CORRELATES OF EFFECTIVENESS

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The Educational Testing Service conducted surveys in 55 cities across the nation to measure dissatisfaction rates among school district constituents (See 10/27/99 Education Week, “ETS Analysis Tracks Parent Dissatisfaction.”). Of the many important observations, one stands out:

Regular surveys of school district constituents are encouraged in order to continue to garner strong community support.

The SchoolMatch Survey of Perceptions gauges the perceptions of three major school system constituents: administrators, teachers and parents. Survey questions are based on the Correlates of Effectiveness and specific related elements in the following areas:

  1. Strong instructional leadership
  2. A comprehensive curriculum with an emphasis on learning
  3. A positive school climate
  4. Regular monitoring of performance and attendance
  5. High expectations supported by staff and students

More information about the Correlates of Effectiveness and effective school practices may be found in the Introduction, Part A of this report.

Data Collection:

Information related to the Correlates of Effectiveness is collected in two ways:

  • through interviews with school officials and leaders; and
  • through questionnaires administered to randomly selected groups of parents, teachers and administrators (all administrators in small districts).

The data obtained are used to establish the degree to which the correlates are perceived by each group to be operating in the East St. Louis School District.

The questionnaire uses a scale of 1-4 to evaluate the various elements of an effectiveness correlate:

  • 1 indicates an element is perceived to be very strong;
  • 2 indicates an element is perceived to strong;
  • 3 indicates an element is perceived to be weak; and
  • 4 indicates an element is perceived to be very weak.

An average score of 2.0 or lower for an effectiveness correlate indicates that the correlate is perceived to be established in the school district. Correlates whose average is greater than 2.0 need attention. Likewise, individual elements within a particular correlate can be improved when behaviors associated with effectiveness correlates and their individual elements are established; that is, school personnel consistently display them. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

Overview of Discussion

The discussion of perception survey results can take many forms. In some cases, auditors may consider variances among responses to individual elements, may comment on the most and least effective elements identified by each group, may identify patterns of agreement and disagreement, or may combine these, and other, approaches. In all cases, the form of the discussion is tailored to the unique variables and patterns within a particular school system.

In analyzing the perception survey data, it is important to look for significant differences and similarities in the aggregate group responses. Identification of such patterns offers school system leadership both pathways to improvement and opportunities to communicate the positive things happening in the district. The site visit team has identified some of the most significant findings related to each correlate of effectiveness.

For this report, SchoolMatch consultants searched for patterns of agreement that revealed the areas of greatest effectiveness and greatest concern for each of the five correlates. The lowest mean scores given by each group to individual elements indicated areas of greatest effectiveness. Conversely, the highest mean scores given by each group to individual elements indicated areas of greatest concern. The discussions focus on those elements to which all three group gave one of their lowest or highest mean scores, even when those scores meet or fall below the 2.0 level.

Please review the summary data presented on the pages following the discussion of results for each correlate in order to locate other patterns which may be helpful in enhancing that correlate within the district.

The following perception survey results were obtained from an analysis of all complete teacher and administrator perception surveys received in the SchoolMatch offices.


A. LEADERSHIP

This factor supports clear efforts to improve school effectiveness and student learning. The district is well organized in support of student priorities when the perceptions meet the value of 2.0. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

An analysis of the perception data for the LEADERSHIP correlate indicates that all groups meet the 2.0 level of effectiveness. The results:

  • Parents: 1.815
  • Teachers: 1.847
  • Administrators: 1.764

Overall Patterns:

Teachers perceive two elements as not established in the Osceola County School District:

  • B: Clear communication takes place in the school system
    (Note: Parent and administrator perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.)
  • H: School policy is clear and is the same for everyone.

    Parents perceive one element as not established:

  • G: School district leaders involve teachers, parents and students in decisions.
    (Note: Teacher perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.) Teacher perceptions only approach effectiveness on the following element:
  • F: The principals visit classrooms frequently.

    All other elements of this correlate are perceived positively (as indicated by scores of 2.0 or lower) by all groups.

    Areas of Greatest Effectiveness:

    All three groups agree that elements D and M are among the most effective aspects of Leadership in the school district:

  • D: The principals give teachers and staff members the chance to learn and improve.
  • M: Parents, teachers and students can talk with the principal when they need to.

    Areas of Greatest Concern:

    All three groups agree elements B and G may be areas of concern:

  • B: Clear communication takes place in the school system
  • G: School district leaders involve teachers, parents and students in decisions.

    Conclusions:

    There is clear congruence of perceptions among parents, teachers and administrators on the elements of the Leadership correlate. All three groups agree that building administrators are accessible (element M) and provide professional support to staff (element D). On the other hand, all three groups also express concern about lack of clear communication (element B) and constituent involvement in the decision-making process (element G). The data indicate the district should consider examining the patterns of communication within the district and with parents, and should examine decisionmaking policies and practices.


    B. EMPHASIS ON LEARNING

    This factor indicates that the schools' main priority is the learning of students. Distractions and interruptions of instruction and learning are minimized when this correlate is met at the 2.0 level. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

    An analysis of the perception data for the EMPHASIS ON LEARNING correlate indicates that all three groups meet the 2.0 level. The values given to the correlate are:

    • Parents: 1.791
    • Teachers: 1.739
    • Administrators: 1.668

    Overall Patterns:

    Parents and teachers agree that two elements of this correlate are not practiced in the school district:

  • F: There are few interruptions in the classroom.
    (Note: Administrator perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.)
  • N: The district provides students with computers at school and makes special arrangements for children who do not have computers at home.

    Teachers note that an additional element is not in place in the district:

  • J: Instructional materials are most important when making budget decisions.
    (Note: Administrator perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.)

    All other elements of this correlate are perceived positively (as indicated by scores of 2.0 or lower) by all groups.

    Areas of Greatest Effectiveness:

    All three groups agree that elements B and E are among the most effective areas of the Emphasis on Learning in the Osceola School District:

  • B: The school formally recognizes good academic work throughout the school year.
  • E: The school supports activities that help teachers improve their skills.

    Areas of Greatest Concern:

    All three groups perceive challenges in the following three areas:

  • F: There are few interruptions in the classroom.
  • J: Instructional materials are most important when making budget decisions.
  • N: The district provides students with computers at school and makes special arrangements for children who do not have computers at home.

    Conclusions:

    As with the Leadership correlate, clear patterns of agreement are apparent here. Especially positive is the agreement that the school supports professional development for teachers (element E), since this area was also seen very positively by all groups in the Leadership area (element D of the Leadership correlate). Also seen positively is the recognition of academic achievement given throughout the year (element B).

    Clear areas of concern also emerge. All groups have somewhat negative perceptions of the amount of interruptions on the classroom (element F), and agree that instructional materials are not top priority in budget decisions (element J), and that the district does not provide computer access to all students at school and at home (element N). The congruence of perception suggests district leaders may wish to give attention to budgeting for and acquiring instructional materials (including technology), and ensuring few interruptions of the daily learning process in the classroom.


    C. SCHOOL CLIMATE

    This factor is manifest in student respect for the physical plant, strong parent involvement and positive staff and student morale. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

    An analysis of the perception data for the SCHOOL CLIMATE correlate indicates that all three groups meet the 2.0 level. The values given to the correlate are:

    • Parents: 1.867
    • Teachers: 1.938
    • Administrators: 1.861

    Overall Patterns:

    All three groups perceive one element as not being established in the district:

  • H: Parents take part in many school committees and functions.

    Teachers and administrators agree that element J is not in place:

  • J: Teacher and student absences are low.
    (Note: Parent perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.)

    Also of note is that parent and teacher perceptions only approach effectiveness on element A:

  • A: Parent volunteers help out a lot at the school.

    All other elements of this correlate are perceived positively (as indicated by scores of 2.0 or lower) by all groups.

    Areas of Greatest Effectiveness:

    All groups agree that the following elements are among the most effective aspects of School Climate in the Osceola School District:

  • D: Teachers, staff and administrators cooperate well with each other.
  • E: The buildings and outside areas are clean and orderly.
  • F: There is acceptance of different student backgrounds.

    Areas of Greatest Concern:

    All three groups agree that the following three elements may merit attention in the district:

  • A: Parent volunteers help out a lot at the school.
  • H: Parents take part in many school committees and functions.
  • J: Teacher and student absences are low.

    Conclusions:

    Again, congruence of perceptions is apparent here. Positive elements stress the cooperation between teachers, staff and administration (element D), in line with related positive areas in the Leadership and Emphasis on Learning correlates. Also of note are the positive perceptions of acceptance of diversity (element F) and the cleanliness of facilities and grounds (element E).

    Areas that may need attention include parent involvement (elements A and H), which may be related to earlier concerns expressed in the Leadership correlated regarding communication and decision making. Another area of concern is high absences of students and teachers (element J).


    D. MONITORING STUDENT PROGRESS

    This factor indicates that systematic procedures exist for measuring student achievement. Such procedures document achievement in specific areas, establish need for instructional improvement and develop priorities for the allocation of resources. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

    Analysis of the perception data for the MONITORING correlate indicates that all three groups meet the 2.0 level. The values given to the correlate are:

    • Parents: 1.894
    • Teachers: 1.812
    • Administrators: 1.781

    Overall Patterns:

    Teachers perceive one element as not established in the district:

  • D: Teachers take attendance and contact parents when children are absent.
    (Note: Administrator perceptions only approach effectiveness on this element.)

    Parent perceptions only approach effectiveness on the following two elements:

  • A: Standards used to measure gains in learning are clear to everyone and stress what students know and what they can do.
    (Note: Parents and teachers give one of their highest mean scores to this element, indicating some concerns among these two groups in this area.)
  • G: Teachers help students one-on-one throughout the school day.
    (Note: Parents and administrators give one of their highest mean scores (more negative perceptions) to this element, while teachers give this element one of their lowest mean scores (indicating more positive perceptions) to this element.)

    All other elements of this correlate are perceived positively (as indicated by scores of 2.0 or lower) by all groups.

    Areas of Greatest Effectiveness:

    All groups agree element E is among the most effective areas of this correlate:

  • E: Tests are given regularly in all subjects to see how well students are doing.

    Areas of Greatest Concern:

    All groups agree one of the least effective areas is element D:

  • D: Teachers take attendance and contact parents when children are absent.

    Conclusions:

    There is less clear-cut congruence of perceptions among all three groups in this area (Monitoring Student Progress) than on the other correlates. Still, some patterns emerge. Overall, all three groups hold positive perceptions that the regular monitoring of student performance takes place (element E). This finding relates positively with the perception expressed in the Emphasis on Learning correlate that good academic achievement is regularly recognized (Emphasis on Learning correlate element B).

    However, there are some concerns that attendance is not taken regularly, nor are follow-ups initiated with parents about absences (element D). This finding is in line with perceptions expressed in the School Climate correlate that student and teacher absences are perceived to be high (School Climate element J).

    On at least one element significant disagreement appears. While teachers hold highly positive perceptions that students receive one-on-one help during the day, parents and administrators express concerns in this area (Element G). This apparent contradiction may result from the fact that parents and administrators are not physically present in the classroom throughout the school day, or from differing perceptions of what constitutes “one-on-one help.” Given the perceptions of lack of clear communication (Leadership correlate) and lack of parent involvement (School Climate correlate), it may be wise for teachers and administrators to consider ways to clarify classroom goals and practices, and to find ways to invite and encourage parent participation on a daily basis.


    E. HIGH EXPECTATIONS

    This factor indicates the school staff is dedicated to having each student learn at the highest possible level. Challenging experiences are conducted to have students contribute their best work. Values less than 2.0 show increasingly positive support, while values over 2.0 indicate declining support for an element or correlate.

    Analysis of the perception data for the HIGH EXPECTATIONS correlate indicates all three groups meet the 2.0 level. The values given to the correlate by each group are:

    • Parents: 1.671
    • Teachers: 1.574
    • Administrators: 1.669

    Overall Patterns:

    All elements of this correlate received mean scores of 2.0 or lower from all three groups surveyed.

    Areas of Greatest Effectiveness:

    All three groups agree the following elements are among the most effective of the High Expectations correlate:

  • B: Rules regarding attendance and promptness are made explicit in class.
  • D: Students are expected to be fully prepared for their classes.

    Areas of Greatest Concern:

    Although all scores achieve the effectiveness level of 2.0, it is still worthwhile to examine patterns of agreement to discern any potential areas of concern. All three groups give one of their highest mean scores to the following three elements:

  • F: Students are actively engaged with learning activities throughout most of the class time.
  • G: Classroom learning activities and materials are at a demanding cognitive level, e.g., materials require analysis generalizations and evaluation over memorization and recall.
  • I: Test scores on standardized tests exceed expected scores for comparable schools.

    Conclusions:

    The overall positive perceptions of this correlate are commendable and indicate a general high level of expectations for student learning. The data indicate that all groups surveyed are satisfied that students know they are expected to be present, on time and prepared for class (elements B and D). The positive perception that attendance rules are made clear in class (element B) is somewhat in opposition to earlier discussions of concern about student and teacher absences, and the lack of recording and follow up when students are absent (see discussions of School Climate and Monitoring correlates). However, it may be that although the rules regarding attendance are clear, problems may still exist in this area related to absenteeism and record-keeping.

    While perceptions overall are positive, the agreement in terms of high mean scores suggests some areas that may merit monitoring and discussion. All groups give one of their highest mean scores to elements related to students engagement in the classroom (element F), the rigor of learning materials and activities (element G) and student achievement (element I). As these areas are clearly interrelated, and in light of earlier concerns expressed about classroom interruptions and emphasis on instructional materials (see Emphasis on Learning discussion), district leaders may wish to involve members of all district constituencies in a careful examination of these important issues.

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