This three-article dissertation explores educational innovation in charter schools. A common frame of reference for each article is the consideration of the influence of Dr. Benjamin Bloom's 2 sigma problem--the observation that one-on-one tutoring, though often cost prohibitively expensive, produces outcomes two standard deviations higher than traditional group-directed instruction. The first article is a literature review of the types of charter school innovations most commonly found in the literature and the type of effect those innovations can have on student learning outcomes. The research suggests that three of the top studied new innovations from charters are technology-based virtual schools, specific curricular immersion programs, and the implementation of extended learning hours. Successful student learning outcomes are most likely when implementations are well planned, proper training is provided, and appropriate resources are allocated to the program. The second article is a design-based case study of the development of Franklin Discovery Academy, a K-6 charter school located in Vineyard, UT. We review two of the key design decisions made by our group of graduate students in instructional design in the development of the school and the outcomes of those choices. We focus on the design decisions involved in formulating the student learning model, which included a high school-like rotation of classes at an elementary school level, and the differentiated teacher model design, where the functions of the teacher are separated into three distinct job roles based on economy-of-scale principles. We describe why we made the choices we did, how they were implemented, what went right, and what went wrong. We detail the importance of flexibility and having the right people to developing a resilient and innovative culture. The final article is a quasi-experimental study on the effectiveness of the FoxesRead virtual tutoring program at Franklin Discovery implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic-related school shut-down, Franklin Discovery provided virtual one-on- one tutoring to students during June 2020. Using a split-plot ANOVA statistical analysis, we compared the reading pre- and post-reading scores for participating students to nonparticipants. With our analysis, we found a large .309 effect size attributed to the FoxesRead program. Qualitative data collected from parents and tutors also provided strong positive feedback. The findings suggest that FoxesRead is an effective education innovation.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





charter schools, elementary education, tutors, tutoring, educational innovation



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