Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better?
EdSource Summary ReportSome people say that you can predict the performance of a California school based on its zip code. It is true that parent education and socioeconomic level—and a student’s proficiency in English—are important to students’ academic success. But school and district practices and policies contribute as well.
Among schools that serve roughly the same kinds of students in California, a large and consistent gap in academic performance exists. This gap can be as much as 250 points on the 200-to-1000 scale of the Academic Performance Index (API), the state’s primary accountability measure. That observation prompted a two-year collaborative research project overseen by EdSource.
The research study looked at factors that might explain that gap in API scores, focusing on a subset of California elementary schools serving largely low-income students. The goal was to determine which current K–5 practices and policies are most strongly associated with the higher levels of student performance some schools achieve. The original report was followed by a look at specific findings related to schools' reading curriculum.
This 20-page EdSource lay report summarizes all the Similar Students, Different Results study's findings, up through the spring of 2006. This document is written with K-12 practitioners, community leaders, and state policymakers in mind
For more information on this study, and a comprehensive set of related materials, please see the full technical report.
EdSource thanks Reed Hastings for posing an important research question and then providing the ï¬nancial support that allowed the research team to conduct this independent study to ï¬nd some answers.