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ERIC Number: ED386311
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Pages: 60
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Qualitative Study of Higher and Lower Performing Elementary Schools.
Binkowski, Kathleen; And Others
During the early 1980s, a number of commissions and special reports stated that education as it existed in the United States was in need of significant reform. The recommendations from these reports began to support "school effectiveness" research. Researchers charge that the basis for judging school effectiveness--student performance on norm-referenced standardized achievement tests--is extremely narrow, and advocate a more expansive definition. Additionally, although research clearly indicates the correlates of effective schools, it is unclear how schools become effective. This study sought to identify and analyze higher and lower performing elementary schools according to an enhanced definition of effectiveness. Analysis included the leadership, school culture, and instructional factors that contributed to school improvement in the higher performing schools. The investigation involved a multi-site ethnographic study of four (K-6) elementary schools in Connecticut's Educational Reference Group VI. Data were gathered from in-depth interviews and school documents which included strategic school profiles, curriculum guides, and district planning documents. Principals, central office administrators, and teachers were interviewed. The study considered the major themes that contribute to school improvement and concludes that leadership is one significant factor in creating higher performing schools. This leadership, however, emanates from a number of often-competing sources which include the school principal, the teaching staff, and the district central office. It is when the combination of sources coalesce around common goals that schools prosper at higher levels. The following questions are worth exploring in further research: (1) How do interpersonal skills impede or promote collaboration? (2) What strategies can be included in leader and teacher training programs to improve problem-solving and facilitation skills? (3) How can an improved understanding of successful principals and schools influence leadership training? and (4) How should staff development or graduate courses be designed to prepare future leaders with curriculum and instruction knowledge? (Contains 50 references.) (Author/BGC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A