A Multi-Method Approach to Evaluating Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models


The purpose of this paper is to 1) present a multi-methods approach of evaluating comprehensive school reform models, 2) describe the Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center’s standards for evaluating CSR effectiveness; and 3) provide pilot data and results from one comprehensive school reform model provider. The Center developed the Quality Review Tool (QRT), which employs qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluate the evidence of effectiveness of widely-implemented CSR models through a series of tools designed to capture these data. Data analysis involves three phases: 1) Qualitative methods, such as in-depth conversations and coding artifacts, are used to acquire as much information as possible about each program in the study; 2) Quantitative methods, specifically applied meta-analysis, are used to analyze the program's evidence of effectiveness; 3) Qualitative and quantitative data are coded using a series of rubrics to rate the cumulative evidence on a program’s effectiveness and quality as strong, moderate, limited, weak, or nonexistent.

This data analysis focus on the following areas for each CSR model reviewed: 1) Evidence of positive effects on student achievement; 2) Evidence of positive effects on additional outcomes; 3) Evidence of positive effects on family and community involvement; 4) Evidence of link between research and program design; and 5) Program provider’s implementation services and supports to schools. By incorporating qualitative and quantitative data, the CSRQ Center reports provide a broad and in-depth review of a CSR model’s services and evidence of effectiveness and quality to help educators as they make research-based decisions regarding the choice and implementation of a service provider.