Publications & Resources

“What Makes Your School Work?” A Qualitative Study of Eight Magnet Schools

Mar 2020

Joan L. Herman, Glory Tobiason, and Jia Wang

How do magnet schools work? Although they are an important school-choice option (on par with charters, in terms of enrollment), it is unclear what actually goes on in these schools: how do they reduce minority-group isolation? What does theme-based teaching and learning look like in practice? This report answers these questions with findings from a study of magnet schools across the country. Teachers, principals, support staff, and other magnet personnel were interviewed and asked what they believe makes their schools different and successful. They identified five critical features of magnet schools and shared six “take-aways” that, surprisingly, make sense in magnet or non-magnet schools.

Herman, J. L., Tobiason, G., & Wang, J. (2020). “What makes your school work?” A qualitative study of eight magnet schools (CRESST Report 866). University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).