Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better? Additional Findings: Elementary School Curriculum Program and API: A More Detailed

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I reviewed an article conducted for Edsource as part of a larger study on why similar students have different results. The article focused on which school curriculum programs are associated with higher levels of student achievement. Specifically, the research sought to determine if application and high usage of a particular curriculum program correlated with high achievement levels based on California’s Academic Performance Index (API). The research was conducted using surveys among principals and classroom teachers in California. The problem in this study is that similar students are achieving varied results. Edsource and its partners, pose the question, “Why do some schools do better?” The research studied the effects of core curriculum and student achievement. The purpose of this study is to identify which specific school practices are most strongly associated with higher levels of student success, as measured by API. In California, API scores and rankings are based on the standardized tests given at the end of the year. These tests measure how well each student is mastering the academic content standards mainly in language arts and math. The study tried to establish a relationship between API and school’s choice and intensity of use of any definite curriculum. This research project surveyed 80% of the K-5 classroom teachers (over 5,000) and every principal at 257 elementary schools in California who are serving large percentages of low income, minority and English Learner students. In particular, 98% of the school in the sample qualified for Title I funding. The study used surveys containing over 300 items each, covering effective schooling practices. The domains contained specific questions using California’s cu... ... middle of paper ... ... in their language arts programs that would have affected their school scores. However, due to the fact that the researchers are not curriculum specialists, they did not study the ways various component and attributes differ from one program to the next, or how a more coherent school program affects a more positive school API. Overall, I feel this research article is solid in its foundation and contributes to existing literature questioning the correlation between a sound schoolwide curriculum program and higher school scores, moreover why similar students have different results. Works Cited Levin, Jesse; Haertel, Edward; Kirst, Michael; Williams, Trish (2006). Similar students, different results: Why do some schools do better? additional findings: Elementary school curriculum program and API: A more detailed examination. Edsource, Retrieved from www.eric.ed.gov

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