How well do education reforms work? For the past decade, IESP has evaluated important interventions in schools and districts, including Performance-Driven Budgeting (for the NYC Department of Education) and the Annenberg-funded New York Networks for School Renewal.

Select Reports

Make Your Job Summer Program: A Report to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (2015)

Megan Silander, Michael Chavez-Reilly and Meryle Weinstein 
Teaching entrepreneurship—how to create, grow and run a business or organization—is one potential means to increase college and career readiness skills. Learning how to start a business can improve critical thinking, communication and collaboration (Gallagher, Stepien, & Rosenthal, 1992; Hmelo, 1998), which are key qualities for academic as well as business success. In this study, we examine the implementation of The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) Make Your Job Summer Program, a summer program designed to introduce students to the concepts of entrepreneurship while developing students’ academic and life skills. Specifically, we analyze the impact of this youth entrepreneurship program as it expanded to sites across the country and examine the program design, theoretical underpinnings, implementation, adaptations and challenges.

Click here to read the summary of findings

Click here to read the full report

Urban Advantage Interim Report (2010)

Meryle Weinstein, Lila Nazar de Jaucourt, Jacob Leos-Urbel, Elizabeth Debraggio, Amy Ellen Schwartz
Urban Advantage (UA) is a comprehensive program, managed by the American Museum of Natural History, in partnership with seven New York City science-rich cultural institutions. Designed to improve scientific learning and investigation in middle schools in New York City, UA provides professional development to teachers, school administrators, and parent coordinators along with resources to schools, students, and families. UA takes advantage of the wealth of intellectual and institutional capacity available in the city and facilitates access to those resources for the city's students. This report presents the first results of the study being conducted of the first five years of Urban Advantage.

Click here to read the summary of findings

Click here to read the full report


To Be IB: Creating Support Structures and Services for Title I High Schools Implementing the International Baccalaureate Program (2010)

Leslie Santee Siskin, Meryle Weinstein and Robyn Sperling

With its demanding requirements and assessments, its academic and international orientation, and its aspirations for admission to highly selective universities, International Baccalaureate has often been seen as an "elite" program: one for highly motivated, academically strong, and often affluent schools and students. Over the past few years, however, IB has extended its ambitions, adding into its 2004 strategic plan the mission of "impact through planned growth" and the particular strategy of "broaden[ing] access purposefully where we can have the most impact, particularly with disadvantaged students." In September 2006, IB North America (now called IBA1) was awarded an API grant, for $1.08 million over three years, to extend its efforts to broaden access and develop "support structures and services" for Title I high schools that are working to "be IB."

Supported by this grant, between January 2007 and December 2009 IB undertook an extensive effort to develop, plot, and refine a new model of structures and services to build a pathway that will connect from the Middle Years through the Diploma, as well as expand staff and students. Key components of this project have been: to increase scaffolding materials and leadership activities, to create a new coaching model and provide on-site coaches in schools, to offer new supports and training for guidance counselors, to develop backward mapping of curriculum from MYP through the Diploma, and to draw on the experiences and insights of other IB practitioners through an advisory working group. Simultaneously, IESP researchers have been engaged in an evaluation of this project at four pilot sites around the country, examining the design, development, and delivery of new support structures and services, and their implementation and impact in the pilot schools. This paper reflects the culmination of this work.


Click here to download the full report

Click here to download the appendices of this report

Click here to download the supplemental survey

The New York City Aspiring Principals Program: A School-Level Evaluation (2009)

Sean P. Corcoran, Amy Ellen Schwartz and Meryle Weinstein 

In 2003, New York City embarked on a unique experiment to increase its pool of qualified school administrators. Through the creation of the Leadership Academy, the district asserted significantly greater responsibility for training and developing its own school leaders. Today, the Leadership Academy works with hundreds of principals annually and its Aspiring Principals Program (APP) graduates are currently responsible for 15 percent of the city's schools.

This report represents the first systematic comparison of student outcomes in schools led by APP graduates after three years to those in comparable schools led by other new principals. We find that APP principals were placed in schools that are demographically and academically distinct from schools led by other new principals. APP principals were more likely to be placed in schools that were low-performing and trending downward. Controlling for pre-existing differences in these schools, we find that APP schools improved apace with the city in English Language Arts, while comparison schools fell behind the city-wide average. By the third year the differences in these schools' trajectories becomes statistically significant. In math, both groups' scores improved over time, but we find no statistically significant difference in these schools' gains.


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The District Role in International Baccalaureate (2008)

Leslie Santee Siskin and Meryle Weinstein

What is, or could be, the role of the district in the adoption and implementation of IB? When the majority of IB schools in the U.S. are public schools, many of which according to our recent studies (Siskin, 2008), struggle with reconciling the demands of IB with differing district procedures and policies, the question of district role is a relevant one. At a time when an increasing number of districts are contemplating introducing IB as part of a larger reform strategy, the question is particularly timely.

To explore that question, researchers from the Institute for Education and Social Policy at NYU selected one site that has earned a reputation success in both participation levels and performance in its school programs, and as a leader for its role-as a district-in the expansion and support of those programs. They have been engaged in IB work for many years and through multiple administrations; they have expanded IB to eight high schools, extended IB offerings to provide MYP in middle schools, and evolved from two individual "school‐based" programs to a set of programs, with district strategies, policies, and personnel in place. Our questions focused on why they made that choice and how they went about implementing it, where they created new structures or supports for schools, and what evidence they point to as markers of success (or pitfalls to avoid). Our hope was to learn by studying what they have learned by doing, and to share what they have learned with other districts and schools.


Click here to download the full report

Small Schools (2007)

Robin Jacobowitz and Meryle G. Weinstein
Funded by New Visions for Public Schools

A two-year mixed methods study to explore the process and outcomes of small high school development in New York City across the past decades. We examine how school-level student and teacher populations change over time in small New York City public high schools, the organizational and instructional practices that contribute to positive small school learning environments and how changes in these populations over time may influence school practices.

Funded by New Visions for Public Schools, the project produced two reports. The first report examines student and teacher demographic characteristics over time, student outcomes over time, and organizational and instructional practices that contribute to positive learning environments in small schools. We anticipate that our findings will have important implications for how new small high schools are established and supported, as more and more small high schools are created throughout New York City.

The second report focuses on how student and teacher populations at the NYC small high schools change from year to year as they develop during the first ten years of their existence.

Cornerstone Literacy Initiative

Principal Investigator: Amy Ellen Schwartz
co-Project Directors: Hella Bel Hadj Amor and Christine Donis-Keller

A comprehensive mixed methods evaluation of the Cornerstone Initiative which seeks to reform schools through effective early grade literacy instruction coupled with professional coaching and leadership development. The evaluation examines the effects of Cornerstone on student achievement in literacy, and identifies best literacy practices and challenges to effective implementation. Eighteen schools in seven districts, located in the Northeast and the South, participate in the initiative. The evaluation is funded by the New York Institute for Special Education.