School Self-Evaluation: Towards a Model to Enhance School Leadership in Jamaica

 
9789769583504: School Self-Evaluation: Towards a Model to Enhance School Leadership in Jamaica

This book is designed to advance a model of school self-evaluation (SSE) which when implemented improves leadership and student achievement. The model which outlines several issues that comprise an opportunity gap that has existed for decades was developed from research done in schools in Jamaica all with diverse characteristics such as location, ownership, type and grade. School Self-Evaluation explains the impact of the model on school leadership as well as advances several implications for the theory and practice of leadership development and the design and administration of other school self-evaluation models. Though the study traces the evolution of school self-evaluation, it gives an exclusive view of an instrument developed specifically for Jamaican schools as it is informed by measures which are locally used to determine school quality. Additionally, it relates how the instrument unearthed data and enacted processes to improve performance. This study captures the experiences and unmasked emotions of administrators who have been called upon to change school culture. It also exposes several triumphs and challenges of school leadership in the Jamaican context. Section One: The Model in Theory Chapter 1. The Historical Context Chapter 2. Education Transformation in Jamaica Chapter 3. Understanding the School as an Organization Chapter 4. Exploring Leadership Chapter 5. School Self-Evaluation Section Two: The Model in Development Chapter 6. Developing the Model Chapter 7. Applying the Model: Lessons Learned Chapter 8. The Model and its Implications Section Three: The Model in Practice Chapter 9. The Instrument

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About the Author:

Maurice D. Smith received his professional training at the Mico College. He is an honours graduate of the Northern Caribbean and Nova Southeastern Universities and a Jamaica (2010) Fulbright Scholar who earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree (with high commendation) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Howard University. He is credited with the establishment of Belmont Academy, Jamaica s first Centre of Excellence. He is the Principal Director of the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), a certified Performance Coach, Commonwealth Professional Fellow in Education, conference speaker and author.

Review:

This book, School Self-Evaluation: Towards a Model to Enhance School Leadership in Jamaica, could have value as a text on leadership and school improvement. It would have value to school principals or aspiring principals and school board members, ministries or departments of education in any jurisdiction. It could also serve as reference for scholarly work due to the rigour of the research. It may have limited use outside of the education sector for which the research is specifically designed. The concept of self-evaluation, however, is an important management tool with applicability for all disciplines related to general management. It is of note that the education sector represents a significant enterprise and constitutes a fairly significant market. As presented the objective is to present SSE as major tool for school improvement largely by its impact on school leadership. The work makes reference to a number of prior research to make the point of the value of leadership in improving school performance as well as how the use of SSE as a mechanism or tool can close the divide between high performing and low performing schools the term opportunity gap was introduced and defined in the context of the research design used by the researcher. The book concludes that the outcome of the case study in UH and TH proves the hypothesis or objective of the study. In my view it also raises a number of questions as to utility is it a tool for accountability or for school self-improvement? Is it an internal document to feed school improvement or is it an accountability document to be shared? The book adds rigour and empirical evidence to the body of work which already exists on SSE. It is also significant that the case studies were done on Jamaican schools which share some similar characteristics with other school systems in the Caribbean (to the best of my knowledge this is new research). It could also have relevance to countries with issues with ethnic minorities and how traditionally they have performed versus other ethnic groups the US and UK come to mind. This would give utility to SSE as a mechanism for identifying underlying causes for underperformance. The rigour as set out in the manuscript with regard to how to approach SSE is what is an added contribution to the existing body of works. Its attempt to position SSE as the quintessential management tool may in my opinion be reaching but it does give preeminence to the value of investigation and the use of empirical data to inform action for improvement. The work abounds with references to other scholarly works on matters related to leadership, quality teaching and SSE that impacts school effectivenes. The research methodology mixed method is appropriate for the type of study as it takes account of both quantitative as well as qualitative data in the analysis and from various sources. ---Jean Hastings, Reviewer

THE TEXT IS THE CONCLUSION of a study designed to advance a model of school self-evaluation (SSE) which would improve leadership and address the decades-old opportunity gap between upgraded and traditional high schools in Jamaica. Sixteen such schools with diverse characteristics (location, ownership, type and grade) were studied. This sequential explanatory mixed methods study included a survey of both performance standards in each institution and the competencies displayed by 48 administrators; semi-structured interviews with eight principals; and two focus group discussions. Quantitative and qualitative data were statistically and thematically analysed and their outcomes discussed individually and cumulatively. The results revealed SSE s positive impact vis-à-vis skills and competencies honed by administrators, but identified performance gaps between school types, and inconsistent implementation reflecting issues related to policy, provisions, processes and people. The research outcomes advance several implications for the theory and practice of leadership development and the design and administration of school self-evaluation. --- Author Smith

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