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ERIC Number: ED539555
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
How to Know when Dramatic Change Is on Track: Leading Indicators of School Turnarounds
Kowal, Julie; Ableidinger, Joe
Public Impact
In recent years, national policymakers have placed new emphasis on "school turnarounds" as a strategy for rapid, dramatic improvement in chronically failing schools, calling on education leaders to turn around performance in the 5,000 lowest-achieving schools nationwide. This goal may seem daunting, given the dismal success rates of school improvement efforts of past years. Indeed, even outside education--in for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies--bad-to-great turnaround and "major change" efforts succeed only about 30 percent of the time. Given these odds, the success of the turnaround strategy in education will depend largely on the speed with which districts and leaders spot schools that are of-track and quickly redirect major change. Leading indicators are the early signs that leaders outside education use regularly to determine whether an organization is on the right track or destined to fail. In school turnarounds, leading indicators can provide early evidence about whether a school is on track--and if not, how to intervene to increase the odds of success. In this report, the authors summarize the research and experience from other settings--including venture capital, franchising, and research and development in industries such as pharmaceuticals--in which leaders have long relied on leading indicators to enhance the likelihood of success. From these lessons, they identify key principles and processes to guide the design and use of leading indicators in education. By critically examining systems in other sectors, and analyzing potential lessons for school turnarounds, education leaders can bring the benefits of leading indicators to bear where it is not simply dollars but students' futures at stake. In other sectors, organization leaders identify a set of starting leading indicators based on known success factors in the industry and the nature of the venture being monitored; zealously monitor those indicators for signs of impending success or failure; and then act on what the indicators reveal, using data to target assistance, modify investments, or redirect their focus. (Contains 2 tables and 67 notes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Impact
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A