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ERIC Number: ED501287
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 379
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
Implementation Study of Smaller Learning Communities. Final Report
Bernstein, Lawrence; Millsap, Mary Ann; Schimmenti, Jennifer; Page, Lindsay
US Department of Education
The Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) program was established in response to growing national concerns about students too often lost and alienated in large, impersonal high schools, as well as concerns about school safety and low levels of achievement and graduation for many students. Authorized under the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act," the SLC program was designed to provide local educational agencies with funds to plan, implement, or expand SLCs in large high schools of 1,000 students or more. The SLC legislation allows local education agencies to implement the most suitable structure or combination of structures and strategies to meet their needs. This final report presents the findings from the implementation study of the Smaller Learning Communities program. The primary purpose of the study is to evaluate the implementation of the federal education law that authorizes funding for the federal SLC program, by describing the strategies and practices used in implementing SLCs. The study based its findings on data from 119 grantees from among those funded in 2000 in the first cohort of grantees and surveyed in the spring of 2002 and fall 2003. The report also used data from in-depth case studies of 18 grantees that intended to use freshman or career academies to structure a smaller learning community. The report contains six chapters. The first chapter presents an overview of the SLC program, the study, and related research. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the study design, as well as a summary of the demographic characteristics of the SLC schools described in this report. The remainder of this report describes the implementation of the federal SLC initiative. Chapter 3 focuses on what schools are actually doing as well as the factors facilitating and inhibiting implementation of SLCs. Chapter 4 is devoted to a discussion of the unique implementation features of the two most widely used SLC structures, career academies and freshman academies. Because there is so much interest in how SLC schools are performing, Chapter 5 is devoted to a discussion of student outcomes as reported by schools. Finally, Chapter 6 provides a summary of the findings from the previous chapters, and implications for further SLC implementation and research as well as further analyses for the follow-up report to be completed later this year. The following are appended: (1) List of SLC Cohort 1 Grantees; (2) Annual Performance Report; (3) Periodic Implementation Surveys, 2002 and 2003; (4) Site Visit Reports; (5) SLC Schools' Demographic Characteristics, 1996-97 through 2001-02; (6) Additional Exhibits, by SLC Structure; (7) Measuring Personalization: Technical Summary; (8) Career and Freshman Academy Overviews; and (9) Modeling of Pre and Post Differences in APR Outcomes. (Contains 86 exhibits.) [This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education by Abt Associates, Inc.]
US Department of Education. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (ED), Policy and Program Studies Service