Why some middle schools do better

An intense schoolwide focus on improving student academic outcomes characterizes higher-performing middle schools in California, concludes Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades: Why Some Schools Do Better, a Stanford and EdSource report.

At higher-performing schools, academic preparation was a “shared mission.” Schools typically set measurable goals, expected students and parents to share responsibility for learning, stressed early identification of and intervention for struggling students, and used data to monitor student progress and improve teaching.

Researchers interviewed principals, English and math teachers and superintendents in California.

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  1. Something that’s really been eating away at me this year is the idea that parents and students need to help shoulder the responsibility of learning. I teach in an area where that oftentimes does not happen. Students expect to be handed an education and parents don’t move to tell them otherwise. Anyone think we’re moving toward parents accountability standards with the massive move toward federal education programs/control of the ed system? I don’t necessarily support the idea, but am curious about it.

  2. Homeschooling Granny says:

    I agree that parental involvement is a key factor in the differences in outcomes for children. There are some basic things parents can do to pretty much ensure their children will do well in school. They can see that kids get to bed on time, up on time, off to school on time. They can look over materials brought home from school, and provide a place and time for homework. These things do not require parents have either a great education themselves or much money, just an attitude and commitment.

    I think when we focus on teachers, standards and curriculum, we address only one blade of what should be a pair of scissors. The other blade is the home and adults in children’s lives. But it is much easier to do public policy on the public side than on the private side.