School & District Management

Struggling Schools Get Lessons in Benchmarking

By Lynn Olson — May 03, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Michigan educators recently got a lesson in how to benchmark their work against promising practices in higher-performing schools with similar socioeconomic profiles. Michael Stewart and Larry Fieber of Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services led the first of several two-day workshops, March 21-22. The second took place April 11-12.

Teams of teachers, educational supervisors, and principals from 13 elementary and middle schools struggling to make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act attended the March institute. Using S&P’s customized data analysis, they completed a self-assessment and identified schools that have higher performance on state tests, despite serving similar student populations.

See Also

Participating schools are partnering with one or more higher-performing sites this spring to identify promising practices—in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and other areas—that are worth adapting or replicating. By the end of June, school improvement teams will attend a follow-up workshop to document their study’s findings and submit their plans to carry out the practices that have emerged.

“There’s lots of research on effective practices,” said Mr. Stewart, the director of performance-evaluation services for the New York City-based S&P, a division of the McGraw Hill Cos. known for its work on stocks and bonds. The objective, he said, is getting schools to be “active versus passive consumers of good information.”

Bypassing Opportunities

Jeremy M. Hughes, the interim state superintendent of public instruction in Michigan, said that while schools have had access to data about comparable schools for four years now through a contract with S&P, “what we learned was that there weren’t a lot of schools taking advantage of that.”

“This becomes the bridge that helps the people connect and gives them the skills to make a good connection, a meaningful one,” he said.

Mr. Stewart described the Michigan institutes, underwritten by a $228,000 grant from the state, as complementing the work of the Austin, Texas-based National Center on Educational Accountability.

The workshops are being offered in partnership with the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, the Michigan Department of Education’s office of school improvement, and the Michigan Association of School Administrators.

“This was a pilot to see how it works,” Mr. Hughes said.

“We are prepared to discuss funding more of [the institutes], depending on what we hear.”

Related Tags:

Events

Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum What Will It Take for Schools to Get Better?
Find out what educators and leaders can do to incite lasting and productive change that will make a difference in the lives of students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Citing Safety and Challenges Serving Marginalized Students, Principals Eye the Exit Door
Nearly 40 percent of principals say they plan to quit soon—a finding that probably reflects stressful work conditions.
4 min read
Woman standing in front of exit door.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Are Secondary School Principals and Their Students on the Same Page?
A new poll of secondary school principals and their students show some key differences in how they see school.
2 min read
Unhappy woman with head in her hands and shown with paint splatter effect
E+/Getty
School & District Management Medicaid Changes Could Provide a Big Boost to School Mental Health Services
A new law could make it easier for schools to bill Medicaid for services like counseling and health screenings.
6 min read
A boy sits on a small wooden chair, leaning over a small wooden table to color as he talks to a woman who sits across from him on a low grey sofa.
mmpile/E+
School & District Management Opinion Start the School Year With Purpose. Here Are 5 Priorities
Despite the challenges educators face, they know how to improve schools for students and teachers, writes an education professor.
Tyrone C. Howard
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of public school opening for a new school year
sangaku/iStock/Getty