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

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

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 Opinion Why Principals Need to Talk About the Israel-Hamas War With Our Teachers
What can we do when a difficult topic is brought up by students in classrooms? First, don’t leave teachers to handle it in isolation.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
5 min read
Stylized photo illustration of a teacher feeling pressured as she is questioned by her students.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management Sometimes Principals Need to Make Big Changes. Here’s How to Get Them to Stick
School leaders need their community to take a leap of faith with them. But how do they build trust and conviction?
8 min read
Image of a leader reflecting on past and future.
akindo/DigitalVision Vectors
School & District Management A New Study Details Gender and Racial Disparities in the Superintendent's Office
Women and people of color are less likely than their white male counterparts to be appointed superintendent directly from a principal post.
6 min read
A conceptual image of a female being paid less than a male.
hyejin kang/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Late Arrivals, Steep Costs: Why Some Districts Ditch Third-Party Bus Companies
Districts are facing a host of transportation challenges. Some have addressed them by deciding to bring buses back in house.
6 min read
School buses parked in Helena, Mont., ahead of the beginning of the school year on Aug. 20, 2021.
Some districts are pulling back on decisions to outsource bus services in an effort to save money and improve service.
Iris Samuels/AP