pressure and support. Brown, et al. (2011) found that improvement in Georgia lowest performing schools was in part a result of Georgia State School site support. In an interview, Cox assistance. Instead of sending agency employee s into schools to simply help complete paperwork, those people were sent to help assess and diagnose problems in low Schools in their first two years of needs improvement status are assigned a school improv ement specialist who assists the school in processes such as data analysis, school improvement planning based on deficiencies identified in the data, professional learning, monitoring of the implementation of the school improvement plan, and analysis of da ta from feeder schools and development of a plan to address weaknesses in the feeder school through vertical teaming Schools in improvement status receive support through Regional Education Service Associations (RESA)

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40 located throughout the state. Each R ESA receives funding to employ school improvement specialists for the sole purpose of serving schools in improvement status. Interventions and Support for Corrective Action Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 3 and 4) In addition to receiving all of the s ervices and interventions that improvement schools receive, schools in corrective action receive more intensive support from a SEA school improvement specialist who, with the leadership team of the school, analyzes the effectiveness of the improvement plan and develops further action steps, timelines for implementation of action steps, and steps for monitoring the corrective action plan. Additionally, the school improvement specialist supports the school through classroom observations with feedback, monito ring of professional learning and implementation of professional learning, support with the coordination of human and fiscal resources, and facilitation of leadership teams. The school improvement specialist supports the school and district in determining corrective actions that may include replacement of staff, appointment of an outside expert to monitor the school, decreasing the authority of the school administration, reorganizing the school, and extending the school day and/or year. Interventions and S upport for Restructuring Schools (Needs Improvement Levels 5 and higher) Schools in restructuring status receive all services outlined for improvement and corrective action schools. Additionally, schools in restructuring receive intensive support and res ources to have a n SEA school improvement specialist referred to as a state director, at the school to oversee the school s operation and implementation of the school improvement plan. The state director has a role in supporting the district office in the hiring and termination of staff and hiring of an instructional coach(es) for the area(s)

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41 of deficiency. The state director ensures that curriculum frameworks are followed and instruction is delivered based on the model provided in required, intensive prof essional learning. Additionally, ben chmark assessments are administered on an on going basis to determine student acquisition of content and skills. The purpose of these formative assessments is to determine if content and skills need to be taugh t again and/or if students need additional instruction after or before school. During these processes, the school receives an on curriculum, assessment, instruction, professional learning, leadership, s chool culture, community engagement, and planning and organization. Based on this review, target areas for improvement are identified and plans with actionable steps are developed and monitored to improve performance. The frequency of the monitoring of t hese plans is at least every 45 days. Once a school reache s needs improvement level seven an improvement contract outlining the aforementioned strategies is developed and agreed upon by the various stakeholders including the Georgia Board of Education an d the local board of education. At both the corrective action and restructuring level, s chools receive support through school improvement specialists hired by the GaDOE utilizing federal funds. Regardless of the role or level of school receiving services, the support provided includes emphasis on the aforementioned areas and specific actions that include the following : 1. Assisting and supporting school leaders in developing and sustaining a leadership team that is focused on continuous improvement in order to i ncrease student achievement, 2. Assisting and supporting leaders in sustaining the school improvement process through all strands of the Georgia S tandards for School Performance, 3. Assisting and supporting the leadership team, collaborative learning

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42 teams, a nd individual teachers in best practices that will directly lead to increased academic achievement for individual students and subgro ups in relation to AYP targets, 4. Assisting and supporting school leaders, the leadership team, and collaborative learning te ams with the development of structures and processes that support standards based, job embedded, results driven professional learning, 5. Assisting and supporting school leaders in creating and sustaining a culture of data driven, decision making that guides actio n plans for school improvement, 6. Assisting and supporting the school leadership team and collaborative learning teams in creating action plans with measurable goals, 7. Assisting and supporting the leadership team and collaborative learning teams in impl ementing the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) in standards based classrooms and monitoring the implementation of the GPS within standards based classrooms through teacher observations and feedback, 8. Assisting and supporting the leadership team and collab orative learning teams with the use of instructional frameworks and the implementation of benchmark assessments, 9. Assisting and supporting teachers in the implementation of formative assessments in the classroom and with using the results of formative asse ssments as timely data in making instructional decisions and informing the overall school improvement process, 10. Assisting and supporting the leadership team and collaborative learning teams in the development, implementation, and continuous monitoring of fo rmalized systems of data driven interventions (Response to Intervention), and 11. Assisting and supporting the leadership team in continuously assessing progress toward fully operational high impact practices (Georgia Department of Education, 2008). Schools r eaching restructuring status at levels seven and higher are expected to enter into a contract with the state department of education that outlines services provided by a state director and expectations for implementation of specific requirements in the sch ool (Georgia Department of Education, 2009). The improvement

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43 contract under which identified schools were required to operate beginning during the 2007 2008 sc hool year is found in Appendix C and outlines the following specific requirements of schools in r estructuring: 1.1 System Short Term Action Plan. This Plan identifies short term action steps of 45 to 60 days duration to research, develop, and establish the structures needed to implement the Interventions recommended in the System Performance Review. The System Short Term Action Plan is Division of State Directed Schools. This Plan is founded upon the School Keys (Georgia School Standards) and identifies specific action steps related to the Interventions from the System Performance Review, and other identified system improvement goals. It also identifies the person(s) responsible for each action step and sets deadlines for achieving each action step. The Division of State Directed Sch ools shall have final decision making authority in the interventions included in the System Short Term Action Plan. Failure of the Local Educational Agency on behalf of the School to implement, complete, or otherwise accomplish these action steps within t he time frame identified in the System Short Term Action Plan (GOSA) for an investigation and/or audit, resulting in a report with recommendations to the State Board of Education. The se recommendations may include, but are not limited to a decrease of management authority for the superintendent and local board of education; assignment of a management team to operate all or part of the Local Educational Agency and restructuring of the L governance arrangement. 1.2 School Short Term Action Plan. This Plan identifies short term action The School Short Term Action Plan is created by the Local E ducational Directed Schools represented by the GaDOE monitor of the contract. This Plan is founded upon the School Keys (Georgia School Standards) and identifies specific action steps re lated to the Interventions from the GAPSS Analysis, achievement of the Annual Measurable Objectives for all identified subgroups, Participation Rate, Second Indicators, attendance (if attendance is not the second indicator), and other identified school imp rovement goals. It also identifies the person(s) responsible for each action step and sets deadlines for achieving each action step. The Division of State Directed Schools shall have final decision making authority in the interventions included in the Scho ol Short Term Action Plan. Failure of the Local Educational Agency on behalf of the School to implement, complete, or otherwise accomplish these action steps within the time frame identified in the School Short Term Action Plan may result in a referral to

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44 Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) for an investigation and/or audit, resulting in a report with recommendations to the State Board of Education. These recommendations may include a recommendation to withhold selected or all State and/or F ederal funds from such Local Educational Agency. 1.3 System Interventions. The GaDOE will conduct a System Performance Review. The report generated as a result of the System Performance Review will include recommended system interventions. 1.4 School Int erventions. The School shall be subject to a new School Performance Review (GAPSS Analysis) conducted by GaDOE. The GAPSS Analysis report will include recommended interventions. The GAPSS Analysis report will be delivered to the School and/or LEA and shall then automatically be incorporated by reference as Attachment 5 to this Contract. 1.5 School Improvement Plan. Pursuant to the requirements of No Child Left Behind, 20 U.S.C. §6316(b)(3), the School has developed, and the Local Educational Agency has appr oved, a School Improvement Plan continuous improvement and progress toward identified student achievement objectives and targets. The School Improvement Plan identifies the School Language arts (2) Mathematics, and (3) Second Indicators. The School Improvement Plan details strategies/action steps, the strands of the School Keys (Georgia School Standards) with which the strategy/action correla tes, individuals responsible, evidence/artifacts, and benchmark measures. The Annual Measurable Objectives outlined in the School Improvement Plan are School identified goals that shall be monitored under this contract. Failure of a Local Educational Agen cy or School to implement the detailed strategies/actions in order to achieve these Annual Measurable Objectives (GOSA) for an investigation and/or audit, resulting in a report with r ecommendations to the State Board of Education. These recommendations may include a recommendation to withhold selected or all State and/or Federal funds from such Local Educational Agency and/or any interventions permissible by rule or law (Georgia Depart ment of Education, 2009). Ap pendices D and E contain the contract and negotiated contract elements under which schools were required to operate during the 2009 2010 school year or the final year during which data for this study were collected. The biggest difference in t he contracts and negotiated terms in Appendices C, D and E is the format and

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45 organization, not content. Table 2 2 examines the alignment of the areas of emphasis for low performing schools as outline d in the research with the specific sup port and intervention provided by the Georgia Department of Education in schools at the restructuring level of needs improvement status based on the improvement contract Table 2 3 Alignme nt of areas of emphasis for low performing schools from research wit h support and intervention from Georgia Department of Education Areas of Emphasis from Research Georgia Support and Intervention Curriculum Ensure that instructional frameworks are used appropriately in each classroom Assessment Ensure that benchmark as sessments are given and results are analyzed to guide instruction Instruction Conduct classroom observations and provide feedback and m odel classroom instruction in targeted content areas Conduct awareness walks with administrators focused on specific a reas of need at the school to collect data on classroom practices Planning and Organization Analyze AYP data and identify areas of deficiency De velop and implement a school improv ement plan aligned to areas of deficiency and a ssess school improvement pl an on a quarterly basis and m odify school improvement plan to address inadequate performance Analyze feeder school student achievement data and d evelop a vertical plan to address feeder patterns Assess resource allocation Participate in decisions relate d to replacement of staff Implement short term action plans Ensure that leadership team addresses targeted areas from performance review Hire and instructional coach based on area (s) of need Professional Learning Coordinate and provide professional le arning in support of school improvement plan Participate in intensive professional learning addressing the implementation and assessment of Georgia Performance Standards through standards based classrooms Leadership Facilitate full implementation of lea dership teams and e nsure that leadership team analyzes teacher and student attendance and develops an action plan if needed

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46 Funding for School Improvement Under No Child Left Behind funding is provided by the federal government to support the implementa tion of interventions and strate gies to support schools in needs improvement status t hrough Title I, Section 1003(a). Title I, Section 1003(a) requires that State Education Agencies allocate funds to local education agencies to support Title I schools id entified for improvement to meet the progress goals in their school improvement, corrective action and/or restructuring plans and there by improve student These funds are in addition to the allocations that all Title I schools receive schools Additional f unding for school improvement varies by state Georgia disbursed Title I, 1003(a) funds in the amount of $11,593,100 to schools in needs improvement status duri ng the 2006 200 7 school year and $13,960,990 in the 2009 2010 school year. These disbursements r eflect an increase in the amount of Title I, 1003(a) funds awar ded fr om 2007 2010 of $2,367,890 The total amount of Title I, 1003(a) funds dis tributed from 2 006 2010 was $50,285,285 Table 2 4 outlines the amount of Title I, 1003(a) funds allocated to Georgia schools in needs improvement status each year Table 2 4 Federal funding to schools in needs improvement status in Georgia Year Total funding for need s improvement schools 2009 2010 $13,960,990.00 2008 2009 $12,490,745.00 2007 2008 $12,240,450.00 2006 2007 $11,593,100.00 (Georgia Department of Education, 2009) Funds were disbursed to school s based on their level of needs improvement as out lined in Table 2 5. In addition to receiving the base amount, schools received an enrollment supplement if the enrollment of the school exceeded 600 students. Schools

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47 with 601 1000 students received an additional $5,000.00. Schools with 1,000 or more s tudents received an additional $10,000.00 (Georgia Department of Education, 2009). Table 2 5. Formula for distribution of federal grant money for needs improvement schools in Georgia Level of NI Base grant allocation 1 3 $ 32,000.00 3 $ 52,000.00 4 6 $ 82,000.00 7 9 $ 127,000.00 + $27,000.00 for professional learning academy (Georgia Department of Education, 2009) Schools receiving these additional school improvement funds were required to align funding and expenditures with action steps in their schoo l improvement plan before receiving approval to spend funds. Schools in this study that entered into improvement contracts with the state received $154,000. Schools in the study that did not enter into improvement contracts with the state received $82,00 0.

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48 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY N ine scholarly works di s cussing state educatio n agencies and their support of low performing schools Of these, only one was published since 2000 (Massell et al., 2012) Little research exists reflecting the impact of the State Education Agency on its role in improving low performing schools. Research regarding the State Education performing schools reveals that states use varying str ategies and methods of allocating financial reso urces to schools and districts. Research Questions For this study, four research questions will guide the study. Question 1: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for all students? Question 2: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in studen t and school achievement for the black subgroup? Question 3: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the economically disadvan taged subgroup? Question 4: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the students with disabilities subgroup? Hypotheses For this study, four hypotheses have been determined : H 1 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for all students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly perf orming schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention.

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49 H 2 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student a chievement for black students at a rate that is significan tly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. H 3 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for economicall y disadvantaged students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. H 4 : Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for students with disabilities at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. Limitations Because this study is speci fic to one state, many of the limitations to the study relate and accountability structure. Each state has a different accountability formula for determining school perfor mance. Therefore, the conclusions of this study may be of interest to school leaders particularly at the middle school level, and policy makers nationwide; however, because each state has a different accountability system, the specific interventions and s upports and their related success must be considered in the context of the accountability system. Regardless, the focus on research based practices for improving student achievement should be emphasized. tem has varying levels of rigor, student response requirements, testing conditions, and a unique standard setting process. Therefore, the success or lack of success of the schools in this study could be very accountability system. In other words, a

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50 school in needs improvement status in another state may not meet the requirements of a needs improvement designation in Georgia. Likewise, a s chool not in needs improvement s tatus in another state may meet the requ irements to be designated as a needs improvement school in Georgia. The study is an examination of the performance level of schools after being designated as needs improvement schools and does not take into account previous improvement strategies that co uld have contributed to incremental improvement in student performance that occurred but did not result in the school meeting an absolute measure of performance. The study was limited to the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests in language arts a nd mathematics for the 2006 2007 2007 2008, 2008 2009, 2009 2010 school years. The study compares performance of schools over a four year period and does not account for the transient nature of students. However, student performance included in this st udy is reflective of only students who meet the definition of Full Academic Year (FAY) in Georgia. Student performance results are only included for students who were enrolled in the school for the fall and spring student enrollment count for state report ing Because the study uses criterion referenced test data instead of norm referenced test data, p opulations of students vary yearly at the schools reflected in this study. The study reflects schools from urban, suburban, and rural Georgia settings. Of t he schools, 14 are in urban settings, five are in suburban settings, and 11 are in rural settings.

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51 Assumptions The study makes the assumptions that criterion referenced student achievement data are ap propriate measures for student performance and that Cri terion Referenced Competency Tests are valid and reliable sources of data regarding student proficiency in language arts and mathematics. Data Sources Population and Sample This research focuses on the academic achievement of 30 middle schools with a grad e 6 8 configuration in Georgia These schools were i dentified at the end of the 200 6 2007 school year as needs im provement schools. Fifteen of th e schools were in restructuring at needs improvement levels seven and eight Schools at this level were requ ired to enter into an improvement contract with the state of Georgia to receive intensive support and interve ntion from the state education a gency. Fi fteen of the schools were in corrective action or lower levels of restructuring which means these schools did not have to enter into an improvement contract with the state of Georgia Schools in corrective action or restructuring at levels five and six did not receive the same level of support and intervention from the State Education Agency. Of the schools included in this study, 14 schools were in urban settings, five schools were in suburban settings, and 11 schools were in rural settings. The schools in the study represe nt 20 Georgia school districts. Appendix E identifies the geographic location of all schools in restructuring which includes the 15 middle schools on which this study is based. All schools had populations that fell into various subgroups by ethnicity, economic status, and disability. In addition to the all students category, the subgroup s

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52 reflected in the schools included black students, white student s economically disadvantaged students, non economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and students without disabilities. In this study, performance data of all student s, black students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities will be examined since these groups were the groups in which the schools did not have enough students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts and/or mathematics for the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress. For the purpose of this study, the population of the Contract Schools group in 2007 included a total of 10,628 students in 15 middle schools. Of these students, 7,311 or 69% were black, 3,096 or 29% were wh ite, 8,647 or 81% were economically disadvantaged, 1,981 or 19% were not economically disadvantaged, 1,798 or 17% were students with disabilities, and 8,830 or 83% were students without disabilities. T he population of the Non Contract Schools group in 201 0 included a total of 10,783 students in 15 middle schools. Of these students, 7,268 or 67% were black, 3,263 or 30% were white, 8,557 or 79% were economically disadvantaged, 2,226 or 21% were not economically disadvantaged, 1,798 or 17% were students wit h disabilities, and 8,985 or 83% were students without disabilities. Data regarding schools in the Contract Schools group were used to determine which schools to include in the Non Contract Schools group. When determining the Non Contract Schools group the following factors were considered in priority order: 1. Needs improvement status 2. Overall student performance 3. Student demographics 4. Geographic location

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53 In order to ensure that the schools in the Non Contract Schools group were all receiving the same lev el of support from the state education a gency, schools in the Non Contract Schools group had to be in corrective action or restructuring at levels five or six This criteria narrowed the population of schools from which the Non Contract Schools could be chosen School performance data in language arts and mathematics from the Adequate Yearly Progress reports were examined to match similar schools with the schools in the Contract Schools group. Language arts data included combines performance school on the reading and English components of the state mandated assessment The population of the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 included a total of 11,592 students in 15 middle schools throughout Georgia Of these students, 7,383 or 64 % w ere black, 3,915 or 34 % were white, 9,538 or 82 % were economically disadvantaged, 2,054 or 18 % were not economically disadvantaged, 1,635 or 14 % were students with disabilities, and 9,957 or 86 % were students without disabilities. The population of the N on Contract Schools group in 2010 included a total of 11, 860 students in 15 middle schools throughout Georgia Of these students, 8,037 or 68 % were black, 3,464 or 29% were white, 9,538 or 80 % were economically disadvantaged, 2,322 or 20 % were not e conomically disadvantaged 1,677 or 14% were students with disabilities, and 10,183 or 86% were students without disabilities. Table 3 1 summarizes the population of the Contract Schools and N on Contract Schools included in the study Only data for subgroups for which the schools were held accountable were included because these were the data on which the Ade quate Yearly Progress determinations for the schools were made.

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54 Table 3 1. Summary of population of Contract Schools and Non Contract Schools group in 2007 and 2010 Contract Schools Group Non Contract Schools Group 2007 2010 2007 2010 Students # % # % # % # % All 10,628 100 10,783 100 11,592 100 11,860 100 Black 7,311 69 7,268 67 7,383 64 8,037 68 White 3,096 29 3,263 30 3,915 34 3,464 29 Economically disadva ntaged 8,647 81 8,557 79 9,538 82 9,538 80 Not economically disadvantaged 1,981 19 2,226 21 2,054 18 2,322 20 Students with disabilities 1,798 17 1,798 17 1,635 14 1,677 14 Students without disabilities 8,830 83 8,985 83 9,957 86 10,183 86 (Georgia Dep artment of Education, 2007 & 2010) Data Collection and Instrumentation The Georgia Criterion Refere nced Competency Tests (CRCT) were used to measure student academic achievement in language arts and mathematics for this study. The CRCT is a criterion refe renced test that is administered in the spring of each school year to all students in grades three through eight. Additionally, students who fail one or more portions of the test are allowed to attend a required summer remediation program and retest at th e end of the program. All retest data are included in the final data reflected in the Adequate Yearly Progress reports. Because the language arts and mathematics tests are used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress and school designation as needs improv ement or not, the language arts data were used for the study. All data for this study were collected

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55 Progress results. The CRCT data used in this study were access ed through the Georgia irectly from the school district s All data, including subgroup data, were available through the public site. Permission to conduct research was requested and obtained through the Univ ersity of Florida Institutional Review Board. Because all data were accessible through the public web site, no informed consent forms were required. The approval letter from the University of Florida Institutional Review Board is located in Appendix F. D ata Analysis The following statistical tools will be used to answer the research questions. H 1 : t test and mean Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for all students at a ra te that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. This hypothesis determines the growth of a Non Contract Schools group and Contract Schools group from the school years ending in 2007 and 2010. A t test was used to determine if the difference s in performance from 2007 to 2010 with in and between each group were statistically significant. Additionally, the mean percentage s of students meeting and exceeding standards were compared to show growth. H 2 : t test and mean Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for the black subgroup at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention.

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56 This hypothesis determines the growth of a Non Contract Schools group and Contract Schools group from the school years ending in 2007 and 2010. A t test was used to determine if the difference s in perfo rmance from 2007 to 2010 with in and between each group were statistically significant. Additionally, the mean percentage s of students meeting and exceeding standards were compared to show growth. H 3 : t test and mean Schools receiving intensive support an d intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for the economically dis advantaged subgroup at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention This hypothesis determines the growth of a Non Contract Schools group and Contact Schools group from the school years ending in 2007 and 2010. A t test was used to determine if the difference s in per formance from 2007 to 2010 within and between each grou p were statistically significant. Additionally, the mean percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards were compared to show growth. H 4 : t test and mean Schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will i mpro ve student achievement for the student s with disabilities subgroup at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. This hypothesis determines the growth of a Non Cont ract Schools group and Contact Schools group from the school years ending in 2007 and 2010. A t test was used to determine if the difference s in per formance from 2007 to 2010 within and between each group were statistically significant. Additionally, the mean percentage s of students meeting and exceeding standards were compared to show growth.

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57 CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS OF DATA The purpose of this study was to examine the data and formalized interventions and support of 30 Georgia middle schools that were at vary ing levels of needs improvement over the 2007 2010 school years. Of these schools, 15 were at needs improvement levels seven and eight. These schools received intensive interventions and support from the Georgia Department of Education. The remaining 15 schools had similar performance levels and demographics and were located in similar geographic settings (rural, suburban, and urban) as the 15 schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight. The comparison schools were classified at the corrective ac tion or restructuring level and did not qualify to receive the formalized interventions and support from the Georgia Department of Education. Appendix B outlines the specific interventions for schools. In this study, performance data of all students, blac k students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities will be examined since these groups were the groups in which the schools did not have enough students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts and/or mathematics for the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Research questions guiding the study were: Question 1: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achie vement for all students? Question 2: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the black subgroup?

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58 Question 3: Is there a dif ference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the economically disadvantaged subgroup? Question 4: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the students with disabilities subgroup? Presentation of the Data Descriptive Data The population of this study included 30 Georgia m iddle schools reflecting academic performance of 22,643 students in 2007 and 22,220 students in 2010 All students for whom data were used attend ed the school for which the data were used for the full academic year. All students were attending schools in needs improvement status as defined by System. Fifteen of the middle schools comprised the Non Contract Schools group a nd were in corrective action or restructuring levels five or six, and 15 schools comprised the Contact Schools group and were in restructuring levels seven or eight. Schools in the Contact Schools group were engaged in improvement contracts with the Georgia Department of Education resulting in intensive intervention and support. Schools in the Non Contract Schools did not receive the same intensive intervention and support although the schools were similar demographically and in the area of student performance. Demographic da ta for the students included in the study are found in Table 4 1. Data are only included for the subgroups of students for which the schools were held accountable

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59 Table 4 1. Demographic data for students included in study Contract Schools Group Non Contract Schools Group 2007 2010 2007 2010 Students # % # % # % # % All 10,628 100 10,783 100 11,592 10 0 11,860 100 Black 7,311 69 7,268 67 7,383 64 8,037 68 White 3,096 29 3,263 30 3,915 34 3,464 29 Economically disadvantaged 8,647 81 8,557 79 9,538 82 9,538 80 Not economically disadvantaged 1,981 19 2,226 21 2,054 18 2,322 20 Students with disabiliti es 1,798 17 1,798 17 1,635 14 1,677 14 Students without disabilities 8,830 83 8,985 83 9,957 86 10,183 86 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010) Statistical Compilation Student data were accessed through the Georgia Department of Education web s ite. Data extracted in c luded elements for all students and subgroups of students by ethnicity, economic status, and disability Additionally, data were available for students of other ethnicities; however, these data were not used in this study because e nough students representing these subgroups did not attend any of the 30 schools included in the study. Descriptive statistics for students included in the study were compiled for all students and subgroups of students. The focus of analyzing the data wa s on the number and percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards for the total population and each subgroup in language arts and mathematics since these data

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60 determine the Adequate Yearly Progress designation of each school. The following tab les contain data regarding the performance of each subgroup and content area for which the 30 schools in the study were held accountable. Data are represented in designati on. Table 4 2 contains data regarding the number and percentage of all students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 3 contains data regarding the number and percentage of all stude nts meeting or exc eeding standards in mathematics in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 4 contains data regarding the number and percentage of black and white students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 5 contains data regarding the number and percentage of black and white students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 6 contains data rega rding the number and percentage of economically disadvantaged and not economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 7 contains data regarding the number an d percentage of economically disadvantaged and not economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 8 contains data regarding the number and percentage of stude nts with disabilities and students without disabilities meeting or exceeding standards in language arts in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 9 contains data regarding the number and percentage of students with disabilities and stu dents without disabilities

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61 meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics in each school during the 2007 and 2010 school years. Table 4 2. Number and percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts 2007 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards Students meeting & exceeding standards School n % n % NCS A 554 74 569 76 NCS B 714 64 713 62 NCS C 272 58 282 61 NCS D 745 82 751 81 NCS E 807 76 842 78 NCS F 573 74 632 74 NCS G 341 73 363 76 NCS H 1089 79 1068 77 NCS I 41 8 81 408 79 NCS J 417 73 437 75 NCS K 655 69 675 71 NCS L 551 67 579 69 NCS M 602 75 684 78 NCS N 305 76 293 74 NCS O 389 64 415 68 CS A 305 75 353 86 CS B 414 64 514 79 CS C 491 57 749 81 CS D 473 81 565 92 CS E 687 75 793 87 CS F 323 75 434 9 7 CS G 431 72 519 86 CS H 757 81 789 93 CS I 624 80 725 91 CS J 327 74 413 87 CS K 491 71 548 78 CS L 839 65 1123 87 CS M 254 73 337 89 CS N 385 75 473 91 CS O 759 64 1148 95 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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62 Table 4 3. Number and percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics 2007 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards Students meeting & exceeding standards School n % n % NCS A 471 63 479 64 NCS B 624 56 598 52 NCS C 253 54 259 56 NCS D 754 83 788 85 NCS E 786 74 810 75 NCS F 550 71 606 71 NCS G 262 56 277 58 NCS H 993 72 985 71 NCS I 382 74 367 71 NCS J 383 67 396 68 NCS K 588 62 590 62 NCS L 518 63 537 64 NCS M 593 74 640 73 NCS N 285 71 281 71 NCS O 274 45 281 46 CS A 207 51 296 72 CS B 421 65 527 81 CS C 362 42 564 61 CS D 432 74 559 91 CS E 513 56 620 68 CS F 228 53 407 91 CS G 341 57 470 78 CS H 636 68 687 81 CS I 538 69 654 82 CS J 283 64 390 82 CS K 387 56 541 77 CS L 736 57 1020 79 CS M 264 76 322 85 CS N 344 6 7 432 83 CS O 676 57 1099 91 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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63 Table 4 4. Number and percent of black and whit e students meeting or excee ding standards in language arts 2007 Students meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards Black White Black White School n % n % n % n % NCS A 386 69 164 91 444 74 121 93 NCS B 410 80 304 50 426 75 287 49 NCS C 115 49 157 67 130 50 152 74 NCS D 204 61 541 94 295 65 456 97 NCS E 435 69 261 86 545 74 186 91 NCS F 565 74 8 78 615 72 0 0 NCS G 215 71 126 76 230 73 133 81 NCS H 428 75 587 82 458 76 536 81 NCS I 324 79 94 89 354 78 54 89 NCS J 234 72 183 75 234 68 203 84 NCS K 535 67 71 86 620 72 6 62 NCS L 531 67 20 68 550 69 29 69 NCS M 402 69 200 89 402 68 282 98 NCS N 245 75 60 82 255 73 38 78 NCS O 138 59 251 67 150 59 265 75 CS A 267 75 38 75 317 86 36 83 CS B 405 64 0 0 497 80 8 94 CS C 140 60 306 62 206 87 498 91 CS D 351 80 122 83 410 92 155 93 CS E 6 72 75 15 75 775 87 18 84 CS F 316 75 0 0 415 97 10 96 CS G 165 70 266 73 207 84 312 88 CS H 748 81 0 0 756 94 24 91 CS I 400 77 224 86 479 91 246 91 CS J 270 74 57 74 322 87 91 89 CS K 431 70 60 76 477 78 71 81 CS L 334 59 473 69 477 83 614 92 CS M 76 63 178 78 109 83 228 92 CS N 385 75 0 0 457 88 0 0 CS O 274 58 477 68 461 94 679 96 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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64 Table 4 5. Number and percent of black and white students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics 2007 Students meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards Black White Black White School n % n % n % n % NCS A 342 61 127 71 380 63 92 71 NCS B 274 54 350 58 284 50 314 54 NCS C 102 43 151 65 115 45 144 70 NCS D 265 79 489 85 370 81 418 89 NCS E 435 69 265 87 537 73 178 87 NCS F 337 44 6 60 389 46 0 0 NCS G 164 54 98 59 175 56 102 62 NCS H 402 71 539 75 425 70 485 73 NCS I 314 76 68 65 332 73 35 57 NCS J 194 59 189 77 203 59 193 80 NCS K 533 62 29 36 549 64 10 100 NCS L 498 63 20 68 508 64 29 69 NCS M 402 69 191 86 402 68 238 83 NCS N 225 69 60 82 241 69 40 82 NCS O 99 42 175 47 114 45 167 47 CS A 197 55 10 20 267 73 29 66 CS B 412 65 2 0 512 82 8 94 CS C 98 42 226 46 147 62 379 69 CS D 356 81 76 52 411 92 148 89 CS E 500 56 13 65 601 68 19 87 CS F 225 53 0 0 394 92 10 98 CS G 124 53 217 60 186 75 284 80 CS H 631 69 0 0 661 83 21 80 CS I 345 66 193 75 435 83 219 81 CS J 230 63 53 69 302 81 88 85 CS K 321 52 66 85 465 76 76 87 CS L 313 55 402 58 453 78 546 81 CS M 89 74 175 77 107 81 215 87 CS N 344 67 0 0 432 83 0 0 CS O 239 50 431 62 439 90 654 93 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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65 Table 4 6. Number and percent of economically disadvan taged (ED) and not economically disadvantaged (Non ED) students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts 2007 Students meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards ED Non ED ED Non ED School n % n % n % n % NCS A 536 73 18 95 551 76 18 90 NCS B 393 51 321 92 381 50 332 86 NCS C 198 51 74 90 221 57 61 80 NCS D 570 78 175 96 576 79 175 87 NCS E 629 74 178 86 652 76 190 84 NCS F 573 74 0 0 632 82 0 0 NCS G 284 70 57 89 306 76 57 77 NCS H 613 73 476 89 592 70 476 87 NCS I 331 79 87 92 321 76 87 91 NCS J 386 72 31 94 406 75 31 70 NCS K 614 68 41 87 634 70 41 84 NCS L 372 58 179 99 400 62 179 91 NCS M 466 72 136 88 493 76 191 83 NCS N 288 75 17 89 281 74 12 86 NCS O 308 59 81 98 334 64 81 94 CS A 237 72 68 86 275 84 78 93 CS B 414 64 0 0 511 79 3 100 CS C 293 45 198 93 482 74 267 97 CS D 403 79 70 99 465 91 100 99 CS E 609 74 78 88 712 86 81 95 CS F 323 75 0 0 418 97 16 94 CS G 226 61 205 89 292 79 227 96 CS H 716 80 41 95 745 93 44 96 CS I 499 77 125 95 581 90 144 97 CS J 251 71 76 88 302 85 111 93 CS K 491 71 0 0 537 78 11 92 CS L 463 53 376 91 720 82 403 97 CS M 156 66 98 87 206 88 131 91 CS N 385 75 0 0 467 91 6 86 CS O 272 40 487 95 645 95 5 03 94 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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66 Table 4 7. Number and percent of economically disadvantaged (ED) and not economically disadvantaged (Non ED) students meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics 2007 Stu dents meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards ED Non ED ED Non ED School n % n % n % n % NCS A 456 63 15 79 464 64 15 75 NCS B 379 50 245 70 352 46 246 64 NCS C 186 48 67 82 196 51 63 83 NCS D 578 80 176 97 612 84 176 88 NCS E 621 73 165 79 635 74 175 77 NCS F 550 71 0 0 606 78 0 0 NCS G 207 51 55 86 213 53 64 86 NCS H 532 63 461 86 524 62 461 85 NCS I 306 73 76 80 291 69 76 79 NCS J 355 66 28 85 362 67 34 77 NCS K 550 61 38 81 552 61 3 8 78 NCS L 360 56 158 88 367 57 170 87 NCS M 469 73 124 80 453 70 187 81 NCS N 270 71 15 79 271 71 10 71 NCS O 209 40 65 78 216 41 65 76 CS A 146 45 61 77 218 67 78 93 CS B 421 65 0 0 524 81 3 100 CS C 194 30 168 79 315 49 249 90 CS D 367 72 65 92 494 96 65 64 CS E 448 54 65 73 548 66 72 85 CS F 228 53 0 0 407 95 0 0 CS G 156 42 185 80 255 70 215 91 CS H 604 68 32 74 662 81 25 93 CS I 434 67 104 79 525 81 129 87 CS J 218 61 65 76 282 79 108 91 CS K 387 56 0 0 529 77 12 100 CS L 436 50 300 7 2 644 74 376 91 CS M 175 75 89 79 195 83 127 88 CS N 344 67 0 0 425 83 7 100 CS O 284 42 392 77 603 89 496 93 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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67 Table 4 8. Number and percent of students with disabilities (SWD) and students without dis abilities (Non SWD) meeting or exceeding standards in language arts 2007 Students meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards SWD Non SWD SWD Non SWD School n % n % n % n % NCS A 21 28 533 79 23 29 546 82 NCS B 6 55 708 64 5 36 708 62 NCS C 13 28 259 61 15 29 267 65 NCS D 32 35 713 87 32 33 719 87 NCS E 15 14 792 83 21 16 821 87 NCS F 14 18 559 80 15 19 617 80 NCS G 21 23 320 85 20 22 343 89 NCS H 56 21 1033 93 64 24 1004 89 NCS I 21 21 397 95 21 21 387 93 NCS J 28 25 389 85 28 25 409 87 NCS K 92 49 563 74 94 50 581 76 NCS L 56 34 495 75 56 34 523 77 NCS M 43 27 559 87 47 29 637 89 NCS N 32 40 273 85 32 40 261 83 NCS O 23 38 366 67 23 38 392 71 CS A 8 20 29 7 81 14 35 339 91 CS B 47 49 367 67 67 70 447 81 CS C 46 53 445 57 71 83 678 81 CS D 20 26 453 90 52 67 513 96 CS E 76 42 611 83 108 60 685 94 CS F 32 37 291 84 75 87 359 99 CS G 67 57 364 76 85 72 434 89 CS H 54 33 703 91 139 84 650 95 CS I 67 48 557 87 121 86 604 92 CS J 43 57 284 78 61 80 352 88 CS K 56 45 435 77 99 80 449 78 CS L 108 53 731 67 156 77 967 89 CS M 43 67 211 74 57 89 280 89 CS N 57 56 328 80 69 68 404 97 CS O 76 32 683 72 201 84 947 98 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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68 Table 4 9. Number and percent of students with disabilities (SWD) and students without disabilities (Non SWD) meeting or exceeding standards in mathematics 2007 Students meeting & exceeding standards 2010 Students meeting & exceeding standards SWD Non SWD SWD Non SWD School n % n % n % n % NCS A 14 19 457 68 17 22 465 69 NCS B 3 27 621 56 3 21 595 52 NCS C 7 15 246 58 11 21 251 61 NCS D 28 31 726 89 29 30 760 92 NCS E 8 7 778 82 7 5 802 85 NCS F 9 12 541 78 11 13 597 77 NCS G 13 14 249 66 16 17 264 68 NCS H 32 12 961 86 34 14 953 85 NCS I 14 14 368 88 17 15 353 85 NCS J 12 11 371 81 14 14 384 82 NCS K 56 30 532 70 53 30 534 70 NCS L 41 25 477 72 41 24 496 73 NCS M 23 14 570 89 27 17 617 86 NCS N 13 16 272 85 16 20 268 85 NCS O 14 23 260 47 12 18 267 48 CS A 2 5 205 56 31 72 265 71 CS B 21 22 400 73 56 61 471 85 CS C 27 31 335 43 41 45 523 62 CS D 13 17 419 83 62 75 497 93 CS E 64 36 449 61 91 57 529 72 CS F 27 31 201 58 62 74 345 96 CS G 46 39 295 61 57 51 413 85 CS H 34 21 602 78 75 44 579 85 CS I 45 32 493 77 93 57 561 85 CS J 33 43 250 68 51 66 339 85 CS K 42 34 345 61 67 54 474 82 CS L 65 32 671 62 138 64 882 81 CS M 22 34 242 85 41 61 281 89 CS N 34 33 310 75 76 67 356 85 CS O 35 15 641 68 172 73 927 96 (Georgia Department of Education, 2007 & 2010)

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69 Analysis of the Research Questions Data analysis in this section focuses on the research question s and hypotheses Each question examined a group or subgroup of students and the difference that was made in student achievement over a four year period. Group s examined included all, black and eco nomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities because these were the groups for which the schools in th e study had to make improvement in order to make progress to remove the needs improvement designation. Specific analysis for each group and subgroup is reflected for each research question and hypothesis as follows: A research question and directional hypo thesis were developed to determine the difference made between schools on improvement contracts and schools not on improvement contracts with all students The hypothesis was that schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state educati on agency will improve student achievement for all students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. Multiple comparisons of data were completed to determine if a significant difference in performance existed in language arts and mathematics for all students. These comparisons included a comparison of performance of all students in the Non Contract Schools group ( NCS ) in 2007 to performance of all students in the N on Contract Schools group in 2010 a comparison of performance of all students in the Contract Schools group ( CS ) in 2007 to the performance of all students in the Contract Schools group in 2010, a comparison of all students in the Non Contract Schools gro up in 2007 to the performance of all students in the Contract Schools group in 2007, and a

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70 comparison of all students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010 to the performance of all students in the Contract Schools group in 2010. Tables 4 10 and 4 11 o utline these comparisons in performance for language arts and mathematics for all students and whether or not a significant difference in the performance of groups existed. Table 4 10. Comparisons of performance of all students in language arts Comparison t value p value Significant or not significant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 1.653199 0.12053 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 9.654818 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 0.586739 0.566721 Not significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 10.026671 < 0.00001 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 9.856676 < 0.00001 Significant Table 4 11 Comparisons of performance of all students in mathematics Comparison t value p value Significant or not significant based on p < 0.0 5 CG 2007 to CG 2010 0.292174 0.774438 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 9.613406 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 2.197753 0.045291 Significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 4.748556 0.045291 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 9.972624 < 0.00001 Significant A research question and directional hypothesis w ere developed to determine the difference made between schools on improvement contracts and schools not on improvement contracts with black students. The hypothesis was that schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for the black subgroup at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additiona l support and intervention. Multiple comparisons of data were completed to determine if a significant difference in performance existed in language arts and mathematics for black students.

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71 These com parisons included the following : a comparison of performa nce of black s tudents in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to performance of black stude nts in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010, a comparison of performance of black students in the Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of black stud ents in the Contract Schools group in 201 0, a comparison of black students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of black students in the Contract Schools group in 2007 and a comparison of black students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010 to the performance of black students in the Contract Schools group in 2010 Tables 4 12 and 4 13 outline these comparisons in performance for language arts and mathematics for black students and whether or not a significant difference in the performance of groups existed. Table 4 12 Comparisons of performance of black students in language arts Comparison t value p value Significant or not significant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 0.801375 0.436305 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 8.832197 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 0.630432 0.538567 Not significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 7.208573 < 0.00001 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 6.698148 0.00005 Significant Table 4 13 Comparisons of perf ormance of black students in mathematics Comparison t value p value Significant or not significant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 1.279960 0.221363 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 8.374809 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 0.485238 0.63 5013 Not significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 5.222481 0.000129 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 8.323212 < 0.00001 Significant A research question and directional hypothesis was developed to determine the difference made b etween schools on improvement contracts and schools not on

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72 improvement contracts with economically disadvantaged students. The hypothesis was that schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student ac hievement for economically disadvantaged students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. Multiple comparisons of data were completed to determine if a significan t difference in performance existed in language arts and mathematics for economically disadvantaged students. These com parisons included the following : a comparison of performance of economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to performance of economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group in 201 0, a comparison of performance of economically disadvantaged students in the Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of economically disadvantaged students in the Contract Schools group in 2010 a comparison of economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of economically disadvantaged students i n the Contract Schools group in 2007, and a comparison of economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010 to the performance of economically disadvantaged students in the Contract Schools group in 2010 Tables 4 14 and 4 15 outline these comparisons in performance for language ar ts and mathematics for economically disadvantaged students and whether or not a significant difference in the performance of groups existed.

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73 Table 4 14 Comparisons of performance of economically disadvantaged students in language arts Comparison t valu e p value Significant or not significant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 2.806243 0.014007 Significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 6.360377 0.00018 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 0.854887 0.407006 Not significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 7.548734 < 0.00001 Sig nificant Difference in mean growth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 6.239019 0.00022 Significant Table 4 15 Comparisons of performance of economically disadvantaged students in mathematics Comparison t value p value Significant or not significant based o n p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 0.795052 0.439855 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 7.811685 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 2.455923 0.027726 Significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 4.291864 0.000745 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 t o 2010 of CG to EG 8.774114 < 0.00001 Significant A research question and directional hypothesis was developed to determine the difference made between schools on improvement contracts and schools not on improvement contracts with students with disabilit ies. The hypothesis was that schools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for students with disabilities at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. Multiple comparisons of data were completed to determine if a significant difference in performance existed in language arts and mathematics for students with disabilities These com parisons include d the following: a comparison of performance of students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to performance of

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74 students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010 a comparison of performance of students with disabi lities in the Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of students with disabilities in the Contract Schools group in 2010 a comparison of students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group in 2007 to the performance of students with di sabilities in the Contract Schools group in 2007 and a comparison of students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group in 2010 to the performance of students with disabilities in the Contract Schools group in 2010 Tables 4 16 and 4 17 outline these comparisons in performance for language arts and mathematics for students with disabilities and whether or not a significant difference in the performance of groups existed. Table 4 16 Comparisons of performance of students with disabilities in lan guage arts Comparison t value p value Significa nt or not significant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 0.545921 0.593713 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 8.338043 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 3.314109 0.005117 Significant CG 2010 to E G 2010 10.516683 < 0.00001 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 8.515760 < 0.00001 Significant Table 4 17 Comparisons of performance of students with disabilities in mathematics Comparison t value p value Significant or not signific ant based on p < 0.05 CG 2007 to CG 2010 0.859330 0.404633 Not significant EG 2007 to EG 2010 7.615720 < 0.00001 Significant CG 2007 to EG 2007 2.670034 0.018299 Significant CG 2010 to EG 2010 15.043216 < 0.00001 Significant Difference in mean g rowth from 2007 to 2010 of CG to EG 6.825293 < 0.00001 Significant

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75 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS Research has offered results regarding the factors that influence the improvement of schools. in improving l ow performing schools. Limited research exists to demonstrate the relationship of federal policy on state decision making regarding efforts of states to improve low performing schools. The purpose of this study was to examine the data and formalized inter ventions of 30 Georgia middle schools that were at varying levels of needs improvement over the 2007 through 2010 school years. Of these schools, 15 were in the Non Contract Schools group and were at needs improvement levels seven and eight. These schools received intensive interventions and support from the Georgia Department of Education. The remaining 15 schools had similar performance levels and demographics and were located in similar geographic settings (rural, suburban, and urban) as the 15 schools at needs improvement levels seven and eight. The comparison schools were classified at the corrective action or restructuring level and did not qualify to receive the formalized interventions and support from the Georgia Department of Education. In this study, performance data of all students, black students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities were examined since these groups were the groups in which the schools did not have enough students meeting or exceeding standards i n language arts and/or mathematics for the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

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76 Summary of Results The population of this study included 30 Georgia middle schools reflecting academic performance of 22,643 students in 2007 and 22,220 students in 2010 i n the areas of language arts and mathematics. The following research questions were addressed in this study : Question 1: Is there a difference between schools re ceiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for all students? Based on the academic performance of the Non Contract Schools and Contract Schools a t test was completed to determine if there was a significant difference between the groups in the percentage of all s tudents meeting and exceeding the standards on the Georgia Criterion Competency Tests in language arts and mathematics In the area of language arts all students in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in language arts the difference in the mean growth of all students meeting or exceeding standards in t he Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of all students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 200 7 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. In the area of mathematics, all students in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding

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77 standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in mathematics the difference in the mean growth of all students meeting or exceeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of all students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. The direct ional hypothesis relate d to this research ques tion was that s chools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will improve student achievement for all students at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly perform ing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. As a result of the performance of all students and an analysis of data regarding all students in language arts and mathematics, a significant difference exists; therefore the hypoth esis is accepted. Question 2: Is there a difference between schools receiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the black subgroup? Based on the academic performance o f the Non Contract Schools and Contract Schools a t test was completed to determine if there was a significant difference between the groups in the percentage of black students meeting and exceeding the standards on the Georgia Criterion Competency Tests in language arts and mathematics.

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78 In the area of language arts black students in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Con tract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in language arts the difference i n the mean growth of black students meeting or exc eeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of black students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. In the area of mathema tics, black students in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in th e percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in mathematics the diff erence in the mean growth of black students meeting or exceeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 a nd the mean growth of black students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. The directional hypothesis relate d to this research question was that s chools receiv ing intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for black students at a rate that is sign ificantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention.

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79 As a result of the performance of all students and an analysis of data regarding black students in language arts and mathematics, a significant difference exists; therefore the hypothesis is accepted. Question 3: Is there a difference between schools r e ceiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and school achievement for the economically disadvantaged subgroup? Based on the academic performance of the Non Contract Schools and Contract Schools a t test was completed to determine if there was a significant difference between the groups in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students meeting and exceeding the standards on the Georgia Criterion Competency Tests in language arts and mathem atics. In the area of language arts economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010. Also, the Contract Sc hools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. In language arts the difference in the mean growth of economically disadvantaged students meeting or exce eding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. In the area of mathematics, economically disadvantaged students in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of

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80 students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools grou p did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in mathematics the difference in the mean growth of economically disadvantaged students meeting or ex ceeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. T he directional hypothesis related to this research question w as that s chools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency will impro ve student achievement for economically disadvantaged students at a rate that is significant ly higher than similarly performing schools that do not rec eive the additional support and intervention. As a r esult of the performance of economically disadvantaged students and an analysis of data regarding economically disadvantaged students in languag e arts and mathematics, a significant difference exists; therefore the hypothesis is accepted. Question 4: Is there a difference between schools re ceiving intensive intervention and support from the State Education Agency and improvement in student and s chool achievement for the students with disabilities subgroup? Based on the academic performance of the Non Contract Schools and Contract Schools a t test was completed to determine if there was a significant difference between the groups in the percent age of students with disabilities meeting and

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81 exceeding the standards on the Georgia Criterion Competency Tests in language arts and mathematics. In the area of language arts students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a sig nificant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time. Additionally, in language arts the difference in the mean growth of students with disabilities meeting or exceeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of students with disabilities m eeting or exceeding standards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant. In the area of mathematics, students with disabilities in the Non Contract Schools group did not show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT from 2007 to 2010 while the Contract Schools group did show a significant difference in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT over the same period of time Additionally, in mathematics the difference in the mean growth of students with disabilities meeting or exceeding standards in the Non Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 and the mean growth of students with disabilities meeting or exceeding stand ards in the Contract Schools group from 2007 to 2010 of the Contract Schools group was significant.

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82 The directional hypothesis relate d to this research question was that s chools receiving intensive support and intervention from the state education agency w ill impro ve student achievement for students with disabilities at a rate that is significantly higher than similarly performing schools that do not receive the additional support and intervention. As a result of the performance of students with disabiliti es and an analysis of data regarding students with disabilities in language arts and mathematics, a significant difference exists; therefore the hypothesis is accepted. Discussion The purpose of this study was to examine the data and formalized interventi ons of 30 Georgia middle schools that were at varying levels of n eeds improvement over the 2007 2010 sc hool years to determine if the state education a interventions and support that were provided to 15 of the schools assisted the schools in making the achievement gains necessary to be removed from needs improvement status under the Georgia Single Statewide Accountability System. In this study, performance data of all students, black students, economically disadvantaged students, and stud ents with disabilities were examined and tested since these groups were the groups in which the schools did not have enough students meeting or exceeding standards in language arts and/or mathematics for the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Based o n the results of the analysis, the system of interventions and support for the schools in needs i mprovement levels seven and eight helped the schools make achievement gains that were significantly different from the achievement gains in similarly performin g schools that did not receive the intervention and support.

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83 level support to schools at the highest level of needs improvement status made a difference in the performance of students and the school as a whole. Ac hievement gains were realized by all subgroups of students. Limitations of the Research Because this study is specific to one state, many of the limitations to the study pro cesses, and accountability structure. Each state has a different accountability formula for determining school performance. Therefore, the conclusions of this study may be of interest to m iddle school leaders and policy makers nationwide; however, becau se each state has a different accountability system, the specific interventions and supports and their related of rigor, student response requirements, testing conditions, and a unique process for setting standards Therefore, the success or lack of success of the schools in this study could be the inverse m. In other words, a school in needs improvement status in another state may not meet the requirements of a needs improvement designation in Georgia. Likewise, a s chool not in needs improvement s tatus in another state may meet the requirements to be desig nated as a needs improvement school in Georgia. The study is an examination of the performance level of schools after being designated as needs improvement schools and does not take into account previous improvement strategies that could have contributed to incremental improvement in

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84 student performance that occurred but did not result in the school meeting an absolute measure of performance. The study was limited to the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in language arts and mathemati cs for the 2006 2007, 2007 2008, 2008 2009, 2009 2010 school years. The study compares performance of schools over a four year period and does not account for the transient nature of students. However, student performance included in this study is reflec tive of only stude nts who m et the definition of F ull Academic Year (FAY) in Georgia. Student performance results are only included for students who were enrolled in the school on both the fall and spring student enrollment counts for state reporting purpo ses Because the study uses criterion referenced test data instead of norm referenced test data, p opulations of students vary yearly at the schools reflected in this study. The study reflects schools from urban, suburban, and rural Georgia settings. Of th e schools, 14 are in urban settings, five are in suburban settings, and 11 are in rural settings. Implications The study utilized student performance data from the school level and provides interesting implications for parents, local educators, state educ ation agencies, and state and national policymakers. Implications for Parents As schools, school districts, and states continue to examine systems of schools and parental choice, parents needs complete information to make decisions that are in the best in terest of their children. Initially, parents may not want their child(ren)

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8 5 attending school based on state or federal designations; however, depending on the support and intervention being provided to the school and the leadership and instructional progra m of the school, a parent could choose to move his/her child to a lower performing school based on surface level data and public perception. Implications for Schools As research related to high performing schools and practices within a school are examined school and district leadership must continue to examine practice in the context of what research indicates works effectively in schools. Closing the gap between what educators know works based on the research and what educators actually do will resu lt i n higher levels of student performance on statewide assessments and daily student performance (DuFour, 2006) Additionally, school districts should put into place strategies to ensure that practices align with research to improve schools at an accelerated rate. Implications for State Education Agencies As state education agencies continue to be charged with allocating resources, both human and fiscal, to schools based on school performance, a close examination of the level and intensity of support should be examined. Additionally, services should be examined to determine if the intervention and support are focused on compliance or quality implementation of school improvement strategies. When determining the point at which to intervene in schools and dist ricts that are low performing, state education agencies must consider how long the agency is willing to allow a school to under perform before providing some type of support and intervention for the school. As a result of the success with needs improvemen t schools and implications of research,

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86 states should intervene and require the implementation of effective practices for improving schools at an earlier level. Implications for State and National Policymakers As legislation is drafted and introduced, exa mining effective practices and policy in the context of these effective practices can lead to better legislation and support to all schools. When designing laws regarding the improvement of schools, consideration must be given to the amount of time the st ate or federal government is going to allow a school or school district to perform at a low level before some type of intervention or support is provided to the school or school district. State and national policymakers should implement research based str ategies for improving schools at an accelerated rate to ensure that cohorts of students do not matriculate through low performing schools missing their opportunity at a quality education. Summary Schools throughout the nation are being improved each year through the continues for schools, examining and improving professional practice in the classroom will result in improvements in student achievement. As a result, schools and districts can avoid inclusion on state and federal lists for intervention and support. However, when schools do not make the necessary achievement gains to ensure a quality education for each child, district, state, and federal support can mak e a difference in student achievement. States and school districts must be charged with the determining the length of time a school will be allowed to perform at a low level before receiving some type of intervention and support. Additionally, the level and intensity of support must be determined.

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87 bold decisions must be made to improve low performing schools. States, districts, and schools should not be afforded the opportunity to fail for multiple y ears before receiving some type of research based intervention. Students have one opportunity to receive a quality education, and schools should not be given multiple years to improve while possibly failing entire groups of students.

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88 APPENDIX A THE AYP DECISION MAKING PROCESS FOR G EORGIA'S SCHOOLS (Georgia Department of Education, 2008)

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89 APPENDIX B INTERVENTIONS AND SU PPORTS FOR SCHOOLS I N IMPROVEMENT, CORRECTIVE ACTION, A ND RESTRUCTURING STA TUS (Georgia Department of Education, 2008).

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90 APPEN DIX C GEORGIA DEPARTMENT O F EDUCATION 2007 2008 IMPROVEMENT CON TRACT

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104 APPENDIX D GEORGIA DEPARTMENT O F EDUCATION 2009 2010 IMPROVEMENT CON TRACT

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112 APPENDIX E GEORGIA DEPARTMENT O F EDUCATION 2009 2010 NEGOTIATE D CONTRACT TERMS

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116 APPENDIX F MAP OF GEORGIA WITH SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT R EGIONS AND CONTRACT SCHOOLS IDENTIFIED (Georgia Department of Education, 2007)

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117 APPENDIX G UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A IRB CONSENT

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118 LIST OF REFERENCES Assessment Ref orm Group. (1999). Assessment for learning: Beyond the black box Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge. Aud, S., Hussar, W., Kena, G., Bianco, K., Frohlich, L., Kemp, J., & Tahan, K. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011 033). U.S. Depa rtment of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011033 Brewer, D.J. & Stacz, C. (1996). Enhanci ng opportunity to learn meas u res in NCES data Santa Monica, CA: Rand. Brown, C. G., Hess, F. M., Lautzenheiser, D. K., & Owen, I. (2011). State education agencies as agents of change Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, American Enterprise Institute, and The Broad Foundation. R etrieved from http://www.aei.org/papers/education/state education agencies as agents of change paper/ Burnstein, L. (Ed.). (1992). The IEA study of mathematics III: Student growth and classroom processes New York: Pergamon Press. Covington, M. (1992). Mak ing the grade: A self worth perspective on motivation and school reform New York: Cambridge University Press. Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall. Crooks, T. (2001). The validity of formative assessments Leeds, England: British Educational Research Association. Cuban, L. (2003). Why is it so hard to get good schools New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Davies, A. (2 000). Making classroom assessment work Merville, British Columbia, Canada: Connections Publishing. Day, C. (2007). Sustaining the Turnaround: What Capacity Building Means in Practice. International Studies In Educational Administration (Commonwealth Coun cil For Educational Administration & Management (CCEAM)) 35 (3), 39 48. Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (1994). The leadership paradox: Balancing logic and artistry in schools. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. DuFour, R. (2006). Learning by doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work. Bloomington, Ind: Solution Tree.

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119 Duke, D. L. (2006). Keys to sustaining successful school turnarounds. ERS Spectrum, 24 (4), 21 35. Duke, D. L., & Landahl, M. (2011). 'Raising Tests Scores Was the Easy Part': A Case Study of the Third Year of School Turnaround. International Studies In Educational Administration (Commonwealth Council For Educational Administration & Management (CCEAM)) 39 (3), 91 114. Elmore, E. F. (2004). School reform from the inside out: Policy, practice, and performance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Elmore, E. F., Peterson, P. L., & McCarthey, S. J. (1996). Restructuring in the classroom: Teaching, learning, & school organization San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Publishers. Fire stone, W. A. & Wilson, B. L. (1985). Using bureaucratic and cultural linkages to improve instruction. Educational Adminis tration Quarterly, 21(2), 7 30. Fullan, M. (2006). Turnaround leadership San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Publishers. Georgia Department of Education, School Keys August 17, 203 Georgia Department of Education. (2007). Adequate Yearly Progress Database, 2007 [Data File]. Available from Georgia Department of Education Web site, http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum Instruction and Assessment/Accountability Georgia Department of Education. (2010). Adequate Yearly Progress Database, 2010 [Data File]. Available from Georgia Department of Education Web site, http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum Instruction and Assessment/Accountability GA. Code Ann. § 20 2 240, referred to as Supplemental Education Services and School Choice. (April 25, 2000). GA. Code Ann. §§ 20 14 26; 20 14 37; 20 14 41, referred to as The A Plus Education Reform Act of 2000. (April 25, 2000). Georgia Board of Education, Accountability System Awards and Consequences Rule. 160 7 1 04. August 4, 2005. Georg ia Board of Education, Accountability Profile Rule. 160 7 1 03. August 4, 2005. Georgia Board of Education, Accountability System Awards and Consequences Rule. 160 7 1 04. August 4, 2005. Georgia Board of Education, Supplemental Educational Services in T itle I Schools Rule. 160 4 5 .03 October 9, 2008. Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, School Improvement Field Guide, July, 2008.

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120 Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, Titl e I, Part A, 1003(a) RESA School Improvement Grants FY11 July 8, 2010. Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, Improvement Contract for State Directed Schools FY10 July 9, 2009. Georgia Department of Education, Offic e of Education Support and Improvement, Improvement Contract for State Directed Schools FY10 July 9, 2009. Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, Title I, Part A, 1003(a) RESA School Improvement Grants FY10 November 4, 2009. Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, Title I, Part A, 1003(a) RESA School Improvement Grants FY10 November 4, 2009. Georgia Department of Education, Office of Education Support and Improvement, Title I, P art A, Section 1003(a) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) School Improvement Grants FY10 November 4, 2009. Glesne, C. (2006). Becoming Qualitative researchers: An introduction. Boston, MA: Pearson. Hall, D., & Almy, S. (2012). Raising achieveme nt and closing gaps for Latino students: What do we know about what it will take? (PowerPoint). Washington, DC: Education Trust. Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/ presentation/raising achievement and closing gaps for latino students what do we know about what Hassel, B. C., & Steiner, L. (2003). Starting fresh: A new strategy for responding to chronically low performing schools Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact. Herman, J.L., Klein, D.C.D., & Abedi, J. (2000 ). learn : Teacher and student perspectives. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 19(4), 16 24. Hopfenberg, W. S. (1995). The accelerated school resource guide. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Husen, T. (Ed.). (1967a). International study of achievement in mathematics (Vol. 1) New York: John Wiley and Sons. Husen, T. (Ed.). (1967b). International study of achievement in mathematics (Vol. 2) New York: John Wiley and Sons. Kowal, J., & Hassel, E. A. (2011). Importing leaders for school turnarounds: Lessons a nd opportunities Partnership for Leaders in Education. Retrieved from http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/uploadedFiles/Darden/Darden_Curry_PLE/U VA_School_Turnaround/

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121 Louis, K. S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K. L., & Anderson, S. E. (2010, July). Investigating the links to improve d student learning: Final report of research findings. University of Minnesota: Wallace Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge center/school leadership/key research/Documents/Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learni ng.pdf Marzano, R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Use of Research Knowledge for School Improvement. Peabody Journal Of Education (0161956X) 87 (5), 609 626. Meyers, C. V., & Murphy, J (2007). Turning Around Failing Schools: An Analysis. Journal Of School Leadership 17 (5), 631 659. Murphy, C. U. and Lick, D. W. (2005, Third Edition). Whole faculty study groups: Professional learning communities that target student learning. Thousand Oaks CA : Corwin Press. Murphy, J., & Meyers, C. V. (2008). Turning around failing schools: Leadership lesso ns from the organizational sci ences. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin Press. Peck, C. and Reitzug, U. (2012). How existing business management concepts become school leadership fashions. Education Administration Quarterly 48(2), 347 381. Ravitch, D. (1995). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Peterson, K. D. & Deal, T. E. (1998). H ow leaders influence the culture of schools. Educational Leadership, 56(1), 28 30. Psencik, K. (2011). Oxford, OH: Learning Forward. Rhim L. M. ( 2013). State initiated turnaround strategies: Leveraging the state education agency to drive meaningful change San Francisco, CA: The Center on School Turnaround. Retrieved from http://centeronschoolturnaround.org/wp content/uploads/2013/11/State I nitiated School Turnaround 9.pd f. Rhim, L. M., & Reddi ng, S. (2011). Fulcrum of change: Leveraging 50 States to turn around 5,000 schools Lincoln, IL: Center on Innovation & Improvement/Academic Development Institute. Retrieved from http://www.adi.org/ about/publications.html

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122 Rhim, L. M., Kowal, J. M., Hasse l, B. C., & Ayscue, E. (2007). School turnarounds: A review of the cross sector evidence on dramatic organizational improvement. Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact for the Center on Innovation & Improvement. Retrieved from http://www.centerii.org/survey/downlo ads/Turnarounds Color.pdf Robitaille, D. (Ed.). (1993). Curriculum frameworks for mathematics and science Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Educational Press. Salmonowicz, M. (2009). Meeting the Challenge of School Turnaround: Lessons from the Intersection of R esearch and Practice. Phi Delta Kappan 91 (3), 19 24. Sanders, W. L., & Horn, S. P. (1994). The Tennessee value added assessment system (TVAAS): Mixed model methodology in educational assessment. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education 8 299 311. S chmoker, M. (2011). Turnaround: A Tale of Two Schools. Phi Delta Kappan 93 (2), 70 71. Shepard, L. A. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher 29(7), 4 14. Steiner, L., & Hassel, E. A. (2011). Using competencies to im prove school turnaround principal success. Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact. Retrieved from http://www. darden.virginia.edu/web/uploadedFiles/Darden/Darden_Curry_PLE/U VA_School_Turnaround/ Steiner, L. M., Hassel, E. A., & Hassel, B. (2008, June). School turnaround leaders: Competencies for success (part of the sc hool turnaround collection from Public Impact). Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact. Retrieved from http://www.publicimpact.com/publications/Turnaround_Leader_Competencies.pdf Stiggins, R. J. (1999). Assessment, student confidence, and school success. Phi Delt a Kappan, 81(3). 191 198. Stiggins, R. J. (2001). Student involved classroom assessment (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. The No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. 6301 § 1003(a) & (g) (2002). The No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C 6301 §§ 1111(b)(2); 1112; 1116; 1117; 1118 (2002). The No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. 6301 §§ 1111(b)(2) (2002). The No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. 6301 § 1117(a) (2002).

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123 U.S. Department of Education. (2009). Nations report card Washington, D C: Author, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/ U.S. Department of Education. Office of Elementary and Secondar y Education. 2010. A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/legblueprint/index.htm U.S. Department of Education. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. 2011, Education Reform http://www.ed.gov/p 12 reform U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Policy and P rogram Studies Service. (2010). Evaluation of the Comprehensive School Reform Program implementation and outcomes: Fifth year report Washington, DC: Author. Wright, S. P., Horn, S. P., & Sanders, W. L. (1997). Teacher and classroom contest effects on stud ent achievement. Implications for teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 11, 57 67. Yatsko, S., & Bowen, M. (2011). Beating the odds: How state education agencies can better support school turnaround (PIE Network Summit Policy B rief). Retrieved from http://www.crpe.org/publications/ beating odds how state education agencies can better support school turnarounds Yatsko, S., Lake, R., Nelson, E. C., & Bowen, M. (2012). Tinkering toward transformation: A look at federal school impro vement grant implementation. Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Public Education. Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. L., Scarloss, B., Shapley, K. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement Issues and Answers Report No. 33, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/southwest/pdf/REL_2007033.pdf.

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124 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Joseph (Joe) Ray Parlier has serve d public education in a variety of capacities since beginning his career. Upon graduation from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle Grades Education with an emphasis on teaching mathematics and science in 1995, Joe served as an ele mentary and middle school teacher. Joe has allowed his classroom teaching experience guide him as an educational leader at the local, state, and national level. While teaching, Joe attended the Univers ity of Georgia to earn a Master of Education degree wi th an emphasis on literacy and science During this time, Joe had the opportunity to study literacy instruction under several national leaders in literacy instruction. Fol lowing completion of his M.Ed. Joe added on certification in Educational Leadershi p and began coursework for a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Georgia before transferring to the University of Florida He received his Ed.D. from the University of Florida in 2014. After teaching, Joe served in a variety of leadership rol es including middle school assistant principal, elementary principal, high school principal, director of elementary education, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, and associate state superintendent for school improvement. urban educational settings. Joe has served a variety of professional organizations as a district representative, presenter, and board member. Joe has been invited to present at the state and national level on topics such as effective leadership at the school and dis trict level, turning around low performing schools, and strategies for effective instruction.

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125 Joe continues to serve in the private sector working with schools and aspires to teach and mentor under graduate and graduate students at a research university one day.