How Does Our School Stack Up?

The staff and I know that we need to make some changes in our instructional programs, but we’re not sure where to begin. Is there a resource we could use to find schools like ours that are successfully raising student achievement?

The SchoolMatters Web site, launched in late March and free to school districts until early 2007, may be helpful. Developed by Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the site is not without its critics. Site visitors may use several online tools to compare schools and districts in terms of academic performance, demographics, and expenditures. It’s this last category that seems to be of greatest concern. Some educators fear that measuring student progress against dollars spent may not paint an accurate picture of what’s happening at a school or within a district.

However, the ability to find schools and districts with similar demographics and higher achievement rates is appealing to educators who would like to learn more about best practices in situations that mirror their own. Once you’ve identified these schools and districts, it’s possible to make contact to find out about successful programs.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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