ERIC Number: ED398004
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Achieving Despite Adversity: Why Are Some Schools Successful in Spite of the Obstacles They Face? A Study of the Characteristics of Effective and Less Effective Elementary Schools in West Virginia Using Qualitative and Quantitative Methods.
Hughes, Mary F.
A study of West Virginia elementary schools examined why similar types of elementary students differ greatly in academic achievement. In the first phase of the study, a comparison of 33 high- and 33 low-achieving elementary schools in West Virginia found that low-achieving schools had 2.5 times more low-income students than high-achieving schools, and had teachers with less education and experience. The study's second phase compared low-achieving and high-achieving schools in a pair of rural schools with 65 percent needy students, a pair of rural schools with 87 percent needy students, and a triad of nonrural schools with less than 16 percent needy students. Data collection included observation in the seven schools; unstructured interviews with 50 parents, teachers, and administrators; and surveys of 670 students, 82 teachers, 632 parents, and 7 administrators. Data revealed that within each pair or triad, schools provided their students with dissimilar opportunities for achievement and success. Effective schools were characterized by high student achievement irrespective of socioeconomic status or parent involvement; low teacher turnover; faculty teamwork; high staff morale and accountability; teachers with high levels of education, experience, and commitment; strong teacher belief that children can achieve; infrequent student arguments; strong student pride and respect; student services and programs to offset effects of poverty; strong instructional leadership; and a supportive principal. Lower-achieving schools tended to display traits that are polar opposites of those above. Recommendations are offered for school improvement. Includes 51 data tables and a glossary. Appendices provide additional data on school climate scales. (SV)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Disadvantaged Schools, Educational Environment, Elementary Education, Elementary Schools, Faculty Mobility, Instructional Leadership, Parent Attitudes, Rural Schools, School Effectiveness, Socioeconomic Status, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Morale
West Virginia Education Fund, P.O. Box 3071, Charleston, WV 25331-3071 ($30).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA.
Authoring Institution: West Virginia Education Fund, Charleston.
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia