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The Limits of Sanctions in Low-Performing Schools: A Study of Maryland and Kentucky Schools on Probation

January 2003

Heinrich Mintrop


The article looks at 11 different schools in Maryland and Kentucky that were considered “low performing” and were put under probationary measures by the state to help the schools. Only a few of the schools could find some solutions and help students, while the others did not. Underlying institutional stability appeared to be the key difference in whether schools benefited from these sanctions.

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Policy Implications

This study reveals that there is a multitude of factors that effect a school’s performance and that sanctions and probationary measures may not benefit high rick schools. Other factors such as institutional stability should be looked at in the future when attempting to fix low performing schools.

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