The following teaching and learning innovations have been found to lead to improved school performance.
Teaching for Understanding. This effort encompasses activities oriented toward higher-order thinking skills. These skills are evidenced by problem solving and creating instead of simply reproducing knowledge, greater use of interdisciplinary curriculums and cooperative learning, and assessment on samples of work that illustrate understanding and application rather than memorization and reproduction.
Use of Technology. Technology use is reflected by the ability to use the tools of the future workplace—in particular, a greater emphasis on the use of technology as a tool for learning and producing. It includes such computer tasks as math calculations, writing, and searching the Internet for background information.
Educating All Students. Reforms in this direction include individualized instruction, nongraded classrooms, and mainstreaming of students with special needs.
Integrated Services. Efforts in this area encompass internal integration through team teaching, that is, teams of teachers taking responsibility for a larger portion of the learning of a defined group of students. External integration is evidenced by the development of links to the community for educational purposes along with links to other relevant community services, such as agencies providing social and medical services.
Turnaround Schools -- A number of stories about how schools and districts surmounted hurdles and overcame failures
Special Topic / Transforming High Schools -- A study of 10 high schools finds that some schools just go through the motions, whereas other schools listen to teachers, parents, and students and make sure stakeholders understand the purpose of reforms.