01 SES 11 A, Improving Schools - Challenging Circumstances And Professional Development Of Teachers
In some schools the average performance of students is significantly lower than could be expected. Van de Grift & Houtveen (2006) distinct four hypothesis and theories to explain underperformance of schools:
1. Compensation hypothesis. Schools are unable to compensate for the intake of many students with relatively low SES (Teddlie et al., 2000). This hypothesis is especially valid in regions with relatively many parents with low education. Schools need to compensate the fact that students have less knowledge then average students. These schools need first to organize basic issues - like a safe classroom climate, stimulating environment and assuring students will come to school at all – before even thinking about education. As a result, teachers in such areas need to work harder to achieve similar learning results as schools in an average region.
2. Additivity hypothesis. The composition of a school’s intake can have a substantial effect on students’ outcomes over and beyond the effects associated with their individual abilities and social class (Baumert et al, 2005). Reynolds & Teddlie (2000) found indications that schools in disadvantages areas have a higher risk of low output, even after correcting for social and economic backgrounds.
3. The contingency theory. Creemers et al. (2000) make a distinction between internal and external contingency factors. The neighborhood of the school, schools’ socioeconomic environment etc. are the external contingency factors. This is addressed in the compensation hypothesis. Internal factors are school policy, school organization, school board etc. Underperforming schools would be less able to define an effective school policy or to organize the school effectively to fit external and internal contingency factors.
4. Opportunity to learn theory. Students of underperforming schools do not get sufficient opportunities to learn to attain the minimum aims of the curriculum (Van de Grift & Houtveen, 2006), for example because of using text materials that are not suitable for attaining the basic objectives of the curriculum, lack of instruction time or weak teaching quality. Teachers at these schools show lack of knowledge and skills about the progress of their students and use insufficient procedures to support students.
We will present different approaches concerning analysis and improving of underperforming schools. The research questions draw focus on identifying school types of failing (Stoll & Fink 2002; Holtappels 2008) and to analyze the interplay between school quality, social context and educational success. Efforts to improve these schools will lead schools into a phase of transition, connected with the initiation of school development processes (Muijs et al, 2004).
Addressing the compensation hypothesis the paper of Isaac et al. focuses on relationships between statewide statistics concerning social indices and students` achievements on school level. The analyses show social index data about socioeconomic contexts and demonstrate unexpected high and low outcomes in different school types.
Holtappels et al. examine the contingency theory and will identify different school types concerning the relationship between student outcomes and external context conditions. By comparison of school types the school quality concerning school and classroom level factors and teacher behavior will be analyzed.
Uffen et al. study the opportunity to learn theory focusing on teaching skills in the classroom based on observations of pedagogical-didactical skills with regard to development of teacher concerns over time. Preliminary results will report about results concerning the performance of teachers.
Quesel et al. investigate about schools that could reach the turnaround after receiving critical evaluation results 30 months before. The analyses will present qualitative data about causes of crisis, the influence of diagnosis and key factors for the turnaround. The assumption is that cultural shift to a professional learning community has been decisive.
Baumert, J., Stanat, P., & Watermann, R. (2006). Schulstruktur und die Entstehung differenzieller Lern-und Entwicklungsmilieus. In Herkunftsbedingte Disparitäten im Bildungswesen: Differenzielle Bildungsprozesse und Probleme der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit (95-188). VS. Creemers, B., Scherens, J. & Reynolds, D. (2000). Theory development in school and effectiveness research. In D. Teddlie & D. Reynolds (Eds.), The international handbook of school effectiveness research (283-298). London: Falmer Press. Holtappels, H. G. (2008). Failing Schools – Systematisierung von Schultypologien und empirischer Forschungsstand. Journal für Schulentwicklung, 12 (1), 10–19. Muijs, D., Harris, A., Chapman, C., Stoll, L. & Russ, J. (2004). Improving Schools in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Areas – A Review of Research Evidence. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 15 (2), 149–175. Stoll, L. & Fink, D. (2002). Changing our schools : linking school effectiveness and school improvement. Buckingham: Open Univ. Press. Teddlie, C. et al. (2003). World class schools: International perspectives on school effectiveness. Routledge. Van de Grift, W. J. C. M., & Houtveen, A. A. M. (2006). Underperformance in primary schools. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 17(3), 255-273.
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