01 SES 04 A, Models for Change and Pedagogical Diagnostics
Especially schools in socioeconomic disadvantaged areas have to face challenging circumstances caused by external conditions (Teddlie et al., 2000). But schools’ underperformance can also be considered as results of insufficient process quality at school and classroom level (Holtappels, 2008). In general, school improvement approaches demand a high capacity for organizational learning in schools (Marks, Louis & Printy, 2000). But schools in challenging circumstances on average show low capacity for change and self-renewal, because struggling with external difficulties and suffering from internal problems often impede appropriate strategies. These findings are related to the contingency theory: Creemers, Scheerens & Reynolds (2000) make a distinction between internal and external contingency factors. Schools’ socioeconomic environment and the social composition of student body are external contingency factors, but internal factors as school policy, school organization, leadership, collaboration and teaching quality can make a difference. However underperforming schools would be regularly less able to define an effective school policy or to organize the school effectively to fit external and internal contingency factors.
Previous research about school and classroom factors in schools with difficulties show that in particular insufficient leadership competencies, low intensity of teacher collaboration and a poor learning culture constitute important predictors for failing (Chapman & Harris, 2004). Beyond this, schools in trouble often do act in a wrong direction by using inappropriate change strategies. However previous studies reveal that unexpected effective schools could manage turnaround, so students attain high achievements despite of unfavorable context conditions: Important factors for school turnaround comprise appropriate leadership practices, professional learning communities, teacher commitment and readiness for innovation (Muijs et al., 2004). Therefore, strategies for improvement have to focus mainly on enhancing the educational quality on class and school level by using external support and school-to-school networks (Chapman, 2008; Chapman & Harris, 2004).
The assumption is that in schools with adoption of innovative approaches, teacher commitment and sustainable work on development real school improvement will be visible. And we expect that in a high developed organizational culture goal-oriented and systematical development strategies are used more effectively than in other schools.
The paper will focus on impacts of context-sensitive school improvement strategies for schools in trouble. Considering previous empirical findings our study is based on a development project with 35 secondary schools in disadvantaged areas in Germany (2014-2020). A design-based school development program (according to Mintrop, 2016) has revealed suitable support and interventions for schools over four years through four elements (Holtappels et al., 2021):
- evidence-based analysis about quality development und data-feedback to schools,
- collaborative learning of schools’ stakeholders in school-to-school networks,
- suitable support by knowledge-transfer and further trainings,
- guided development procedures inside school by advisory services.
The project target focuses on initiating school improvement processes in schools facing challenging circumstances combined with school-to-school networks, evidence-based build on collected baseline data. Schools with similar problems and state of process quality regarding to pedagogical features worked together and learn from each other in these networks. In addition, every single school had got support by external guidance, advisory service and specific training programs.
Our empirical results will give answers to following research questions:
1) What kind of impacts of the intervention program features on quality improvement in schools could be identified?
2) How far could schools in trouble establish a conducive infrastructure for change and school development capacity of change that empowers them for problem solving in future?
3) Do factors of the organizational culture of schools (e.g. Leadership for learning, professional teacher collaboration) and systematic school development strategies make a difference in schools with trouble?
The study is embedded in a school development project “Developing potentials - empowering schools” with 35 secondary schools facing challenging circumstances in Western Germany. In the project was included a design-based school development program, which has comprised suitable support and interventions in schools by evidence-based analysis of problems after data-feedback, collaborative work in school-to-school networks, knowledge-transfer and trainings, counseling for guided development in single schools. Principals, teachers, students and parents were surveyed longitudinally by standardized questionnaires 2014 and 2018 capturing external and internal context factors of schools and perceptions concerning the school development process. The analyses are based on cross-sectional and longitudinal principal data (n=31), teacher data (n =1105/986) and student data (n=3183/2524) over two measuring points. Reliable scales measuring the teachers' perceptions of relevant teacher and school features are considered. Especially leadership for learning (MacBeath & Townsend, 2011) and teacher collaboration as professional learning communities were operationalized with new created Likert-scales. The analyses contain mean comparison tests, path analysis and structure equation models. Mean comparison tests are used to analyze differences between leadership patterns depending on the students body composition of schools; regression analyses are conducted to investigate relationships between leadership patterns and teacher collaboration, attitudes and beliefs of teachers and process elements of school development work. Multiple regressions and structure equation models will firstly check the influence of leadership for learning and teacher factors on teaching quality and instructional development, secondly impacts of the design-based improvement program on establishing school development capacity in schools. With regard to school quality models (Kyriakides et al., 2010) we draw attention on the development of school quality indicators on school and classroom level over time of four years in the schools of the project in order to examine main effects of the school development program. Beyond this the study analyses whether the schools could establish school development capacity as the ability for goal-oriented and systematic development work by analysis, evaluation, decision-making and common planning, for creating pedagogical concepts and for problem-solving. Further analyses consider the organizational culture of schools and relationship between leadership practices, readiness for innovation, professional collaboration, collective self-efficacy of teachers as well as on school and teaching development activities. Especially leadership for learning and professional teacher collaboration in teams seems to be crucial influence factors for effective school improvement (Webs & Holtappels, 2018).
The issues will show firstly the development of process quality factors at school and classroom level, getting different results over all indicators. There are no short term effects but taking into account the involvement of teachers in intensive school development activities we have got some effects over time. However the success of the intervention program vary from school to school. Secondly different analyses show that schools in challenging circumstances can build up school development capacity as the ability for goal-oriented and systematic development strategies; apparently the design-based school improvement program could contribute to this result. Considering process elements (as adoption of changes, teacher commitment and sustainability of innovative approaches) we have got strong effects on establishing school development capacity. Beyond these analyses show evidence that leadership on learning, professional teacher collaboration and use of systematic school development strategies have impacts on school improvement. Different patterns of leadership style get visible but leadership patterns of principals and teacher collaboration depend on the socioeconomic student body composition of schools. And leadership for learning is closely related to other school level factors and can affect intensive school improvement activities. Readiness for innovation and professional collaboration (Webs & Holtappels, 2018) show high effects on development of teaching quality. The organizational culture of schools, especially leadership for learning, effective change management by steering groups and professional teacher collaboration seems to be important factors to foster the development process, in whereas process factors as teacher commitment, adoption of innovative approaches and sustainable implementation contributes essential to real changes. The findings give clear opportunities for effective school development policies and new strategies for intervention to avoid failing of schools. The issues are important for an European perspective on effective intervention programs for schools in trouble.
Chapman, C. (2008). Towards a framework for school-to-school networking in challenging circumstances. Educational Research, 50(4), 403–420. Chapman, C. & Harris, A. (2004). Improving schools in difficult and challenging contexts: strategies for improvement. Educational Research, 46 (3), 219–228. Creemers, B., Scheerens, 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 Qualität von Schule. Journal für Schulentwicklung, 12 (1), 10–19. Holtappels, H. G., Van Ackeren, I, Kamarianakis, E., Kamski, I., Bremm, N. & Webs T. (2020). Das Schulentwicklungsdesign des Projekts „Potenziale entwickeln – Schulen stärken“ In: I. van Ackeren, H. G. Holtappels, N. Bremm & A. Hillebrand-Petri (Hrsg.), Schulen in herausfordernden Lagen – Forschungsbefunde und Schulentwicklung in der Region Ruhr. Das Projekt „Potenziale entwickeln – Schulen stärken“. Weinheim/Basel: Beltz Juventa, S. 38-71. Kyriakides, L., Creemers, B., Antoniou, P. & Demetriou, D. (2010). A synthesis of studies searching for school factors: implications for theory and research. British Educational Research Journal, 36 (5), 807–830. MacBeath, J. & Townsend, T. (2011). Leadership and Learning: Paradox, Paradigms and Principles. In T. Townsend & J. Macbeath (Hrsg.), International Handbook of Leadership for Learning. Part I (S. 1–25). Dordrecht: Springer. Marks, H. M., Louis, K. S. & Printy, S. M. (2000). The capacity for organizational learning: Implications for pedagogical quality and student achievement. In K. Leithwood & K. S. Louis (Eds.), Understanding schools as intelligent systems. Advances in research and theories of school management and educational policy (pp. 239-265), Jai Press: Greenwich, Conn. Mintrop, R. (2016). Design-Based School Improvement: A Practical Guide for Education Leaders. Cambridge/MA: Harvard Education Press. 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. Teddlie, C., Stringfield, S. & Reynolds, D. (2000). Context issues within school effectiveness research. In C. Teddlie & D. Reynolds (Eds.) The international handbook of school effectiveness research (pp. 160–185). London: Falmer Press. Webs, T. & Holtappels, H. G. (2018). School conditions of different forms of teacher collaboration and their effects on instructional development in schools facing challenging circumstances. Journal of Professional Capital & Community, Vol. 3 Issue: 1, pp.39-58.
- 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.