The CSRQ Center Reports provide consumer friendly reviews and guidance on the effectiveness and quality of the leading comprehensive school reform (CSR) models. The reports are designed to give education consumers the in-depth information they need to make the best possible adoption decisions to meet locally defined needs.
Each report provides basic information on the CSR model, including the model's mission and focus, year introduced in schools, grade levels served, number of schools served, and costs. The reports evaluate the following dimensions of quality:
The CSRQ Center has produced several tools and resources to accompany our Reports. To view and download these tools and resources, please visit the CSR Resources and Links page.
Fall 2005 Quality Review Tools Released
Fall 2005 CSRQ Reports on Elementary School CSR Models released
Fall 2005 CSRQ Reports on Educational Service Providers released
Fall 2006 CSRQ Reports on Middle and High School CSR Models released
Fall 2006 Updated CSRQ Reports on Elementary School CSR Models released
Additionally, in January 2005, the CSRQ Center released a report called Works in Progress: A Report on Middle and High School Improvement Programs. This report does not use the Quality Review Tools to present a full-scale review of CSR. Instead, this report provides readers with brief reviews of the critical issues facing America's middle and high schools, and a survey of approaches-including comprehensive school reform-used to address these challenges.
If, as a country, we are to realize the potential offered by comprehensive school reform, decision makers will need help in sorting through competing claims made by researchers and providers about what works. The CSRQ Center Reports provide scientifically based, consumer-friendly reports on program quality and effectiveness and the guidance needed to use this evidence to make effective, locally defined choices.
The promise of CSR models and the school wide reform that they support is that they are research-based and provide the training and other supports needed to encourage a coordinated approach to improvement that addresses curriculum and instruction, professional development, leadership, parental and community involvement, and other components needed for student success. Since federal CSR funds became available in 1998, schools nationwide have adopted more than 700 different CSR models. Research evidence to date indicates that some of these models are more effective than others and that results vary greatly—even with the most effective model —depending on the quality of implementation.
Whether a school adopts a model that offers a comprehensive package of practices or decides to build its own from individual research-proven components, decision makers need reliable information to help them answer essential questions: Which of these models work well to raise student achievement or accomplish other important student outcomes? Do some of them work at all? Without the CSRQ Center Reports, those most directly responsible for improving education—state officials, school board members, administrators, and teachers—and those concerned about its success—educators, parents, policymakers, and the public—have few resources at their disposal to answer these questions
The CSRQ Center Reports are guided by the CSRQ Center's Quality Review Tool, or QRT, which provides the criteria for independent, fair, and credible model reviews. To ensure that the QRT is valid, reliable, and credible, the QRT development process involved several steps. First, CSRQ Center staff developed review frameworks in consultation with some of the nation's most respected education researchers, program evaluators, and school improvement experts. Then, the QRT was reviewed, revised, and, ultimately, endorsed, by the CSRQ Center's Advisory Committee, a nationally respected panel of experts, that includes leading education practitioners, methodologists, and researchers from a variety of fields, including education, sociology, medicine, psychology, and economics. The QRT will be updated regularly as new evidence and improved methodologies become available.
The Quality Review Tool, or QRT, is a set of forms, rubrics, and evaluation criteria that have been carefully designed to guide the CSRQ Center reviews of CSR reform models. The tool is intended to make the review process clear and transparent. The QRT was designed by CSRQ Center staff and reviewed by an Advisory Committee consisting of national experts in the field of schoolwide reform, program evaluation, methodology, and education. The QRT also draws on other efforts to conduct rigorous research reviews, including the What Works Clearinghouse.
The QRT review process is divided into three parts, and each part guides a distinct phase of the review process.
Part 1 of the QRT is an information cataloguing system that strives to acquire as much information as possible about all models available. It consists of a multifaceted process for collecting and verifying information about all models being considered for inclusion in the review. The process acquires information about models from literature reviews, interviews with model staff, and interviews with staff at schools implementing the model.
Once the CSRQ Center has collected enough formative information about the CSR reform model under review, CSRQ reviewers analyze the model's evidence of effectiveness and research base. QRT Part 2 examines the rigor of the research design of each individual study on a CSR model's effectiveness. QRT Part 2 does not examine the strength of a CSR model's impact; but rather, it judges the quality of the research design.
CSRQ reviewers use Part 2 to decide whether a study is strong or conclusive enough to be considered in Part 3 of the QRT review. To do so, CSRQ reviewers examine the study to determine whether it meets QRT Part 2 standards for internal and external validity; independence of the researchers; face and psychometric validity of the outcome measures; size of model effects; and other quality indicators. Only research studies that proceed to QRT Part 3 count toward a model's ratings in the CSRQ Center reports.
QRT Part 3 is broken down into rubrics that establish standards against which research on a model 's impact will be examined and rated. If CSRQ reviewers deem the rigor of a study's research design to be strong or conclusive, using QRT Part 2, the study then proceeds to QRT Part 3. Using QRT Part 3, reviewers look across studies on a CSR model and rate the cumulative evidence as strong, moderate, limited, weak, or nonexistent. Using research that meets the standards set forth in QRT Part 2, these rubrics will help evaluate the extent to which a model can demonstrate positive impact in the following categories:
In total, the CSRQ Center reviewed approximately 30 to 50 CSR models that have been widely implemented, meaning that the model is in use in at least three states and five schools total. The models to be reviewed include
CSR models are identified through an extensive search of existing data on CSR implementation, including (but not limited to) the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory's CSR Awards Database, the National Clearinghouse on Comprehensive School Reform, and the Northwest Regional Education Lab's Catalog of School Reform Models. For more detailed information about how models were selected for inclusion in CSRQ Reports on Elementary School Models, click here.
Some education decision makers may be interested in CSR models, including new or smaller models, that have not yet been reviewed by the CSRQ Center Reports. Thus, the CSRQ Center will make a nonevaluative CSR Model Registry available so that model developers have the opportunity to share their own information about models not included in the CSRQ Center Reports. For more information about the Model Registry, click here.