• Featured Projects-  continued from page 1

    Improving Standards and Data Use in the Great City Schools 

    In September 2008, The Council of the Great City Schools received a $3.7 million grant award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for the project Improving Standards and Data Use in the Great City Schools. The project entailed 36 months of intensive and focused research and dissemination designed to answer key questions about state standards and key levers of instructional change inside schools and classrooms. This work is organized around two distinct—but mutually supportive—strands.

    Strand 1, NAEP Frameworks and Trends, was designed to investigate urban school achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and examine alignment between NAEP frameworks and relevant state standards in urban districts participating in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). The study also examines factors shaping urban NAEP results, including family, school, and economic variables; and studied the instructional programs in a subset of participating districts to determine why some districts show faster gains than others.  This work is now completed and is posted on the Council’s website.

    Strand 2, Data Use for Instructional Improvement, focuses on interim assessments and data systems, and the effects of innovative uses of data on the academic progress of urban school students. This strand surveyed the field of urban school assessments and the research literature relating to benchmark tests to determine “best practices” in how data are used to inform instruction and target resources. This work focuses, in particular, on the nature and manner in which interim assessments are being used and strategies for using them to refine and improve instruction. The project also aims to produce rigorous quantitative evidence regarding the relationship between student outcomes and specific  school and classroom practices with respect to the use of data —a result well beyond that which currently exists in the field.  This work will be completed and posted on the Council’s website in January/February, 2012.

    Together, the two strands provide critical information to assist urban school districts in their efforts to raise standards and performance, close gaps, increase graduation rates, and improve student preparation for post-secondary education and employment. The Council worked on this project in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

    ACT: A Benchmark for College Readiness in Urban
    The Council is also collaborating with ACT   to analyze and report ACT trend data scoring trends on these two college entrance exams over the past five years. The report will investigate ACT scores by subject tested, race/ethnicity, and gender within race for CGCS districts and the nation overall.  This report will both examine college readiness in Council districts and highlight districts that have improved their scores over the five year period.  The report will be completed January/February 2012.
    NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA)
    The Council has been working in collaboration with the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) to ensure that the efforts of these two bodies – particularly as it pertains to administration and reporting of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results—are useful and relevant to Council districts. Twenty-one TUDA districts representing one-third of the Council’s membership participated in the 2011 administration of NAEP mathematics and reading tests.  TUDA results are posted on NCES’ website and are included in many of the Council’s publications.
                                 TUDA Districts:
    AlbuquerqueAtlantaAustinBaltimore City
    DallasDetroitDistrict of ColumbiaFresno
    HIllsborough CountyHoustonJefferson CountyLos Angeles
    Miami-Dade CountyMilwaukeeNew York CityPhiladelphia
    San Diego
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