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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

School improvement planning in two urban middle schools
by Cepela, Genevieve D., Ph.D., Illinois State University, 2007, 211; 3290553
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated requirements for school improvement planning in two middle schools that failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress during the past 4 years. The study was designed to investigate the activities, deliberations, products, and impact of the Illinois State Board of Education's mandated school improvement planning requirements within designated Title I middle schools in status in the System of Support.

The study was conducted in four phases. The first phase included selection of the schools and the participants to be involved in the case study. The second phase included an analysis of documents associated with the schools chosen for the study. The interview phase consisted of on-site interviews, email correspondence and telephone interviews. Qualitative analysis was used in the final phase of the study. The information collected through both document examination and interviews of personnel was coded and matched against the research questions developed for this study.

The findings of this study included the following: (1) Prior to mandated school improvement planning under No Child Left Behind, the district required that both middle schools plan for school improvement through the internal review process as part of their commitment to continuous improvement. While the planning process has been in place at both schools for many years, one school has higher levels of participation than the other school. (2) School improvement planning at both schools emphasized the need for comprehensive professional development that resulted in support from outside trainers and improved instructional strategies. (3) In a district that already utilized top-down management, this district became more so after the schools entered the System of Support. (4) The required technical assistance from the Regional Office of Education proved of little value to the schools in the study. (5) The use of the predictive assessment ThinkLink became an important tool in the educational process at both schools. Strong reliance on this assessment tool has led many local educators to diminish interest in such activities as analysis of local assessment results and curriculum mapping. Recent trends at both schools suggest that school improvement planning is more narrowly targeted on test results and more fragmented as a schoolwide endeavor.

Indexing (document details)
School: Illinois State University
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Middle schools, No Child Left Behind, Predictive assessments, School improvement, Status, Top-down management, Turning points, Urban schools
Publication Number: 3290553
ISBN: 978-0-549-33916-8
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