Selected papers and technical reports
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Charter Schools as a Vehicle for Education Reform
McDonald, A. J., Ross, S. M., Bol, L., & McSparrin-Gallagher, B. (2007). Charter schools as a vehicle for education reform: Implementation and outcomes at three inner-city sites. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 12(3), 271-300.
This study examined the impact of three 2nd-year charter schools on student achievement, school climate, and pedagogy. All schools served predominantly African American students in an inner-city district. Using a matched treatment-control student analytical design, charter school enrollees were individually matched to highly comparable control students of the same ethnicity, poverty level, gender, and ability. Qualitative and descriptive analyses showed reasonable to good progress in program implementation, very strong school climate, positive teacher and parent perceptions, largely traditional but academically-focused teaching, and positive student achievement on state-mandated tests.
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Does Technology Integration "Work" When Key Barriers are Removed?
Lowther, D. L., Inan, F. A., Daniel Strahl, J., & Ross, S. M. (2008). Does technology integration “work” when key barriers are removed? Educational Media International, 45(3), 195-213.
The effectiveness of Tennessee EdTech Launch (TnETL), a statewide technology program designed to meet the NCLB mandate, was investigated in this mixed-methods study. The goal of the program was to provide full-time, on-site technology coaches to prepare teachers to create lessons that engage students in critical thinking and use of computers as tools in order to increase learning. The study examined TnETL impact on student achievement, teachers' skills and attitudes toward technology integration; use of research-based practices; and students' skills in using technology as a tool. A matched treatment-control quasi-experimental mixed-methods research design was used for one cohort, while a randomized control trial was used for a second cohort. Although the TnETL program demonstrated progress in changing school culture to benefit students through the use of technology, student gains on high-stakes tests were mixed.
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Evaluation of Tennessee Charter Schools 2006-2007
These three technical reports present results examining the progress made in program implementation, school climate, and student achievement by charter schools following Tennessee's first Public Charter School legislation in 2002. Four schools began operating in the 2003-2004 academic year, the second cohort of three charter schools began operating during the 2005-2006 academic year, and the third cohort of five schools followed during the 2006-2007 academic year. Though the flexibility granted to these schools is considered an advantage, previous research on charter schools has demonstrated mixed results. CREP used a mixed-methods design to evaluate the progress of individual schools and the overall group in implementing desired strategies for curriculum, instruction, and organization, and in attaning the goals of No Child Left Behind by bringing every child to proficiency in reading and mathematics on the TCAP by 2014.
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Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Studies
Michigan's Freedom to Learn Laptop Program
Lowther, D. L., Inan, F. A., Strahl, J. D., & Ross, S. M. (2012). Do one-to-one initiatives bridge the way to 21st century knowledge and skills? Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(1), 1-30.