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Study Finds Test Gains in Accelerated Schools

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Study Finds Test Gains in Accelerated Schools

Professor Henry Levin, founder of Accelerated Schools.

Accelerated Schools, founded by Professor Henry M. Levin, a school improvement program designed to bring challenging curricula to disadvantaged students, appears to have paid off in some of the schools that tried it early on, according to an independent study.

With 700 "actively affiliated schools," Accelerated Schools is one of the nations' most popular programs for comprehensive school improvement.

The study, which was released in December of 2001 by Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., a non-profit research organization in New York City, is based on eight years of test-score data for third graders in eight schools across the country that were using the program in the early 1990s. The researchers compared any year-to-year improvements that students made in the three years before the schools adopted the program with the gains made five years following its launch.

What the study found was that students began to rack up significant gains four to five years into the program.

Levin was quoted in Education Week that he disagreed with the researchers' decision to include all students' scores, largely because some evaluations of other comprehensive school reform models do not include students who are new to a school.

"Implicitly, people will compare these results with the results for kids who are stable and who have been in the same school for years," said Levin.

He said the test-scorei gains, nevertheless, were a bonus for the program.

"We see them almost as a byproduct of what we're trying to do, which is to bring in as much gifted-and-talented enrichment activities as schools have the capacity to do," said Levin.

Inside TC would like to thank Debra Viadero of Education Week.

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