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A review of the school-effectiveness literature found that the concept of school effectiveness has been shaped by researchers and policymakers, not by those being asked to implement the concept. This paper presents findings of a study that sought to establish an understanding of what "school effectiveness" meant to the people involved in implementation at the local level. Data were obtained from a survey of the principal, 3 teachers, 3 parents, and 3 students (in the secondary schools only) from 81 schools in Victoria, Australia, and from 64 schools from 7 states in the United States. A total of 1,000 responses were received--427 from Victorian respondents and from 573 American respondents. The American sample, particularly principals and teachers, reported higher levels of concern with the outputs of education, and the Australian sample expressed more concern with the process components that help to shape education, such as a balanced curriculum and an emphasis on student personal and social development. However, both groups identified similar conditions that lead to school effectiveness--good leadership and staff, sound policies, and a safe and supportive environment in which staff, parents, and teachers are encouraged to work as a team toward common goals. Finally, almost 60 percent of each group indicated that their schools were more effective than other schools, which indicates a resounding measure of support for the work of schools. Seven tables are included. Appendices contain descriptions of the 18 elements of an effective school, demographic characteristics of the sample, and statistics on the role of the effective school by country and position. (LMI)

Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Cross Cultural Studies, Educational Environment, Educational Improvement, Effective Schools Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, Parent Attitudes, School Effectiveness, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes

Autor: Townsend, Tony


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