ERIC Number: ED498435
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan-4
Reference Count: 33
Leadership of Mathematics Reform: The Role of High School Principals in Rural Schools. ACCLAIM Monograph No. 3
Larson, William; Howley, Aimee
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM)
To date, there has never been an empirical study that has examined the actual activities of rural principals on behalf of improving mathematics education. This monograph presents the results of the first study of rural principals' engagement with mathematics education "reform." This study posed three research questions relating to rural high school principals' leadership of standards-based mathematics education reform: (1) How do principals of rural high schools think about standards-based mathematics? (2) How do principals of rural high schools construct their role with regard to the deployment of standards-based mathematics reform in Ohio? (3) What actions do principals of rural high schools take in order to address state requirements (e.g., the Ohio Graduation Test) linked to standards-based reform in mathematics? The study contextualized its investigations to high schools in three types of rural community in order to develop descriptions of actual leadership practices rather than vague generalizations about what all instructional leaders "ought" to do. Moreover, narrowing the focus to local schools helps focus attention on local dialog about the leadership of mathematics education. After describing the major themes found in the prescriptive and empirical literature that addressed reform of mathematics education, this monograph presents the results of qualitative interviews of seven principals selected from remote Appalachian schools, seven from remote non-Appalachian schools, and seven from less remote rural schools, totaling of 21 selected principals. The principals responses revealed six categories: (1) Leadership: These administrators did not embark on reform of mathematics education as if it were a personal mission; (2) Strategies: Two strategies were used by most schools: curriculum alignment and individualization; (3) Math Talk: Principals did not engage in much talk about the nature of mathematics learning or about new approaches to mathematics pedagogy;(4) Curriculum: Principals primarily thought about curriculum in relationship to standard-based reform; (5) Teachers' Role in Mathematics Reform: Although most of the principals expressed a commitment to math education reform, most saw reform as the responsibility of the math teachers at their schools; and (6) Impediments and Excuses to Reform: The principals described mathematics reform as a contested terrain fraught with challenges. Their complaints centered on the fact that instructional change was a complex job that was added on top of their already heavy and complicated workloads. Some principals stated that parent and community values interfered with reform. Other principals saw the reforms themselves as politically motivated, transitory, and difficult to address in substantive ways. Appended are: (1) Data on Study Schools; and (2) Research and Interview Questions. (Contains 3 tables.) [This monograph was produced with Solange Andrianaivo, Brian Boyd, Victor Brown, Roni Hayes, Marged Howley, Longun Lado, Sue Nichols, Megan Rhodes, and Ron Smith.]
Descriptors: High Schools, Leadership Responsibility, Educational Change, Rural Schools, Principals, Mathematics Education, Educational Improvement, Academic Standards, Administrator Role, Standard Setting, State Standards, Politics of Education
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM). Research Initiative, McCracken Hall, College of Education, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45710. Tel: 740-593-9869; Web site: http://www.acclaim-math.org/clearinghouse.aspx
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: High Schools
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Ohio Univ., Athens. Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics.
Identifiers - Location: Ohio