Assessing change in school climate : high school students' feedback on school-wide reform
Lusky, Melissa Beth
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Educational reform is an ongoing process that has seen many incarnations over the past four decades. Initially beginning as a top down process dictated by individuals far removed from the school site, then shifting to a bottom up process dictated largely by school personnel. Reforming education has become both a top down and bottom up process. Despite the number of years and the number of evolutions in the reform process, questions remain unanswered about the success of educational reform efforts. Additionally, when success has been declared, it has been based primarily on feedback from teachers or other school personnel. Given that students are central to the success of educational reform, it is surprising that there are so few studies that focus on student feedback. In the current study, counseling psychologists obtained student feedback on the intended outcomes of school-wide reform in an attempt to determine its effectiveness in changing school climate. The findings from this study illustrate that students can provide valuable feedback about the reform process. The data also demonstrate that school reform efforts have varying effects on students according to differences in gender, ethnicity, length of experience with the intervention, and class standing. Clearly, efforts to assess the effectiveness of school reforms must be based on more than teacher feedback alone. School reform efforts should be both school- wide and individualized to address the unique needs of different student groups. Ultimately school restructuring is a complex issue that demands comprehensive and sustained efforts to maximize its impact in creating schools that are empowering for every one.
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