SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

 

The School Improvement (SI) movement has expanded mainly during the past three decades. Initially SI was seen as an approach that should be used at the teacher level in order to develop teachers’ characteristics, attitudes and behavior in effectively promoting pupil’s learning. In other words, the teacher effectiveness literature was used as an instrument for teacher improvement and development. Later, SI research moved to the classroom and the school level because it was recognized that change and improvement should be focused not only at the teacher level, but also at the classroom and school level. Nowadays, it is recognized that any SI project should encompass approaches for organizational and cultural change, involvement of all levels of school and external agencies, focus upon classroom and student learning, as well as upon school conditions that facilitate this (Stoll et al., 1997).

 

SI definitions

According to Weindling (1994) “SI should be seen as a systematic attempt to improve teaching and learning which has as its focus the classroom and school” (p.144).

Stoll (1999) argued that “The ultimate goal of school improvement is to enhance pupils’ progress, achievement and development, to prepare them for the changing world – the bottom line” (p.32).

Harris (2000) supported that “The premise of this work (SI) is that neither external nor internal strategies for school improvement will affect the progress of students, unless the strategy impacts at the same time at different levels within the school” (p.3).

Hopkins (1996) defined SI as “A strategy for educational change that enhances student outcomes as well as strengthening the school’s capacity for managing change” (p.32).

Van Velzen et al. (1985) defined SI as: “A systematic sustained effort aimed at change in learning conditions and other related internal conditions in one or more schools, with the ultimate aim of accomplishing educational goals more effectively” (p.48).

 

Based on the above definition by Van Velzen et al. (1985), we may come to the following key-conclusions:

  (a) Any attempt for SI should be a systematic effort

  (b) The approach followed should aim at changing the learning and other related internal conditions of the school, and

  (c) The ultimate aim of the SI approach should be the accomplishment of the school’s educational goals in a more effective manner.

 

References

Harris, A. (2000). What works in school improvement? Lessons from the field and future directions. Educational Research, 41(1), pp.1-11.

Hopkins, D. (1996). Towards a Theory for School Improvement. In Gray, J., Reynolds, D., Fitz-Gibbon, C. and Jesson, D. (Eds), Merging Traditions: The Future of Research on School Effectiveness and School Improvement, London: Cassell.

Stoll, L., Reynolds, D., Creemers, B. and Hopkins, D. (1997). Merging school effectiveness and school improvement: practical examples. In Reynolds, D., Bollen, R., Creemers, B., Hopkins, D., Stoll, L. and Lagerweij, N. (Eds) Making good schools: linking school effectiveness and school improvement. London: Routledge.

Weindling, D. (1994). School Development: Lessons from Effective Schools and School Improvement Studies. In Southworth, G. (Eds), Readings in Primary School Development. London: The Falmer Press.

Stoll, L. (1999). Developing schools capacity for lasting improvement. Improving Schools, 2(3), pp.32-39).

Van  Velzen, W., Miles, M., Ekholm, M., Hameyer, U. and Robin, D. (1985) Making School Improvement Work: A Conceptual Guide to Practice. Leuven: Belgium, ACCO.