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Dec. 31, 1999, 8 p.m., 240 minutes until Y2K. It is the last day of the month/year/century/millennium. In a dangerously tilting Tower of Pisa on our mahogany conference table stands a stack of 486 manila folders. Each is identified with a computer-generated label containing a student's name, grade and teacher. All together, the folders contain an astonishing 6,318 examples of student work. This is to be the last component in our search to uncover "Impediments to Student Achievement" as external evaluators to a school involved in California's Immediate Intervention/Under Performing Schools Program.
So far, we had observed classrooms and grilled the school's parents, teachers, students, paraprofessionals and administrators. We used bubble-in surveys, made written comments and conducted personal interviews. We had disaggregated two years of SAT-9 results, reviewed two years of multiple measures data, and dissected transcripts of student grades. For three months, we had been reviewing this information with the II/USP school site and community team members as we worked together to prepare the school's action plan for school improvement.
At DataWorks Educational Research, we …