ERIC Number: EJ694985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun
Reference Count: 51
Systemic Factors in School Improvement
Byrne, Grainne; Gallagher, Tony
Research Papers in Education, v19 n2 p161-183 Jun 2004
Many official strategies for school improvement appear to be based on an assumption that schools operate as autonomous units, hence the privileging of school-based characteristics that are taken to provide indicators of effectiveness. However, if the systemic relationships between schools are recognized then it may be that the establishment of effective characteristics in one school may simply shift problems onto other schools in the system rather than dealing with underlying issues. This paper explores this notion using data that have been drawn from a large-scale examination of the effects of the selective system of education in Northern Ireland (Gallagher & Smith, 2000 ). In theory the systemic constraints on school improvement may be less evident in a selective system since the role and mission of the schools are differently designed. The paper, however, argues that the selective system actually exacerbates the pressures identified above. A system of academic selection, allied with open enrolment, exaggerates systemic pressures and creates a situation where most of the negative consequences of the system bear down on a limited number of secondary schools, typically those located in urban areas and serving economically disadvantaged communities.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Economically Disadvantaged, Urban Areas, Educational Change, Educational Improvement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland; United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)