ERIC Number: ED456568
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr-28
The Phantom Mandate: District Capacity for Reform.
Florian, Judy; Hange, Jane; Copeland, Glenda
Nearly every state focuses on implementing standards-based systems but supports educational reform in as many different ways as there are states. An examination of 15 districts located in 13 states suggests, however, that some states and districts have policies and practices in common that support a district's capacity for reform, whether there is an emphasis on professional development, accountability, or student-assessment. Schools in the study benefited from five state practices: development and/or adoption of clear and precise state standards, development of standards-based criterion-referenced assessment programs, provision of professional development, inclusion of rewards and assistance components in state accountability systems, and distribution of federal and state grants supporting reform. District activities that benefited schools in nearly all the states included aligning curricula to standards, building instructional capacity, supporting collaboration among teachers, adopting a district-performance assessment program, evaluating reform practices, fostering relationships in and outside of the district, supporting effective decentralized management, and aligning funding streams to target district and school goals. Some districts emphasizing professional development were more likely to evaluate it for its influence on teacher practices. Districts emphasizing accountability reported benefiting from state reward-and-assistance components. Those focusing on standards-aligned assessment of students' mastery of standards, without an extensive accountability system, were more likely to prefer aligning each district's assessment program with the state's assessment and to evaluate teachers based on their work in the standards-based system. (RKJ)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).