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outcomes were due largely to factors outside the control of schools, a group of studies appeared that challenged this conclusion by identifying effective schools and the characteristics that made them effective (e.g., Edmonds, 1979; Rutter et al., 1979; Weber, 1971; see especially Purkey and Smith, 1983). This research yielded what became (with some variations) a familiar list of "effective schools" characteristics, which included the following:

Strong leadership, particularly instructional, by the principal

High expectations for student achievement

Clear school-wide focus on basic skills

A safe, orderly school environment

Frequent assessment of student academic progress

Despite early and ongoing criticism (e.g., Scott and Walberg, 1979; Stedman, 1985, 1987), effective schools research has evolved over the past two decades (Bliss et al., 1991), flourishing and even turning into a national movement. In terms of sheer numbers, it is now perhaps the most successful of the dozens of ideas informing school reform efforts nation-wide. According to Education Week (1995), more than 2,000 school districts—15 percent of the nation's 14,500—report using effective school research.1

In the 1990s, there has been a significant change in the way "effective" schools are identified, particularly in efforts to uncover effective schooling dimensions for English-language learners. Instead of designating schools as effective on the basis of measures of student learning or achievement, investigators now typically use a "nominated" schools design.2 As in the previous effective schools research, current investigators attempt to identify schools or programs that are ''exemplary." However, rather than being identified on the basis of outcome measures, schools are identified in accordance with the professional judgments of knowledgeable educators. Independent measures of student achievement are not in the data set reported by most of these investigators. In schools or classrooms with large numbers of English-language learners, this is often the case because investigators could not find adequate student achievement data to verify the validity of the nominations (Berman et al., 1992, 1995).3 However, in some instances, investigators have asked nominated schools to provide

1This figure might actually indicate diminished influence of the effective schools movement in the 1990s. A 1989 General Accounting Office survey estimated that 41 percent of U.S. school districts had programs based on effective schools research in 1988 (Bliss et al., 1991).

2However, there is still effective schools research that relies on student outcomes; moreover, not all research prior to the 1990s used student outcomes to determine school or classroom effectiveness.

3For example, Berman et al. (1992:6) found that "language proficiency results were of questionable validity, subject to sources of unreliability and not comparable; schools did not consistently assess LEP students on California assessment tests or had little accumulated data as a result of high transiency or poor attendance."

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