The Power of Expectations in District and Charter Schools

Now that the most acute phase of the Covid crisis is over, public conversation has turned to the millions of students who are still struggling academically and emotionally—and how our nation’s schools ought to respond. Decisions that education leaders make right now will determine whether this generation of students recovers or continues to lose ground. That’s why policies that lower expectations—such as rescinding “third-grade reading guarantees” or keeping pandemic-era no-grading policies in effect—are so troubling.

Are we really helping students by lowering the bar? What sorts of expectations should teachers set as they begin to dig out? And what can research and prior experience—particularly from the charter sector, where the need for high expectations has long been a rallying cry—teach us about how to approach this monumental challenge?

Conducted by American University’s Seth Gershenson, a new study uses nationally representative survey data to explore how teacher expectations differ by sector, and how they affect achievement, attainment, and other outcomes.

To read the full report and its implications for educational leaders and policymakers, click below or download the PDF (which also includes the appendices).

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