The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2007 Publication Archive

Urban Educators’ Perspectives on the Critical Factors Influencing Student Achievement

At a forum held April 9, 2007 in Milford, the Massachusetts Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (MA EQA) and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute presented findings and facilitated discussion of a two-year study of factors influencing achievement in the Commonwealth’s urban public schools.

The study, titled Gaining Traction: Urban Educators’ Perspectives on the Critical Factors Influencing Student Achievement in Comparatively High and Low Performing Urban Public Schools, involved extensive analysis of MCAS student achievement data and interviews with over 600 educators from 30 public schools in 10 urban districts.

The study found that higher performing schools displayed greater focus and competency in three broad areas of practice: leadership and staffing; school culture; and curriculum and instruction. The study report outlines specific strategies employed by higher performing schools with respect to each of these areas of practice and presents illustrative case vignettes drawn from these schools. It also makes specific recommendations to urban districts and schools, and state policymakers.



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