Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Struggling schools should focus on single goal, research suggests

Date:
January 22, 2013
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
When schools are failing, new research suggests, administrators should focus on a single, annual goal if they want to obtain higher graduation rates.

When schools are failing, new research from Indiana University suggests, administrators should focus on a single, annual goal if they want to obtain higher graduation rates. Schools will be less effective if they focus on a range of what could be considered less critical goals including athletic success, compliance with No Child Left Behind standards and discipline.

To reach their conclusion, authors William G. Resh, assistant professor in IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and David W. Pitts, associate professor of public affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., studied a range of statistics, including graduation rates, for all Georgia public high schools.

Their article, "No Solutions, Only Tradeoffs? Evidence of Goal Conflict in Street-Level Bureaucracies," was published in the January-February issue of Public Administration Review. That journal is edited by faculty at IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, Ind.

"It is tempting for school administrators to think that by making improvements across a variety of areas, they'll see higher graduation rates," Resh said. "That may be true in schools serving relatively well-off families. But we've determined that's not a strategy for success for schools serving neighborhoods with average or above-average poverty rates."

Compounding the challenge for school administrators is the pressure to meet a host of "lower order" objectives such as effective discipline and athletic success. A focus on several of these more immediate goals can result in a "zero sum trade-off" where one area improves while results in another slide.

"If struggling schools truly want to excel, then their efforts, energy and resources should go toward narrowing the range of lower-order goals to those that are most likely to align with the ultimate goal of improving graduation rates," Resh said. "But there's a lesson here for any street-level bureaucracy that's not seeing results. 'Keep Your Eye on the Prize,' as civil rights activists used to sing, and don't get sidetracked by diversions."

The authors acknowledge that's easier said than done and there are unforeseen consequences for choosing one goal over another.

"For example, what are the implications of focusing on academic achievement in lieu of student discipline? If a school chooses a basic, no-frills, punitive discipline policy, will the ramifications in the community in terms of lower civic engagement and higher crime outweigh the initial benefits that the school might see in the way of higher test scores and more effective classroom learning?" Resh and Pitts write.

More research will help answer questions like that, the authors conclude. For now, though, they say it's clear that administrators at impoverished and struggling schools are better off focusing on one goal instead of many.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William G. Resh, David W. Pitts. No Solutions, Only Trade-Offs? Evidence about Goal Conflict in Street-Level Bureaucracies. Public Administration Review, 2013; 73 (1): 132 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02623.x

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Struggling schools should focus on single goal, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122101336.htm>.
Indiana University. (2013, January 22). Struggling schools should focus on single goal, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122101336.htm
Indiana University. "Struggling schools should focus on single goal, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122101336.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins