Dimensions of secondary school effectiveness: Comparative analyses across regions

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Recent UK government policy implementing new systems of evaluation and accountability have highlighted the use of performance data to inform judgements about secondary schools and stimulate school improvement. However, these developments have been informed by a relatively small number of research studies addressing the methodology of measuring school effectiveness, and often employing limited or incomplete datasets. This paper reports the findings of an Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) funded study that employs 6 extensive and detailed regional datasets (drawn from Lancashire, London, Jersey, Scotland, the Netherlands and England as a whole). The study aims to provide new evidence to assist school staff, policy-makers and academics in understanding the multi-faceted nature of school effectiveness and the need to evaluate school performance in detail. The objectives were to investigate 1) the optimal models for measuring secondary school effectiveness across a range of outcomes in the UK and abroad; 2) the extent of regional differences in the results; 3) the definition of the underlying dimension(s) of school effectiveness across different regional and policy contexts. The findings show that at least 4 dimensions of secondary school effectiveness can be defined, specifically in terms of different outcomes, pupil groups, pupil cohorts and curriculum stages. In addition regional differences appear to exist in the size and impact of school effects, and these are mirrored by differences in regional context in terms of pupil selection. In conclusion it is argued that effectiveness at different levels of the education system (e.g., individual pupils; departments; whole school; region and nationally), as well as interactions between levels, needs to be continually monitored in order to map out the boundaries of school effectiveness and how these change over time. The findings are discussed in relation to developing a value added framework for school evaluation in the UK.
Translated title of the contributionDimensions of secondary school effectiveness: Comparative analyses across regions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285 - 322
Number of pages38
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Volume12 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge


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