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Failure to Improve: Examination of Schools Unable to Benefit from External Assistance

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Abstract:

Utilizing the concepts from the first presentation, the second presenter will highlight the need for monitoring and preventing school decline by identifying challenges associated with chronically low-performing schools that were unable to improve despite external assistance. The second presenter reviews a series of studies (ex., Stringfield & Teddlie, 1991; Reynolds, et al., 2002) that point to the presence of ineffective and/or declining schools in the U.S. and internationally. Combining findings from those studies with his experience on the school board of a challenged district, he notes that almost all external school reform designs assume a level of institutional capacity that is consistently lacking in failing schools. This lack of capacity can exist at the school or the district level (Datnow, et al., 2006; Supovitz & Weinbaum, 2008). Any reform, or turnaround, must build on or create this capacity either as a precursor to or as an integral part of successful reform. These facts often have been misunderstood in prior research, thus perhaps explain how a recent Institute of Education Sciences practice guide titled “Turning around chronically low-performing schools” (Herman, et al., 2008) found only “low” levels of evidence pointing to any one or small set of characteristics of successful turnaround efforts. We simply have not known enough about the conditions of school decline. To the extent that we misunderstand and incorrectly diagnose the problems, we run great risk of prescribing and implementing interventions destined for failure. The presenter contrasts prior research with a few more promising studies of arresting and reversing decline (ex., Stringfield & Herman, 1995; Stringfield, Reynolds & Schaffer, 2008). He highlights the need for monitoring and preventing school decline by identifying challenges associated with chronically low-performing schools that were unable to improve despite external assistance. The presenter argues for building “High Reliability” structures into schools and school systems as a precursor to other, often more elegant reform efforts.
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Association:
Name: UCEA Annual Convention
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http://www.ucea.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378257_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Stringfield, Sam. "Failure to Improve: Examination of Schools Unable to Benefit from External Assistance" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California, <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378257_index.html>

APA Citation:

Stringfield, S. "Failure to Improve: Examination of Schools Unable to Benefit from External Assistance" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378257_index.html

Publication Type: Symposium Paper
Abstract: Utilizing the concepts from the first presentation, the second presenter will highlight the need for monitoring and preventing school decline by identifying challenges associated with chronically low-performing schools that were unable to improve despite external assistance. The second presenter reviews a series of studies (ex., Stringfield & Teddlie, 1991; Reynolds, et al., 2002) that point to the presence of ineffective and/or declining schools in the U.S. and internationally. Combining findings from those studies with his experience on the school board of a challenged district, he notes that almost all external school reform designs assume a level of institutional capacity that is consistently lacking in failing schools. This lack of capacity can exist at the school or the district level (Datnow, et al., 2006; Supovitz & Weinbaum, 2008). Any reform, or turnaround, must build on or create this capacity either as a precursor to or as an integral part of successful reform. These facts often have been misunderstood in prior research, thus perhaps explain how a recent Institute of Education Sciences practice guide titled “Turning around chronically low-performing schools” (Herman, et al., 2008) found only “low” levels of evidence pointing to any one or small set of characteristics of successful turnaround efforts. We simply have not known enough about the conditions of school decline. To the extent that we misunderstand and incorrectly diagnose the problems, we run great risk of prescribing and implementing interventions destined for failure. The presenter contrasts prior research with a few more promising studies of arresting and reversing decline (ex., Stringfield & Herman, 1995; Stringfield, Reynolds & Schaffer, 2008). He highlights the need for monitoring and preventing school decline by identifying challenges associated with chronically low-performing schools that were unable to improve despite external assistance. The presenter argues for building “High Reliability” structures into schools and school systems as a precursor to other, often more elegant reform efforts.


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