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ERIC Number: EJ918007
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 38
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0013-161X
Using School Mission Statements for Reflection and Research
Stemler, Steven E.; Bebell, Damian; Sonnabend, Lauren Ann
Educational Administration Quarterly, v47 n2 p383-420 Apr 2011
Purpose: Efforts to compare schools nationally tend to focus on educational outcomes (e.g., test scores), yet such an approach assumes that schools are homogeneous with regard to their overall purpose. In fact, few studies have attempted to systematically compare schools with regard to their primary aims or mission. The present study attempts to fill this gap by exploring the utility of school mission statements as a data source for comparing and systematically reflecting on the core purposes of schools nationwide. Research Design: A mixed-methods research design was implemented. In Study 1, true random samples of 50 high schools were selected from each of 10 geographically and politically diverse states, yielding a total of 421 mission statements that were ultimately coded and quantitatively compared. In Study 2, structured interviews were conducted with principals from diverse high schools to evaluate their perspectives on the usefulness of school mission statements. Findings: Results indicate that mission statements can be reliably coded quantitatively and that schools vary systematically and sensibly with regard to both the number and types of themes incorporated into their mission statements. Furthermore, consistent with prior research, the qualitative results showed that principals generally regard mission statements as an important tool for shaping practice and communicating core values. Conclusions: School mission statements are a valuable source of data that can be quantified for educational researchers and administrators interested in reflecting on school purpose, comparing schools with regard to their core mission, and monitoring changes in school purpose over time. (Contains 1 note, 5 tables, and 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A