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ERIC Number: ED439215
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Nov
Pages: 40
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Setting the Pace: Opportunities To Learn in Chicago's Elementary Schools. Improving Chicago's Schools.
Smith, Julia B.; Smith, BetsAnn; Bryk, Anthony S.
This study considers the quality of classroom instruction in the context of the reform efforts of the Chicago, Illinois, public schools. Surveys completed by 2,036 elementary and high school teachers were used in this study. The survey analyses are supplemented by observations of more than 800 language arts and mathematics classes in 8 elementary schools and 7 high schools. Teacher responses and observations show that when teachers have to juggle considerations about the students they teach and the learning goals they attempt to reach, unaligned and incoherent instructional programs can emerge. This research makes it clear that external guidelines and mandates do not, by themselves, prevent troubling differences in teaching and learning from occurring. Standards documents must be understood as only the first step in educational change. Good teacher communication and collaboration play a vital role in bringing standards from paper to practice and in shaping how instruction develops and progresses across classrooms and grades. Closer physical and social proximity among members of a school community (small school size) can help reform efforts. A negative relationship was found between high levels of student mobility and instructional pacing and coherence. The school characteristics that this research found to be significantly related to grade-level pacing and instructional coherence, stronger professional community, smaller school size, and lower levels of student mobility can all be influenced by policy action. (Contains 12 figures, 17 endnotes, and 20 references.) (SLD)
Consortium on Chicago School Research, 1313 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 ($10). Tel: 773-702-3364; Fax: 773-702-2010; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Illinois State Board of Education, Springfield.
Authoring Institution: Consortium on Chicago School Research, IL.