Imagine this scenario: A school is struggling to reduce its dropout rate. To this end, administrators implement two changes — teachers must provide more detailed feedback to students after exams and take attendance every class period. After a year, since more students have dropped out as compared with previous years, administrators determine the interventions did not work.
That conclusion may seem cut-and-dried, but consider these questions: What if the teachers hadn’t actually implemented their mandates? What if only a quarter of teachers had made the required changes? Could administrators still say that the new mandates had no effect on reducing student dropout?