What Works

Since 1989, researchers, reformers, and evaluators have acknowledged the effectiveness of Different Ways of Knowing’s research-based strategies and tools.

Effective School Improvement

  • A 1999 evaluation conducted by the American Institutes for Research on behalf of five major education organizations declared that Different Ways of Knowing had promising evidence of positive effects on student achievement. Of the twenty-four most prominent comprehensive school reform programs that were evaluated, only three programs received a higher rating.
  • A similar 1998 catalog of school reform initiatives produced by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory gave Different Ways of Knowing top marks on all nine of its components of comprehensive reform. Only one of the twenty-five other leading whole school initiatives scored as high.
  • In 2001, Different Ways of Knowing was adopted as a New American Schools school improvement design. 
  • In 2001, the Galef Institute was accepted as a Local Education Fund by the Public Education Network. 

Raising Grades and Test Scores

Multiple studies have demonstrated that Different Ways of Knowing helps raise student achievement.

  • A 1995 UCLA study found a positive correlation between students’ test scores and the number of years they participated in Different Ways of Knowing, including higher scores on written social studies tests and higher grades overall.
  • In 1997, studies by researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky compared the performance of fourth graders in twenty-four Different Ways of Knowing schools to Kentucky students statewide on the Kentucky Instructional Results Information Systems (KIRIS). After two years of program implementation, researchers found increased gains in reading (7 percent), arts and humanities (7 percent), math (25 percent), science (7 percent), and social studies (10 percent) compared to other schools in the state.
  • A 1999 Michigan study found a positive correlation between the program’s instruction and increases in standardized reading tests results under the Michigan Educational Assessment program and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
  • A Texas Student Achievement Analysis of 2001–2002 comparisons of two Houston, Texas Title I middle schools with test scores lower than the district average found achievement gains in almost all subjects and grades after the school switched to Different Ways of Knowing. Gains included a 48 percent gain in eighth grade social studies, 31 percentage points in sixth grade reading, and 24 percentage points in seventh grade mathematics. Both schools closed the gap between their test scores and the district’s average.

School Results: Meeting Yearly Progress

Different Ways of Knowing schools report increased student achievement in core subject areas. These achievement gains help many schools meet their annual state performance accountability targets. 

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