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Research and Resources

Mission Possible: Achieving and Maintaining Academic Improvement

Penny Billman, Ph.D, "Mission Possible: Achieving and Maintaining Academic Improvement", NIU Outreach, Northern Illinois University, 2004.

Dr. Penny Billman surveyed principals at schools that won Academic Improvement and Spotlight Schools awards in 2003-2004 to determine key factors in their exemplary academic accomplishments. Six critical strategies emerged from the interviews.

The Achievement Gap in Illinois

The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University produces and disseminates research to a wide variety of audience on raising achievement and closing the gaps.

Education Trust publishes extensive information on achievement gaps at the national level and on a state by state basis, including studies of causes such as out-of-field teaching and faculty credentials at high-risk schools.

The Illinois Interactive Report Card contains tables showing disaggregated scores for all groups required by NCLB (plus gender) in all Illinois schools. Additional tables displaying achievement gaps in all subject areas at all grades tested may be found under Test Results>Achievement Gap.

Center on Education Policy is a national forum on public education. Current area of research is standards-based reform.

The National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices offers policy papers on closing the achievement gap and raising achievement.

High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools

The U.S. Department of Education delivers No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School Awards to schools nationwide that are closing the achievement gap. These awards are based on recommendations by chief state school officers who used application materials supplied by schools.

Education Trust has identified high-poverty, high-performing schools across the country, using a variety of databases. Ed Trust's criteria included schools with restrictive admissions policies such as gifted and magnet schools. Interesting and useful data. See the 2010 series on "Accountabilty and Support for Struggling Schools."