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School Effectiveness in Indiana Study

A view of the upper part of the back of a school bus
Examining what works for the state’s public, private, and charter schools
  • Client
    University of Notre Dame; University of Kentucky
  • Dates
    2016 - 2017


Indiana needed a deeper look at overall school effectiveness.

The American public has a vested interest in the productivity of its education system. One reform that has received a great deal of attention over the past several decades is the expansion of private and charter schools. But across all types of schools, one question remained unanswered: Under what conditions are schools effective?


NORC collected data from teachers and principals to explore effectiveness.

Dr. Mark Berends of the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Joseph Waddington at the University of Kentucky set out to study the conditions under which public, charter, and private schools in Indiana were effective in the 2016-2017 school year. NORC at the University of Chicago led data collection for the project, which was funded through a grant from the Spencer Foundation.

NORC collected the School Effectiveness in Indiana (SEI) data through two online surveys, one for principals and one for teachers in 577 public, private, and charter schools. Response rates for both surveys were over 95 percent. Surveys were completed by 557 principals and approximately 5,000 teachers.


The study’s findings are supporting school reform efforts.

The SEI surveys provided insight into how schools differ in terms of characteristics that promote achievement. These characteristics included organizational and instructional conditions, school leadership, professional capacity, school learning climate, funding conditions, and parent involvement and support. The results are being used to guide school improvement efforts. 

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