11 SES 09 B, Can We Trust Assessments to Improve Schools' Quality?
For much of the 20th century, the dominant image of teachers in research on the elementary school workplace was that of isolates, practicing alone behind classroom doors. Over the closing decades of the 20th century, however, another portrayal of the school workplace, one where teachers work together to plan lessons, solve instructional problems, and improve their teaching emerged in the literature. More specifically, scholars have shown how a school’s and/or an individual’s social capital can provide access to resources, such as information, that enable them to develop new knowledge and skills that in turn contribute to improvement in performance. In this paper, the authors define the construct of educational infrastructure and use it to empirically examine and theorize how educational infrastructure, as designed and implemented by school systems and schools, structures school staff interactions about instruction – a necessary if not sufficient condition for the development of social capital. By educational infrastructure the authors mean those resources that school systems and schools design and mobilize to guide classroom teaching, maintain teaching quality, and enable instructional improvement (e.g., curricular materials; student assessments; procedures and routines for analyzing evidence of instructional processes and outcomes; professional learning opportunities; and procedures and routines for structuring the work, such as routines for hiring, mentoring, developing, and evaluating teachers). Using longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data from all 14 elementary schools in one local public school system, we explore how the school system’s redesigned educational infrastructure (e.g., organizational routines, leadership positions, new curricula) influences school staff interactions about mathematics instruction. Further, we consider how the school system’s formal educational infrastructure interacts with the school building’s physical infrastructure - propinquity - to influence who school staff interact with about mathematics teaching and its improvement. Accordingly, our main research question is this: How—if at all—does propinquity in interaction with formal educational infrastructure influence interactions among school staff about instruction?
We take up our research question by bringing the literature on propinquity in organizations, mostly in organizations other than schools, into dialogue with the literature on teacher interactions in the schoolhouse. Our study documents how propinquity–the elephant in the schoolhouse that has been largely ignored by prior work on school staff interactions about instruction–influences interactions among elementary school staff and does so in interaction with formal educational infrastructure arrangements. Using a mixed-methods research design, we first show that propinquity matters to interactions among school staff and then, using both qualitative and quantitative data, we theorize how it matters to these interactions.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. “The Forms of Capital.” Pp. 241-258 in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, edited by J. G. Richardson. New York: Greenwood. Bryk, Anthony S., and Barbara Schneider. 2002. Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for Improvement. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Frank, Kenneth A., Yong Zhao, William R. Penuel, Nicole Ellefson, and Susan Porter. 2011. “Focus, Fiddle, and Friends: Experiences that Transform Knowledge for the Implementation of Innovations.” Sociology of Education 84(2): 137-156. Daly, Alan J., Nienke Moolenaar, Jose M. Bolivar, and Peggy Burke. 2010. “Relationships in Reform: The Role of Teachers' Social Networks.” Journal of Educational Administration 48(3): 359-391. 5 Frank, Kenneth A., Yong Zhao, William R. Penuel, Nicole Ellefson, and Susan Porter. 2011. “Focus, Fiddle, and Friends: Experiences that Transform Knowledge for the Implementation of Innovations.” Sociology of Education 84(2): 137-156. Giddens, Anthony. 1984. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hoff, Peter D., Adrian E. Raftery, and Mark S. Handcock. 2002. “Latent Space Approaches to Social Network Analysis.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 97(460): 1090-1098. Ibarra, Herminia. 1992. “Homophily and Differential Access in an Advertising Firm.” Administrative Science Quarterly 37(3): 422-447. Kabo, Felichism W., Natalie Cotton-Nessler, Yongha Hwang, Margaret C. Levenstein, and Jason Owen-Smith. 2014. “Proximity Effects on the Dynamics and Outcomes of Scientific Collaborations.” Research Policy 43(9): 1469-1485. Leana, Carrie R., and Frits K. Pil. 2006. “Social Capital and Organizational Performance: Evidence from Urban Public Schools.” Organization Science 17(3): 353-366. Lin, Nan. 2001. Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action. New York: Cambridge University Press. Moolenaar, Nienke M., Sjoerd Karsten, Peter Sleegers, and Alan J. Daly. 2014. “Linking Social Networks and Trust at Multiple Levels: Examining Dutch Elementary Schools.” Pp. 207-228 in Trust and School Life: The Role of Trust for Learning, Teaching, Leading, and Bridging, edited by D. Van Maele, P. B. Forsyth, and M. Van Houtte. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. Pil, Frits K., and Carrie Leana. 2009. “Applying Organizational Research to Public School Reform: The Effects of Teacher Human and Social Capital on Student Performance.” Academy of Management Journal 52(6): 1101-1124. Small, Mario L. 2009. Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press. Deliberation, and the Mobilization of Networks for Support.” Social Networks 47:
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.