The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) dedicated Race to the Top (RttT) funds to the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO) to establish an Ohio Network of Education Transformation (ONET) that provides support for implementing identified models to transform the lowest achieving schools in Ohio. The ESCCO provides a trained corps of experienced practitioners to deliver intensive targeted assistance to school transformation teams, principals, and teachers. The goals of ONET are two-fold; to build the knowledge, skills, and leadership capacity of school principals and to enhance the quality of daily classroom instruction, assessment and intervention. The ONET innovation grants were awarded to schools to implement one of five educational models - Asia, AVID, Early College, New Tech Network, STEM – or other proposed reform models. The major evaluation question proposed by stakeholders is the issue of overall effectiveness of each of the models. However, a range of additional questions related to how well ONET has been implemented will also be addressed. These questions reinforce the overall need to answer questions about the effectiveness of ONET using school site as the unit of analysis.
In response to discussions, this study will conduct an evaluation of ONET that includes an implementation study and a preliminary impact evaluation. Using school implementation as the focus, OERC will study five cases of implementation within ONET funded schools, and examine the impact of these innovation models on student outcomes across these schools. A second set of five schools will also be briefly studied to lend greater validity to findings at the case study sites.
Case study assessment of the fidelity of implementation will be based on a comparison between a model’s key elements and the evidence of these elements in the implementing school. Assessment of impact will examine the behavioral and attitudinal changes of the principal, teachers and students evidenced in each school and across schools. A second school implementing each model will also be briefly studied to assess the validity of findings in each case study school. This process will assist the research team in verifying findings attributable to innovation model implementation versus site-specific characteristics.