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Citation:Westat and Policy Studies Associates (2001). The longitudinal evaluation of school change and performance in Title I schools, volume I: Executive summary. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education, Office of the Deputy Secretary, Planning and Evaluation Service.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of classroom practices on student achievement, as a result of school, district, and state-level school reform policies in Title I schools. Researchers found that teacher outreach to parents of low-performing students was a key factor in improving student reading and math achievement, despite the fact that many of the other practices and policies related to standards-based reform did not show a positive impact on achievement. Both reading and math achievement were also improved when teachers received high quality professional development. The study was conducted over a three-year period in 71 Title 1 schools nationwide. Both quantitative and qualitative multi-year measures were used. Data sources included standardized reading and math achievement test scores, surveys, interviews, classroom observations, focus groups of school staff and parents, and documents regarding school districtsÕ policies related to standards-based reform. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the relationships between the many variables. This study may provide useful information to educators working to implement components of school reform strategies at the district, school, and classroom level, in low-income schools. It particularly highlights the importance of parent involvement in school reform efforts. Also, the research design and methodology in this study is particularly strong.

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