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This study explored the efforts of shared decision-making teams (SDM) that were created by a state mandate and charged with improving student achievement in New York state. For example, under the mandate, a shared decision-making team composed of representatives from the administration, the faculty, and parents must be present in each public school building in New York. The teams operate under a set of mutually developed rules with the primary purpose of improving student achievement. In most districts, SDM teams had been in operation for a school year when this survey was conducted. Researchers studied the progress of 108 high school SDM teams (59% of the 183 surveys mailed) through a brief questionnaire that asked for decisions related to the improvement of student performance and methods used to measure the results of any implemented changes. Fifty-three SDM chairpersons (49.1%) reported that their teams had made decisions that had already had an impact on student achievement, and an additional 28.7% (31) indicated that their teams had made decisions that could have an impact on student achievement in the future. The most frequently made decisions were in the area of some type of modification of the instructional program. The next most frequently reported decision was in the area of raising academic standards. About two-thirds of the chairpersons indicated that an evaluation strategy was in place to measure the effects of changes implemented. These evaluations will make it possible to see if SDM results in changes that really improve student achievement. (Contains 15 tables and 16 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Cooperation, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Methods, Participative Decision Making, Standards, State Legislation, Surveys, Teamwork

Autor: O-Connell, Raymond W.; Yadegari, Shireen A.


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