Delaware Middle Schools Beating the Odds

Grusenmeyer, Linda
Fifield, Steve
Murphy, Aideen
Nian, Qinghua
Qian, Xiaoyu
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Delaware Education Research & Development Center
The investigation identified Delaware public and charter middle schools across the state which outperformed other Delaware middle schools with similar student demographic profiles. Teachers and administrators at six of these "Beating the Odds" schools and at six comparison middle schools were surveyed regarding their schools characteristics and practices. In a second phase of the study, principals, teachers and students from the six "Beating the Odds" schools were interviewed to determine what they believe accounts for their school’s success. The study found that significantly more educators from “Beating the Odds” schools agreed that 18 specific practices and beliefs were typical of their schools when compared to educators from comparison schools. Fourteen of these related to three domains: high expectations, data use, and collaboration. Also, the two samples of schools differed in the intensity of their responses. That is, “Beating the Odds” school respondents “strongly agreed” significantly more often than comparison school respondents to over 80% of the survey items. Twenty-six of these items fell under the domains of teacher role, leadership, district influence, and instructional support. Finally, while participants in on-site interviews described essential local differences, most of the middle schools that are "Beating the Odds" shared an organizational climate shaped by leadership that identified compelling educational approaches and brought educators, students and parents together around those approaches.
Middle Schools , student achievement