Challenges of Conflicting School Reforms: Effects of New American Schools in a High-Poverty District

Synopsis

A decade ago, New American Schools (NAS) launched an ambitious effort for whole-school reform to address the perceived lagging achievement of American students and the lackluster school reform attempts that have produced so few meaningful changes. RAND assessed the effects of NAS designs on classroom practice and student achievement in a sample of schools in a high-poverty district. It found that while high-stakes tests may motivate these schools to increase performance, they may also provide disincentives to adopt richer, more in-depth curricula that could improve students' learning opportunities.