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ERIC Number: ED525209
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Pages: 59
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
A Qualitative Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Planning & Sustaining of Small Learning Communities
Rochford, Joseph A.
Stark Education Partnership
Over the last several years, an understanding has been developing within the literature as to those elements which can best combine to produce increased student achievement within a small school environment. Many see such elements as, relationships, standards, rigor, student engagement, and others as part of a comprehensive whole. What is not generally understood are the relationships between these elements or their relative strengths. This review seeks to establish what current prevailing constructs are reflected in the sum of much of the literature, regardless of nature, which seeks to inform the small high school movement. Findings reveal that: (1) Vision, however, does appear to be a driving force; (2) There is no generalized agreement on the size of a small high school. Size is not a major factor in the literature on planning; (3) While there is not universal reference to the role of small high schools in raising expectations, when coupled with the elements of data and results, this emerges as a substantial factor as might be imagined; (4) Fifteen of the forty sources cite the importance of focused professional development; (5) Twenty-four sources cite the importance of collaboration and consensus among teachers and to varying degrees with other constituencies to both plan and sustain small high schools; (6) Leadership is a critical element in planning and sustaining small high schools when both the elements of principal leadership and distributed leadership are viewed in tandem; (7) The literature strongly supports the notion of powerful relationships in the small high school setting; (8) Alignment to external forces is a greater concern in sustaining, rather than planning small high schools as perhaps might be expected; (9) While teachers are clearly important and relationships and achievement are major drivers in the small high schools movement, there is scant overt evidence of the design of engaging student work or the reflection on such work and student participation in its design; (10) Interestingly, the notion of preparing all students for college and offering post secondary options is more prominent in the literature on planning than sustaining; (11) The notion of management or budgetary autonomy appears in slightly less than half the sources; and (12) While the notion of preparing all students for college is present, only three sources evidence any understanding of small high schools as part of a total P-16 continuum and even then, the term is not directly used. A bibliography is included. (Contains 9 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stark Education Partnership