Hoping to spur dramatic school turnaround, the federal government channeled resources to the country’s lowest-performing schools through School Improvement Grants (SIG). However, prior research on SIG effectiveness is limited and focuses primarily on student achievement. This study uses a difference-in-differences strategy to estimate program impacts on multiple dimensions across the 3-year duration of the SIG award in one urban school district. Following 2 years of modest improvement, we find pronounced, positive effects of SIG interventions on student achievement in Year 3, consistent with prior literature indicating that improvements from comprehensive school turnarounds emerge gradually. We also identify improvements indicating the process through which change occurred, including reduced unexcused absences, increased family preference for SIG schools, improved retention of effective teachers, and greater development of teacher professional capacity.
Year of publication
American Educational Research Journal