Evaluation

The Mississippi Learning Institute was involved in a four-and-a-half-year study administered by the Academy for Educational Development (AED). AED studied both the process through which the partnership achieved its goals and the following outcomes:

  1. university curriculum and organization and student teacher knowledge of reading theory and practice
  2. the quality and impact of professional development developed by the Jackson State University, Jackson Public Schools, and the Mississippi Department of Education
  3. changes in classroom practice related to the improvement of reading and changes in school outcomes
  4. the school district’s efforts to support and sustain professional development and classroom practices emerging from this initiative
  5. the achievement of students in schools where these services are targeted.

AED’s evaluation of MLI has produced evidence that higher student achievement occurred during the time MLI was implemented and has suggested some of this increase was the result of the design and implementation of the initiative. Secondly, the evaluation has shown that because of MLI’s structure–with key players from the four partners serving as permanent members of both the MLI executive committee and the collaborative growth team–the initiative, to a large extent, matched the school/district, university, and state cultures more closely each year. These implementation factors, as well as the alignment of the program’s professional development and other supports for teachers show that MLI has the necessary implementation components for replication.

Accomplishments

MLI has been extremely successful in accomplishing its goals of enhancing the learning outcomes of the Mississippi Learning Academy and enabling teachers in JPS to participate in professional development and improve their qualifications.

At the inception of MLI, most of the schools in the MLA had mediocre rankings as compared to their peers. In a ranking system where “5″ indicated outstanding performance, in 2003, none of the MLA schools ranked above “3.” After seven years of participating with MLI, all of the five original schools in the MLA had improved their rankings with the exception of the high school. Two of the elementary schools had obtained rankings comparable to the highest among their peers as illustrated in Table 1 below.

Table 1. MLA Rankings – State Accountability System

MLA School 2003 State Ranking 2008 State Ranking
Poindexter Elementary School Level 2 Level 5
George Elementary School Level 3 Level 5
Isable Elementary School Level 3 Level 4
Blackburn Middle School Level 2 Level 3
Jim Hill High School Level 3 Level 3

MLI has also been successful in engaging a large number of faculty and administrators in training programs and advanced degree programs to enhance their skills. Over 600 faculty and administrators have participated in professional development as described in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Building Teacher and Leadership Capacity

Number Type of Participant Description of Accomplishment
132 Teachers, literacy coaches, and administrators Received certification and advanced degrees, which comes to an investment of $391,797
6 Principals, literacy coaches, and teachers Awarded doctorates
500+ Teachers Trained in literacy, instructional, and classroom management strategies
17 Administrators Trained to build leadership capacity