Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Assistant Professor Sarah Lenhoff quoted in Mlive article "Why one parent doesn't want her Michigan school shuttered"

Return to news listing

Mlive, Why one parent doesn't want her Michigan school shuttered
By Brian McVicar
Michigan's School Reform Office (SRO) has placed Woodward and 37 other schools around the state at risk of closure for repeatedly ranking among the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide for at least three consecutive years. Drastic action, the SRO says, is needed to improve student performance. One expert said it's important to consider more than test results when determining school closures. Sarah Lenhoff, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Wayne State University, said state test scores are useful because they show whether students are improving and meeting academic targets. But when considering a school's performance, other areas are important, too, she said. Among them: student attendance, dropout rates, disciplinary issues, and whether a rigorous curriculum and a stable and effective leadership team are in place. Lenhoff says those are "leading indicators" of student performance. Once they are in place and trending in the right direction, student test scores tend to rise, she said. "It's not as if just saying improve the test scores will improve the test scores," she said. "You actually need to invest in that infrastructure. And so I think looking at the leading indicators could show whether in two years or three years or five years, we will see that improved achievement."