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Knowledge From the Field

Houston Independent School District

Published: August 2010

Publisher(s): Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Funder(s): Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

View Report (16 pages; 419KB; PDF)

Houston Independent School District

Area of focus: Educational Standards


This report describes the Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) recently enacted program, Accelerating Student Progress, Increasing Results & Expectations (ASPIRE), which focuses on improving student performance in middle school. Using “value-added” as the primary metric, ASPIRE seeks to measure academic growth and apply the most effective practices to all schools in the district. ASPIRE also offers monetary rewards to those employees and leaders whose students show exceptional progress.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+Value-added scores are moving in a positive direction in almost all cases, with the lowest quartile of teachers showing higher-than-expected levels of student academic growth

=Having up-to-date data allows schools to identify and address students with learning deficiencies

=Principals are using the data to identify those teachers who are the highest performers and studying what makes them so successful in the classroom

-Initial communications with teachers were handled poorly, leading to confusion and questions about the pay-for-performance programs

Geographic Focus: Houston, TX

Subjects/Keywords: ASPIRE; HISD; EVAAS; value-added; performance management; educational capacity; pay-for-performance

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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