In Illinois, research teams investigated nine consistently higher performing schools and one average performing middle school to determine the differences in practices between higher and average performing middle schools. To build on a previous study of 14 Illinois elementary schools, an additional three higher performing elementary schools were also investigated this year. Schools were identified through an in-depth analysis of academic achievement developed by the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA) using data publicly available from the state.
Conducted by the College of Education at Illinois State University, the 2004-2005 Illinois Elementary and Middle School Best Practice Study was sponsored by the Just for the Kids-Illinois affiliate (JFTK-IL) and received funding from State Farm and The Broad Foundation. JFTK-IL is a collaboration of the Illinois Business Roundtable, the College of Education at Illinois State University, and the National Center for Educational Accountability.
Researchers used site-based interviews and observations, as well as the analysis of supportive documentation, to investigate the practices of each of the 13 schools in the study. District-, school-, and classroom-level practices were studied in the five themes of NCEA’s Best Practice Framework: Curriculum and Academic Goals; Staff Selection, Leadership, and Capacity Building; Instructional Programs, Practices, and Arrangements; Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, and Use of Data; and Recognition, Intervention, and Adjustment.
Download the following documents to learn more about the research: