Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Organizational relationships in Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and SES -type programs
by Tan, Thomas Anthony, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2008, 175; 3341906
Abstract (Summary)

The Center for Education Policy (CEP, 2007) released a July 2007 NCLB report examining the effectiveness of assistance to schools that have been unable to achieve state defined student Proficiency goals for two consecutive years. This academic tutoring assistance known as Supplemental Educational Services (SES) was deemed to be important or very important by less than 10% of the districts surveyed.

How can we explain differences in outside of the school day academic tutoring programs that are mandated (SES programs under NCLB) and those that are willingly provided (SES-type programs by schools)? These differences in programs can be studied and understood through what economists call “principal-agent” theory to study the relationships among the participants. The principal-agent (P-A) theory had its origins in the study of the problems that arise when objectives of a principal and agent diverge. The purpose of the study is to understand the P-A related performance problems among the participants in Supplemental Educational Services (SES). This study will examine the P-A organizational relationships within the three primary SES and SES-type school program elements - individualized instruction, provider accountability, and student participation. The three research questions that were developed to guide this study are: (1) How does the principal-agent relationship explain what instructional strategies and practices are used by SES and SES-type providers in out of school hours programs? (2) How does the principal-agent relationship explain how SES and SES-type providers are accountable for student learning? (3) How does the principal-agent relationship explain how SES and SES-type providers manage student participation?

In comparing SES and SES-type after school tutoring organizations, data analysis revealed that principal-agent problems in Title I schools required to provide SES were greater than those Title I SES-type schools that willingly provided after school tutoring. The six major findings of this study found principal-agent problems in the areas of SES organizational barriers, beliefs in tutoring effectiveness, sub optimization of SES, non-performance based competition among SES providers, and relationships among parents, tutors, and educators.

Recommendations for successful SES implementation and improvement of current practice to address these principal-agent problems included increasing the outreach to parents, using an SES provider report card to rank provider performance, improved sharing of existing student data between school districts and SES providers, expanding the pool of students who could benefit from SES tutoring, and improving communications and coordination through an SES provider-school district advisory council. Suggestions for future research include comparing SES implementations in coastal vs. inland California school districts, study of student motivation in after school tutoring, greater cooperation between SES providers and school districts, and the effectiveness of comprehensive vs. academic after school tutoring.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hentschke, Guilbert
Commitee: Datnow, Amada, Mafi, Gabriela
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: NCLB, No Child Left Behind, Organizational relationships, Prinicipal-agent, SES, Supplemental, Supplemental Educational Services, Tutoring
Publication Number: 3341906
ISBN: 9780549982289
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