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Published in Print: January 20, 1999, as Other Rosters of Whole-School Programs

Other Rosters of Whole-School Programs

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The list of school reform models in the Obey-Porter law is not the only place to find a roster of purportedly "tried and true" improvement programs. Here are some newer, more comprehensive compilations that are inspired at least in part by the federal program:

The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, a federal research facility in Portland, Ore., has put together a catalog with descriptions, costs, and research references for more than 40 reform programs. The list originally comprised only the 17 programs listed in Obey-Porter and a few others focused more narrowly on improving instruction or skills in particular areas. As researchers at the lab added more programs, however, they tightened the criteria that programs must meet to get a spot on their list. To be included now, programs must demonstrate they can produce at least some data showing improved achievement in participating schools, according to Mark Buechler, the research specialist working on the project.

The lab's listings are available on the World Wide Web at www.nwrel.org/scpd/natspec/catalog.

Another Web-based database on comprehensive reform models is the "Promising Practices in Education Policy" database being put together by the Education Commission of the States in Denver. Like those on the federal laboratory's list, programs on the ECS 's roster must show evidence of their effectiveness. This site, though, does not automatically list the 17 suggestions from Obey-Porter. The database now includes comprehensive information on eight whole-school designs, and more are on the way. It is at www.ecs.org (enter the clearinghouse after reaching the site).

Robert E. Slavin, Success for All's creator, and Olatokunbo S. Fashola, his colleague at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, also review research evidence on effective programs in their book, Show Me the Evidence: Proven and Promising Programs for America's Schools, published last year by Corwin Press of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The most critical look at the research evidence backing up popular schoolwide reform models is expected to come in a report scheduled for release later this month or in early February. Five national education organizations--the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals--commissioned the American Institutes of Research, a Washington research group, to analyze data on the effectiveness of 25 widely known whole-school improvement models. Information on obtaining that report is not yet available.

--Debra Viadero

Vol. 18, Issue 19, Page 12

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