Profiling procedures used to initiate school improvement efforts: "A qualitative case study of outcome-based education implementation in a rural school district in Texas"
School improvement has been an issue in "effective schools" research for several years. However, there has been a lack of information about procedures used to implement school improvement programs. This dissertation added to the body of knowledge by profiling the implementation of a mastery-learning, outcome-based education program.
The purposes of this study were: (1) to chronicle procedures used to implement an outcome-based education program in a rural school district in Texas, and (2) to describe the applied aspects of the management model being utilized by the school district in the school improvement initiatives and some of the results.
Qualitative research methodology, using a case study approach, based on an ethnographic (naturalistic) perspective and personal interviews, was employed as the principal means of gathering data.
The review of the literature compares and contrasts related literature in three general areas: effective schools research, outcome-based implementation, and general business management.
The study suggested that school improvement efforts should be holistic and care should be given not to assume there is only one best way to implement school improvement efforts. The management model used by the district, the Outcomes-Driven Developmental Model (ODDM), was beneficial in focusing the district on both the holistic concept and at the same time guiding the district toward an outcome-based approach.
Recommendations for program improvement, program implementation, and for future studies were made. The recommendations for program improvement include a need to involve parents in the planning stages of a school improvement planning and to provide intensive training for teachers during the pre-entry stages of the school improvement program. Also, a word of caution was given to "labeling" a school improvement program with terminology that is subject to widely varying interpretations.
Recommendations for program implementation included developing a strategic plan, establishing a vision for student success, developing building-level commitment, empowering teachers, and establishing a succession program. A recommendation was made for a future study to determine the impact of mastery-learning, outcome-based education on students' learning over a longer period of time.