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A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: MAIN FEATURES AND IMPACT ON STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

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Presentation by Leonidas Kyriakides, Department of Education, University of Cyprus, Cyprus.

ABSTRACT
This paper refers to the dynamic approach to school improvement (DASI) which attempts to contribute to the merging of educational effectiveness research and school improvement. The main underlying assumptions and the implementation phases of DASI are presented. The recommended approach gives emphasis to school policies and actions taken to improve teaching and the school learning environment. Moreover, the importance of establishing school evaluation mechanisms and collecting data to identify improvement priorities is stressed. Furthermore, DASI emphasizes the use of the available knowledge base in relation to the main aims of the efforts made by schools to deal with the different challenges/problems being faced. Therefore, a research and advisory team is expected to support school stakeholders develop, implement, and evaluate their own school improvement strategies and action plans. Group-randomization studies investigating the impact of DASI on promoting student learning outcomes are also presented. These studies reveal the conditions in which DASI can promote student learning outcomes. Finally, suggestions for research, policy and practice are provided.


Presentazione di Leonidas Kyriakides ( Università di Cipro) in occasione del suo intervento al convegno internazionale "Migliorare la scuola" (Napoli, 14-15 Maggio 2015), organizzato dall'Indire.

Published in: Education
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A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: MAIN FEATURES AND IMPACT ON STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

  1. 1. A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: MAIN FEATURES AND IMPACT ON STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES Leonidas Kyriakides Department of Education, University of Cyprus, Cyprus International Conference “Improve the school” Naples, Italy, 14th and 15th May 2015
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Educational Effectiveness Research (EER) addresses the questions on what works in education and why. EER has been improved considerably by the criticism on research design, the sampling and statistical techniques. Methodological advances have enabled more efficient estimates of teacher and school differences in student achievement to be obtained. Progress was made by a more precise definition of the concepts used and the relations between the concepts.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION The whole process has not contributed significantly to the improvement of school effectiveness. The dynamic model of educational effectiveness attempts to define the dynamic relations between the multiple factors found to be associated with effectiveness. Teaching and learning are dynamic processes that are constantly adapting to changing needs and opportunities. Effective schooling should be treated as a dynamic, ongoing process. The establishment of the dynamic model and its empirical testing is expected to help EER to establish stronger links with educational improvement practice.
  4. 4. PRESENTATION OUTLINE 1. The dynamic model of educational effectiveness: an overview 2. Testing the validity of the dynamic model 3. Using the dynamic model to develop an evidence-based and theory-driven approach to school improvement: A Dynamic Approach to School Improvement (DASI) 4. Investigating the impact of DASI upon student achievement gains 5. Conclusions and suggestions for further research
  5. 5. 1. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW
  6. 6. FIGURE 1: THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS
  7. 7. 1. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW Each factor is defined and measured by taking into account five dimensions: frequency, focus, stage, quality, and differentiation. Frequency refers to the quantity that an activity associated with an effectiveness factor is present in a system, school or classroom. This dimension may not always be related in a linear way with student outcomes. The other four dimensions examine qualitative characteristics of the functioning of the factors and help us describe the complex nature of educational effectiveness.
  8. 8. 1. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW School Factors Emphasis is given to two main aspects of the school policy which affect learning at both the level of teachers and students: a) school policy for teaching and b) school policy for creating a learning environment at school. The factors concerned with the school policy mainly refer to the actions taken by the school to help teachers and other stakeholders have a clear understanding of what is expected from them to do. Support offered to teachers and other stakeholders to implement the school policy is also an aspect of these two overarching factors.
  9. 9. 1. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW  The processes which are used to evaluate the school policy for teaching and the school learning environment (SLE) are investigated.  The following four factors at the school level are included in the model: 1. school policy for teaching and actions taken for improving teaching practice, 2. policy for creating the SLE and actions taken for improving the SLE, 3. evaluation of school policy for teaching and of actions taken to improve teaching, and 4. evaluation of the SLE
  10. 10. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW 1. School policy for teaching and actions taken for improving teaching: I. School policy on quantity of teaching (e.g., policy on the management of teaching time, policy on student and teacher absenteeism, policy on lesson schedule and timetable). II. School policy on provision of learning opportunities is measured by looking at the extent to which the school has a mission concerning the provision of learning opportunities, which is reflected in its policy on curriculum. We also examine the extent to which the school attempts to make good use of school trips and other extra-curricular activities for teaching/learning purposes is investigated. III. School policy on the quality of teaching
  11. 11. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW  The way school policy for teaching is examined reveals that effective schools are expected to:  make decisions on maximizing the use of teaching time and the learning opportunities offered to their students,  support their teachers in their attempt to help students learn by using effective teaching practices.
  12. 12. THE DYNAMIC MODEL OF EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: AN OVERVIEW 2. School Policy for creating the SLE and actions taken for improving the SLE:  Five aspects of SLE are taken into account: I. student behavior outside the classroom, II. collaboration and interaction between teachers, III. partnership policy (i.e., relations of school with community, parents, and advisors), IV. provision of sufficient learning resources to students and teachers, and V. values in favor of learning
  13. 13. 2. TESTING THE VALIDITY OF THE DYNAMIC MODEL
  14. 14. TABLE 1. EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE MAIN ASSUMPTIONS OF THE DYNAMIC MODEL EMERGED FROM EMPIRICAL STUDIES AND META-ANALYSES Assumptions of the dynamic model Studies Meta-analyses 1. Multilevel in nature All All 2. Five dimensions can be used to measure a) teacher factors 1, 2, 4, 5 b) school factors 1, 3, 4 1 3. Impact of teacher factors on learning outcomes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 2 4. Impact of school factors on learning outcomes 1, 3, 4, 6 1 5. Situational character of school factors 1 6. Relations among factors operating at the same level: stages of effective teaching 1, 2, 5, 6 2 7. Changes in the functioning of school factors predict changes in the effectiveness status of schools 3 Negative results in relation to any assumption None None
  15. 15. Table 1. Empirical evidence supporting the main assumptions of the dynamic model emerged from empirical studies and meta-analyses Studies: 1. A longitudinal study measuring teacher and school effectiveness in different subjects (Kyriakides & Creemers, 2008). 2. A study investigating the impact of teacher factors on achievement of Cypriot students at the end of pre-primary school (Kyriakides & Creemers, 2009). 3. A follow-up study testing the validity of the model at the school level (Creemers & Kyriakides, 2010a). 4. A European study testing the validity of the dynamic model (Panayiotou et al., 2013). 5. A study in Canada searching for grouping of teacher factors (Kyriakides, Archambault, & Janosz, 2013). 6. An experimental study investigating the impact upon student achievement of a teacher professional development approach based on DASI (Antoniou & Kyriakides, 2011). Meta-analyses: 1. A quantitative synthesis of 67 studies exploring the impact of school factors on student achievement (Kyriakides, Creemers, Antoniou, & Demetriou, 2010). 2. A quantitative synthesis of 167 studies searching for the impact of generic teaching skills on student achievement (Kyriakides, Christoforou, & Charalambous, 2013).
  16. 16. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI)
  17. 17. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) A. Main features  The Dynamic Approach to School Improvement (DASI) promotes the design of school improvement projects that are based on a theory which has been tested.  The DASI has its own theoretical framework which refers to school factors that need to be considered in introducing a change.  School stakeholders are those who take decisions on which improvement actions and tasks should be carried out.  The Advisory and Research Team (A&RTeam) is expected to share its expertise and knowledge with practitioners and help them develop strategies and action plans that are in line with the knowledge-base of EER.  DASI emphasizes the role of school evaluation (especially its formative function) in improving the effectiveness status of the school.
  18. 18. FIGURE 2: THE DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
  19. 19. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 1. Establishing clarity and consensus about the general aims of school improvement: considering student learning as the main function of the school  It is important to start with a clear understanding of the destination and how improvement of quality in education will be achieved.  Commitment to collaborative work needs to be established but people have different perceptions of change.  It is difficult to reach consensus among the participants in school reform efforts, albeit this may be crucial in its success.  Student learning should be considered as the ultimate aim of any school improvement effort.
  20. 20. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 2. Establishing clarity and consensus about the aims of school improvement by addressing school factors which influence learning and teaching  Presenting the dynamic model can assist school stakeholders’ understanding of the necessity of developing a School Self- Evaluation (SSE) mechanism, which will collect data about each school factor and its dimension.  School stakeholders should not only be aware of the factors that need to be addressed but they should also understand that addressing them can help them achieve better learning outcomes.
  21. 21. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 3. Collecting evaluation data and identifying priorities for improvement  Drawing on the expertise of the A&RTeam, analysis of the data can be conducted and its results will help school stakeholders identify priorities for improving the functioning of specific factors and/or grouping of factors.  The improvement area has to be announced to the whole school community and comments/reactions should be considered in defining the area in a way that helps not only the teachers but also parents and students understand the factors that are addressed.
  22. 22. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 4. Designing school improvement strategies and action plans by considering the available knowledge-base about the factor(s) addressed  The dynamic model refers to qualitative characteristics of the functioning of factors which increase their impact on learning.  Members of the A&RTeam share their expertise and knowledge with school stakeholders, providing additional input to existing ideas, experiences and knowledge.  Effective policies are not only those which are clear to the stakeholders but also take into account the ability of the stakeholders to implement the policy.  The final decisions are taken by the school, as development of action plans does not only require putting into practice what is available in the literature, but also adopting the guidelines to the needs of the stakeholders of each school.
  23. 23. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 5. Monitoring the implementation of the improvement project through establishing formative evaluation mechanisms  The role of the A&RTeam is important, as their expertise in conducting evaluation is shared with school stakeholders.  School stakeholders develop internal evaluation mechanisms to monitor the progress of their improvement efforts.  Exchange of ideas and experiences between stakeholders and the A&RTeam may help school stakeholders agree on how to improve their action plans.
  24. 24. 3. USING THE DYNAMIC MODEL TO DEVELOP AN EVIDENCE-BASED AND THEORY-DRIVEN APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: A DYNAMIC APPROACH TO SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (DASI) 6. Conduct a summative evaluation to measure the impact of DASI  Positive findings are expected to increase the commitment of a school to the DASI.  Summative evaluation may help school stakeholders decide whether the factor(s) addressed have been substantially improved, and resultantly if a new priority for improvement and new action plans need to be developed.
  25. 25. 4. INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF DASI UPON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT GAINS
  26. 26. TABLE 2. EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF USING DASI RATHER THAN PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES THAT ARE BASED ON PRACTITIONER’S EXPERTISE Area of investigation Impact on factors Ultimate aims 1. Using DASI rather than HA to offer INSET to primary teachers (n=130) Only teachers employing DASI managed to improve their teaching skills DASI had an impact on student achievement 2. Using DASI rather than CBA to offer INSET course on assessment (n=240) DASI had a stronger impact than CBA on improving assessment skills of teachers at stages 2, 3 and 4 DASI had an impact on student achievement 3. Using DASI to establish school self- evaluation mechanisms in primary schools (n=60) Not examined since schools had to deal with different improvement areas DASI had an impact on student achievement 4. Integrating DASI with research on bullying to help schools (n=79) in five European countries to establish strategies to face and reduce bullying DASI had an impact on school factors DASI had an impact on reducing bullying 5. Using DASI to promote quality and equity in socially disadvantaged schools (n=40) DASI had an impact on school factors. DASI had an impact not only on student achievement, but also on reducing unjustifiable differences between students’ achievement.
  27. 27. Table 2. Experimental studies investigating the impact of using DASI rather than participatory approaches that are based on practitioner’s expertise Studies: 1. The impact of a dynamic approach to professional development on teacher instruction and student learning: results from an experimental study (Antoniou & Kyriakides, 2011). 2. Searching for stages of teacher skills in assessment (Christoforidou, 2013). 3. The impact of school self-evaluation upon student achievement: a group randomisation study (Demetriou & Kyriakides, 2012). 4. Using the dynamic model of educational effectiveness to design strategies and actions to face bullying (Kyriakides, Creemers, Muijs, Rekers-Mombarg, Papastylianou, Van Petegem, & Pearson, 2013). 5. Kyriakides, L., Charalambous, E., Michaelidou, A., & Creemers, B.P.M. (2014). Promoting student learning outcomes in socially disadvantaged schools: The impact of the dynamic approach to school improvement. Paper presented at the 4th Meeting of the EARLI SIG Educational Effectiveness "Marrying rigour and relevance: Towards effective education for all“. University of Southampton, UK, 27-29 August, 2014.
  28. 28. 5. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
  29. 29. 5. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH  The research agenda of EER should be expanded and cover issues associated not only with modeling and evaluating effectiveness but also with the development of a theory- driven and evidence-based approach to school improvement.  We need to investigate the role of the A&RTeam in supporting schools to improve their effectiveness and the impact of formative evaluation in school improvement efforts next to the role of summative evaluation.  Only few studies investigated the impact of effectiveness factors on promoting equity.
  30. 30. 5. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH  Further research is needed to identify whether factors included in the dynamic model are associated both with the quality and the equity dimension of educational effectiveness.  Since there is some evidence showing that schools can achieve both dimensions of educational effectiveness (Kyriakides & Creemers, 2011), we need to develop further the dynamic model and examine whether DASI can promote both quality and equity in education.
  31. 31.  For more information on how the studies were conducted, please visit our websites below. Information on specific references is also provided.  www.ucy.ac.cy/jls  www.ucy.ac.cy/esf  www.ucy.ac.cy/equality
  32. 32. Thank you for your attention! _______________________________________________________ Leonidas Kyriakides Department of Education, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, CYPRUS Tel. 00357-22892947, Fax: 00357-22894488 Email: kyriakid@ucy.ac.cy

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