The federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program allocated US$7 billion over nearly a decade in an effort to produce rapid and lasting improvements in schools identified as low performing. In this article, we use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of Ohio’s SIG turnaround efforts on student achievement and school administration. The results indicate that Ohio’s SIG program significantly increased reading and math achievement, with effects in both subjects of up to 0.20 standard deviations in the second year after SIG eligibility identification. Estimates for the third year are somewhat larger, in the range of one quarter of a standard deviation. We provide evidence that these effects were primarily attributable to schools that implemented the SIG Turnaround model. We also show that SIG eligibility had a positive effect on per-pupil spending, but no average effect on administrative outcomes, including staff turnover, the number of staff members in the school, and school closure. These null overall effects mask heterogeneity across SIG models, however. Most notably, Turnaround schools experienced more turnover than they otherwise would have, whereas Transformation schools experienced less.
“School Improvement Grants in Ohio: Effects on Student Achievement and School Administration” (w/ Deven Carlson), Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 40(3): 287-315, 2018.