a relentless focus on high expectations

Roland Fryer recently published a report on the lessons that can be drawn from NYC charter schools. He found 5 practices that were associated with effective schools:

Charter School of Wilmington side entrance
Charter School of Wilmington side entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…five practices—more human capital or teacher feedback, data-driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased time on task, and a relentless focus on high academic expectations—were consistently found in higher- achieving schools. Together, these five practices explain roughly half the difference in effectiveness between charter schools.

Fryer describes each practice as follows:

Focus on human capital. Teachers should be given the tools they need to succeed, including increased feedback from administrators and professional development at all stages in their career.

Use student data to drive instruction. data can drive more personalized and more efficient learning, allowing both teachers and students to track progress and to make sure that each student is on a path that is appropriate for her.

Provide high-dosage tutoring. Students should be offered intensive, small-group tutoring that is customized to each student’s baseline achievement and pace of learning.

Extend time on task. To make time for increased tutoring, among other changes, the amount of time devoted to instruction should be increased. Schools should increase both the length of the school day and the number of days in the school year.

Foster a culture of high expectations. from the time that students enter a school, they should understand that they are expected to succeed and that the teachers, administrators, and other staff are there to help them succeed. This environment can be created with time dedicated to setting goals, with posters encouraging college attendance, and many other steps.

This got my mind racing about what lessons might transfer to addiction treatment and how they might be adapted.


2 thoughts on “a relentless focus on high expectations

  1. Having spent many years working to advance effective schooling, this is an update/refinement of information I have studied before. What I love about this type of research is the fact that it provides myself or my organization with specific points of focus for our efforts and around which to evaluate our success. These things are likely both cor-relational and causative; but identifying the specific data points we could gather, and assessing our progress by them would be valuable.

    For example: 1) How have we focused on the development and nurturing of our staff? 2) What data do we gather on our success and how do we keep it in front of staff so they can see progress or lack there of? 3) How can we ensure intensive individual and small group work with each client around their specific needs? 4) How do we increase time on task by reducing any down time attributed to poor planning and failure to moderate sources of interference to our processes? and 5) Do we hold consistent, appropriate, and equitable expectations for client success regardless of background, history, gender, ethnicity, etc.? I love the parallel this educational research generates for me as a SUD counselor.

    1. Hi Jerry,

      I’m so glad you commented. I was wondering what actual educators might think of this study and was a little worried that it might just generate eye rolls.

      I had the same reaction–being attracted to the fact that this actually provides a blueprint for success.

      Thanks for the comment!

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