Louise Stoll, David Reynolds, Bert Creemers and David Hopkins
We noted in the previous chapter the two groups of persons who have been involved in attempting to improve the quality of education. School effectiveness researchers have examined schooling in order to find out why some schools are more effective than others in promoting positive outcomes (see review by Sammons et al., 1995), and what characteristics are most commonly found in schools that are effective for their pupils (Reynolds et al., 1989; Cotton, 1995; Sammons et al., 1995). School improvement researchers have focused their studies on the processes that schools go through to become more successful and sustain this improvement (Miles and Ekholm, 1985; van Velzen, 1987; Louis and Miles, 1990; Fullan, 1991).
In the latter years of the 1980s and the early years of the 1990s, however, there have emerged in a number of countries intervention projects which are neither effectiveness based nor school improvement oriented, as defined by the limits of the old disciplines conceptualised and outlined in Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5. Much of this 'convergence' or 'synergy' between the two paradigms has, in fact, resulted from practitioners and local authority/district policymakers borrowing from both traditions because they do not share the ideological commitment to one or the other way of working of researchers in the fields; while some has arisen through the effects of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in breaking down disciplinary as well geographical boundaries.
Sometimes the adoption of ideas from research has been somewhat uncritical; for example, the numerous attempts to apply findings from one specific context to another, entirely different, context when research has increasingly demonstrated significant