A new study out of Vanderbilt calls into question the effectiveness of the Achievement School District.
Specifically, the study notes:
While there were some changes year-to-year — up and down — there was no statistical improvement on the whole, certainly not enough to catapult these low-performing schools into some of the state’s best, which was the lofty goal.
Those results echo the findings reported by Gary Rubinstein in his analysis of the schools under ASD management the longest.
As you can see, four of the original six schools are still in the bottom 5% while the other two have now ‘catapulted’ to the bottom 6%.
In 2014, Ezra Howard did an analysis of the ASD after two years of management and found that the results were not significantly better than what would have been expected had the schools remained under district management.
Based on his reading of the results, he noted:
First, can the ASD reach 55% P/A in order to be in the top quartile? Maybe. In order to reach that magic number of 55% P/A in all three of these subjects, the ASD would have to average 11.07% gains in Math and 12.67% gains in ELA over a 5 year period. However, in the last two years, the ASD has averaged 2.92% gains in Math and 0.72% gains in ELA.
Second, is the money being spent on ASD a worthwhile investment. Howard notes:
an exorbitant amount is spent on results that are, at best, no different than what the data suggests we could have expected had these schools not been taken over by the ASD.
Now, we have three years of data and analysis by both Gary Rubinstein and Vanderbilt researchers. All of which suggest that Howard’s preliminary analysis was on-target. The ASD is moving slowly at best, and not markedly better than district schools.
In spite of this, ASD officials noted in response to the Vanderbilt study:
For its part, leaders of the Achievement School District say there’s not enough data “to draw any decisive conclusions” and that their work is making a “positive difference.”
That sounds awfully cautious for an outfit that touted its success in a blog post and media release earlier this year.
As the ASD continues, the question is: Will the Tennessee General Assembly allow this model to continue, or will it set some limits in order to push the district to demonstrate more success before further expanding its reach?
More on the ASD:
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport