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ERIC Number: ED546087
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 163
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-9175-3
Coherence as a Tool for Advancing Equity and Excellence
Kasmarick, Alexis Helene
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
School districts, as they work to raise the achievement of all students, must maintain a clear focus on student learning and align district work with that focus. This focus and alignment is referred to as coherence, meaning that the various parts of the district are designed so that they work in sync with one another to achieve district goals. While there has been a great deal written on school practices that produce success for all, there has been less written on district-wide practices and even less on the role that coherence plays in working with all students. Given this gap in the research, this study addresses the following question with a specific lens on leadership: What strategies do district-level leaders use that promote coherence around advancing equity and excellence? The theoretical framework of this study is primarily based on the coherence framework developed through the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard. This framework is examined through both a structural-functional perspective and a critical theory perspective. The research question is addressed using a case study approach. The case studied is a large district that has prioritized a focus on raising the achievement of all students and exhibited a system-wide approach to closing the achievement gap. Data collection included interviews with key stakeholders, document analysis, and focused observation. The findings of this study reinforced the elements of the coherence framework, with the exception of systems. For this reason, how coherence strategies impact organizational systems is an area recommended for additional research. In response to the research question, five primary themes were identified: creating a sharp and unwavering focus on the district goal, engaging closely with the instructional process, creating strong accountability to the district goal, aligning structures with the district goal, and developing and institutionalizing a shared definition of good instruction. Four secondary themes were identified: maintaining positive relationships among district stakeholder groups, fostering collaboration across and within schools, allocating resources in alignment with the district goal, and leveraging successes to change beliefs and cultivate more success. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A