Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators

By J. Douglas Willms | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Schooling Processes

The task of this chapter is to identify some of the key components of schooling processes that might be useful to teachers and administrators, and provide some strategies for their measurement. The first section lists some of the general problems entailed in collecting process data, and asks whether it is a worthy enterprise. The second section provides a map of the territory, and, like a world map, offers only one of many possible projections, and is necessarily on a large scale. The section that follows presents a list of key components of schooling processes and makes some suggestions for their measurement. The penultimate section discusses some of the issues concerning the measurement and interpretation of data on schooling processes. The chapter concludes with a list of guidelines for the development of indicators of schooling processes. In Chapter 10 I elaborate the idea of using process data as part of a school or district research program.


Should We Collect Data on Schooling Processes?

Researchers have demonstrated that there are statistically significant differences between schools in their outcomes (e.g., Gray, 1989; Lockheed and Longford, 1991; Murnane, 1975; Raudenbush and Bryk, 1986; Willms, 1986), but after two decades of serious effort, they have made little progress in determining why some schools are more successful than others. Reviews of the school effects literature provide long lists of variables found related to instructional outcomes, but most reviews consider only the statistical significance of observed effects, not their magnitude. Those that consider magnitude suggest that the effect of any particular school policy or organizational variable is weak (for example see Chapter 8, Section 5 of Bridge, Judd, and Moock, 1979). At best the literature points to general factors, such as those comprising the five-factor model: strong administrative leadership, a safe and orderly climate, an emphasis on basic academic skills, high teacher expectations, and a system for monitoring pupil performance (see Chapter 3).

Part of the problem is that there are so many factors that affect schooling outcomes, and most of them are complex and difficult to describe and measure. Factors like 'principal leadership' are multifaceted (Bossert, Rowan,

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Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables and Figures viii
  • Preface x
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Social and Political Context of Monitoring Systems 12
  • Chapter 3 - Monitoring Systems and the Input-Output Model 28
  • Chapter 4 - The Estimation of School Effects 38
  • Chapter 5 - Measuring Pupil Inputs 50
  • Chapter 6 - Schooling Processes 64
  • Chapter 7 - Schooling Outcomes 82
  • Chapter 8 - Design of a Monitoring System 91
  • Chapter 9 - Analyses for an Annual Report 103
  • Chapter 10 - A Research Program 120
  • Chapter 11 - Conclusions 143
  • Technical Appendix 157
  • References 163
  • Index 175
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