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Assumptions That Support Decisions and Processes

As we have evaluated grant-funded education programs, helped schools with School Improvement Plans, and helped educators move to data-driven decisions, we’ve seen many practices that don’t result in good academic outcomes.  We’ve mapped out the Skills and Beliefs that lead to what seems to make sense to the people who designed the programs. We think that understanding and reviewing what we have seen may help educators learn what they could be doing to get much better outcomes.

Beliefs and Lack of Skills for Making Sense

One of the programs we evaluated was designed to reduce the dropout rate by serving randomly selected girls with minority sounding names, getting them makeovers and glamour shots in hopes this would raise the likelihood that they passed algebra. In another program, they targeted low-income students. They identified them by looking at the mothers’ pocket books, and the bus they rode home.  Once identified, they secretly mentored the students.  In another program, a school provided remedial reading services to all students who received free lunch, even though the majority of them already read above grade level.