ERIC Number: EJ1091541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
The Best Laid Plans: An Examination of School Plan Quality and Implementation in a School Improvement Initiative
Strunk, Katharine O.; Marsh, Julie A.; Bush-Mecenas, Susan C.; Duque, Matthew R.
Educational Administration Quarterly, v52 n2 p259-309 Apr 2016
Purpose: A common strategy used in school improvement efforts is a mandated process of formal planning, yet little is known about the quality of plans or the relationship between plan quality and implementation. This mixed-methods article investigates plan quality, factors associated with plan quality, and the relationship between plan quality and implementation, drawing on the first 3 years of a Los Angeles Unified School District school improvement initiative that relied on formal school planning. Research Design: Our research team rated all 206 school plans submitted to the district in the first 3 years of the initiative and drew on surveys of applicant teams and principals implementing the plans. We use these data in descriptive analyses to explore relationships between plan quality and various inputs and outcomes. We also utilized school- and system-level qualitative data to contextualize and explain our findings. Findings: We find that, although average plan quality was relatively low throughout the reform, quality increased during the first phase of the initiative but decreased in the second phase. The two critical elements of the reform intended to drive plan quality, competition and technical support, were negatively or not associated with higher quality plans. However, we find positive relationships between plan quality and reported implementation outcomes in the first phase of the reform, but not in the second. Conclusions: We explore possible explanations for these patterns using qualitative case study and interview data. In the conclusion of the article, we discuss the implications for future school improvement initiatives and research.
Descriptors: Educational Improvement, Educational Planning, Mixed Methods Research, School Districts, Educational Change, Program Implementation, Strategic Planning, Case Studies, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Public Schools, School Choice, Elementary Secondary Education, Least Squares Statistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED), Office of Innovation and Improvement
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A