An ethnographic study of factors that elementary school principals perceive contribute to increased grade six mean composite scores on the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills over a six year period

Mercer, Gerald Neil James (1993) An ethnographic study of factors that elementary school principals perceive contribute to increased grade six mean composite scores on the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills over a six year period. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The Government of Newfoundland Department of Education has administered the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills to grade six students every three years since 1976. Newfoundland schools traditionally score below Canadian norms on these tests and strive to improve by implementing revised policies, guidelines, and up-dated curricula published by the Department of Education. Yet, only 31 schools in the province have succeeded in registering a mean composite score increase between 1985 and 1988 and again between 1988 and 1991. Following case study methodology reported by Yin (1984) and Merriam (1988), an exploratory study was undertaken to identify common factors that school principals perceive have contributed to the grade six increased mean composite scores. -- During May and June 1992, a survey was distributed to 31 school principals. Seventy-four percent of the surveys were returned. The analysis of the data revealed five distinct themes: Student Attitudes toward School; Innovation and Planned Change; Resource-based Learning as an Innovation; Public Perceptions of School Life; and Public Support and Principal Accessibility. These themes were explored further in four case study interviews. -- A sample of four survey respondents was identified using a purposive sampling method (Merriam, 1988). In February and March 1993, four focused interviews (Yin, 1984) were conducted and revealed five themes reflecting common principal perceptions and/or school practices. The four schools: -- 1. implemented interventions with an aim to foster positive student attitudes toward school; -- 2. implemented innovations that reflect current educational thought and respond to needs identified by teachers and administrators working together; -- 3. have support for school-wide innovations from educators and members of the community ; -- 4. serve parents who support their children's educational endeavours and a public that feels school is beneficial for children; and -- 5. have a staff that is committed to the educational welfare of students and to personal professional development. -- The researcher recommends that future studies continue to explore this phenomenon.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5083
Item ID: 5083
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 121-126.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Canadian Tests of Basic Skills; School principals--Newfoundland and Labrador--Attitudes

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