School effectiveness and School Improvement

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Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


This chapter reviews literature that is pertinent to the study in relation to the basic research question of the study. The literature review consists of the school improvement programme‟s major components, which include school management and leadership, teaching and learning, school learning environment, parent and community participation and the context of the Ethiopian Education and Training Policy with regards to school improvement programme implementation.

Major Components of the School Improvement Programmes (SIP)

The first component to be discussed is education management as it influences the leadership of schools.

Educational Management

Schools as organisations need strong leadership and strong management for optimal effectiveness (Luncenburg, 2001:1). Managers advocate stability and the status quo and carry out responsibilities, exercise authority, and worry about how things get accomplished. Leaders advocate changes and new approaches, and are concerned with understanding people‟s beliefs and gaining their commitment (Kotter, 1990, cited in Luncenburg, 2001:2). In the view of the above definition, school management is the combination of the different administrators‟ actions and their roles in the operation of a school while school leadership is about coping with change in the school.
Luncenburg (2001:5) explains that the management process involves planning and budgeting, organising and staffing, and controlling and problem solving, whereas the leadership process involves developing a vision for the organisation, aligning people with that vision through communication, and motivating people action through empowerment and through basic need fulfilment. He then concludes that the management process reduces uncertainty and stabilises the organisation by implementing the vision and direction provided by leaders, coordinating and staffing the organisation and handling day-to-day problems while the leadership process creates uncertainty and change in the organisation.
Good management skills transform a leader‟s vision into action and successful implantation. Effective implementation is the driving force of school success, especially in relatively stable, domesticated schools (Luncenburg, 2011:3; Colin, 2014:152). Underpinning this, Bass (2010:4) suggests that there is greater opportunity for more input from group members at all levels of education systems. Bass (2010:5) also explains that in today‟s dynamic work place we need school leaders to challenge the status quo and to inspire and persuade the school community. We also need school managers to assist in developing and maintaining a smoothly functioning school as a work place.
The concept „school management‟ can be examined in different ways. Firstly, it can be examined as a subject of study that is concerned with principle and practice of school administration. Secondly, it can be seen as a hierarchy of people and their functions within a school as an organisation. Thirdly, it can be seen as the effective use of resources in a school in a bid to achieve the goals of the school that involves decision-making, organizing, staffing, controlling, communicating and directing (Adeyemi & Olusola, 2008:1). In this definition, school management consists of practical measures which one can take to ensure that the system of work used in school will be of the greatest possible assistance in carrying out the school aims with the greatest possible benefit to school children.
Education management as a specific term can be conceptualised as a process of getting activities completed efficiently and effectively with and through other people. In other words, it is a process of working with and through individuals and groups and other resources to accomplish organisational goals. It is a continuous process through which members of an organisation seek to co-ordinate their activities and utilise their resources in order to fulfil the various tasks of the organisation as efficiently as possible (UNESCO, 2009:12-13). It is an activity involving responsibility for getting done through other people. UNESCO (2009:14-15) further explains that management is concerned with the internal operation of educational institutions, and also with their relationships with the environment, that is, the communities in which they are set, and with the governing bodies to which they are formally responsible. In the perspectives of this definition, school management is an organised body or system or structure or arrangement or framework in the schools which is undertaken for ensuring unity of effort, efficiency, good will and proper use of resources.
In the light of the above presented data, it is clear that school management involves the ability to control or carry out an action for the purpose of the school. It is a social process designed to ensure the cooperation, participation, intervention and involvement of people in the effective achievement of a given objective in the school. The goals can be achieved through effective planning, organising, directing, motivating, controlling, budgeting and evaluation of the teaching and learning process (Quinn, 2009:56). From the above statement, it can also be noted that managing is about maintaining efficient and effective current school arrangements that often exhibit leadership skills; where its overall function is toward the achievement of maintenance (Bush, 2007:1). Within this concept school management is related to implementation and technical issues.
More to the point, the school has to provide its managers with legitimate authority to lead so that they will be able to lead effectively; and then to assist in developing and maintaining a smoothly function workplace in the school. At the same time, the school management body is expected to challenge the status quo and inspire and persuade the school community (Lunenburg, 2007:145; Bass, 2010 14-15). School managers in the school conquer the context – the volatile, turbulent, ambiguous surroundings that seem to work against the school improvement reforms. Bennis (2007:12) and Garland (2013:20-21) summarise the concept of managers and leaders as: “managers do things right, while leaders in the school do right things”. In summary from the definitions above, school management is a process of working through teachers and other stakeholders in order to enhance the achievement of the students. It is also a practice concerned with the operation of school education as an organisation; and an executive function for carrying out agreed policy, strategy and programmes of school improvement. School improvement management is, therefore, a set of activities directed towards efficient and effective utilisation of school resources in order to achieve school improvement programme goals.
Garland (2013:20) stipulates that in order to be effective in school improvement programmes, school managers have to change their style of management from the autocratic style based on laws and regulation and work together towards personal development and the development of the school. He also emphasises that school managers need to listen, consult, engage in dialogue more and identify needs of teachers, parents and teachers. Bass (2010:16) also argues that school managers, teachers, parents and learners have to work together to plan personal development and development of the school. The main purpose of a school‟s existence is to enable the teaching and learning process to take place. Underpinning this, Garland (2013:15) explains that the school improvement programme and the school managers must create conducive conditions that allow quality teaching and learning. The school management team, together with teachers, learners and parents‟ committees, must aim at promoting high standards of learning and teaching. The next section will present the different styles of school management.

Styles of School Management

Managers have to perform many roles in a school and how they handle various situations will depend on their style of management. A management style is an overall method of leadership used by a manager and it is often used to describe the „how‟ of management. It is a function of behaviour associated with personality. It is the way in which a manager performs his responsibilities, particularly relating to his subordinates (Ayalew, 2009:9) According to Uche, (2012:4) and Ayalew (2009:12), a management style is the adhesive that binds diverse operations and functions together. It is not a procedure on how to do, but the management framework for doing. Uche also emphasises that managers utilise different styles for different situations when interacting with different people.
Management styles therefore vary according to the experiences of different leaders and the most commonly exhibited styles of management include: autocratic management style, participative management style, management by walking around and the laissez faire style of management (Uche, 2012:3 – 9; Ayalew, 2009:14). These are explained below:
Autocratic management style is a strict, top-down, chain of command approach. Procedures are maintained in exquisite detail and enforced by frequent audits. Autocratic managers attempt to simplify work to gain maximum control. In this style of management planning, including quality of planning is centralized. It is the belief that in most cases the workers cannot make contributions to their own work. The leader makes all decisions unilaterally.
Participatory management style is the belief that the workers can make a contribution to the design of their own work. Workers are internally motivated, they take satisfaction in their work, and would like to perform at their best (Uche, 2012:5). He further argues that managers who practice this style establish and communicate the purpose and direction of what the organisation should be, and develops a set of shared plans for achieving the vision.
Laissez faire management style is the direct translation of „leave well alone‟ and this is exactly what managers who subscribe to this style do. Middle managers and subordinates are just left to get on with their jobs and given the minimum of guidance; they succeed or fail on their own (Uche, 2012:6).
Situational management style is a process where managers adjust their styles to the situation that they are presented with (Uche, 2012:7). As Uche (2012:8-9) and Ayalew (2009:15) explain, there are a number of situational management styles and these are: Telling: works best when employees are neither willing nor able to do the job (high need of support and high need of guidance); delegating: works best when the employees are willing to do the job and know how to go about it, that is, low need of support and low need of guidance; participating: works best when employees have the ability to do the job, but need a high amount of support, that is, low need of guidance and but high need of support; selling: works best when employees are willing to do the job, but do not know how to do it, that is, low need of support but high need of guidance.
Since the styles of management are many and varied, Uche (2012:204) further suggests that organisations should employ management styles that are people orientated, goal orientated and task orientated in order to foster motivation of the workforce and commitment of employees to goal attainment and increase the effectiveness of the organisation and the researcher concurs with this suggestion. Therefore, in view of the above school management styles, this study examines to what extent secondary school managers use them in implementing the school improvement programme. The next section presents key strategies of school management for school improvement.

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Key Strategies of School Management

As Hopoper, & Potter, (2000: 60-61) and MacBeath, & Mortimore, (2010:56) explain management is about getting systems to operate effectively in four key strategies managers use to ensure operational effectiveness. These are:

  • Planning and Budgeting: creating systems for operational efficiency is the first step to creating an effective and well run school planning. Planning is about setting up the system, procedures and time tables necessary to make your school work effectively. It is about assessing your physical, financial, and human resources, and allocating them according to priority and need. Planning is about ensuring that everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and by when to do it. Every school should have a set of planning, policy documents, drawn up by management team, which provide the framework for effective management a school improvement.
  • Organising and staffing: Making sure that everyone knows what is expected – a compressive set of planning and policy documents forms a very important part of effective management, but the documents do not themselves promote effective management: they simply set out expectations about the way things should be done. Management becomes effective when effective systems are put in place to ensure that staff and students are aware of what is expected, that is, they know what is in the policy documents and, more importantly, that systems are put in place to ensure that the school operates according to the policies and procedures as they are laid down in these documents. Once the policies and procedures are in place, it is important that the principal and his management team delegate to individuals and groups the responsibility for ensuring that the plans, policies, and procedures are adhered to.
  • Controlling and Problem Solving: Making it happen – delegating responsibility for the various management functions listed in the planning and policy documents does not ensure that the policies are adhered to or even that these function are carried out at all. It is important therefore in any management structure to have a system for monitoring progress and performance to ensure that tasks are completed on time and to an acceptable standard. Systems therefore need to be put in place for reporting on and monitoring progress and performance on a regular basis. These systems serve two functions. They ensure that the job is done on time and according to acceptable standards, and they give warning of potential problems with tasks when deadlines are not met or when tasks are incomplete and/or where quality are poor.
  • Predictability and Order – Perhaps the greatest value of good management is that it creates an expectation of predictability and good order. In a well managed school there is good order, things happen on time, as planned, and to an agreed standard. The stability created by this sense of order and predictability established an environment which is conducive to effective teaching and learning. Teachers, pupils, and parents know how things function and what to expect. Operation efficiency is at the heart of good education and is the product of good management practices.

In the view of key strategies of school management above this study identifies in (9-10) secondary school to what extent the school principals uses the strategies in their respective schools. Next page will present change and school improvement plans.

Change and School Improvement

The school improvement and change tradition emerged in industrialised countries as a decentralised approach to school reform within nationally set policy and accountability structures (Bry , 2010:1; Ayalew, 2009:17). School improvement is concerned with how schools can effect beneficial change for students in terms of teaching (Bry, 2010:2) and the quality of experience. It has been defined as the process of enhancing the way a school organises, promotes and supports learning (Mitchell, 2014:4). Improving school internal conditions requires the involvement of all levels of the school community (Hopkins, 2001:23), demanding leadership change for the school as an organisation and a professional learning institution. According to Mitchell (2014: 4), key elements of school improvement are:

  • Self-evaluation – with inputs from all levels of the school community for the purpose of identifying barriers to learning (MacBeath, 2010:2);
  • Development planning – with broad based participation in decision making to foster ownership and ensure impact across all levels of the school (Hopkins, 2001:13);
  • Continuous professional development (CPD) which emphasises the schools as places for learning for staff as well as students (Mitchell, 2014:4).

Each of these elements has been a feature of the Ethiopian school improvement programme (SIP) policy in the last decade, starting with the national programme for teachers (MOE, 2004:12), followed by the school improvement programme (MOE, 2007:6), which fits Harries‟ (2000:17) conception of a mechanistic, top-down programme.

Chapter I – Introduction to the Study 
1.1 Introduction
1.3 A Brief History of Education Reform in Ethiopia
1.4 Motivation of the Study
1.5 Contribution of the study
1.6 Statement of the Problem
1.7 Significance of the Study
1.9 Delimitation of the Study
1.10 Operational Definition of Key Terms
1.11 Chapter Divisions
1.12 Summary
Chapter Two – The Research Conceptual Framework 
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Definition of School Improvement
2.3 School effectiveness and School Improvement
2.4 A Brief History of School Improvement at Global Level
2.5 Principles of school Improvement
2.6 The Types of school Improvement Programmes
2.7 Domains and Major Elements of School Improvement Programme
2.8 The School as an Organisation in the Perspective of School Improvement  44
2.9 Summary
3. Review of Related Literature 
3.1 Introduction
3.2. The context of the Ethiopian Education and Training Policy
3.3. Summary
4. Research Methodology and Design
4.1 Introductions
4.2 Short Description of the Research Site Iluababor Administrative Zone Education
4.3 Research Paradigm
4.4 Research Methods
4.5 Population and Sample Population
4.6 Data collection Techniques
4.7 Validity and Reliability
4.8 Ethical Issues
Chapter 5 – Analysis and Interpretation of Data 
5.1 Introduction
5.2. The Analysis and Interpretation of Demographic Data
5.3 The Analysis and Interpretation of Data from Questionnaires
5.4 Interviews results on sub- basic Research Questions from the respondents
5.5 Focus group Discussion Result Made with PTAs and Student Council Members
5.6 Documents Analysis Results of SIP from Iluabaor zone Education Department
Chapter 6 – Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation of the Study 
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Conclusion of the Study
6.3 Recommendation of the Study
List of References 

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