The relationship between accountability mandates, school leadership, and school improvement: exploring the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on one school's efforts to bring about and sustain reform
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between accountability mandates, school improvement and reform efforts, and one school's efforts to achieve school improvement and reform. The research design was an exploratory case study of one Missouri elementary school. The researcher explored: (1) what school improvement looks like within the context of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; within this one school and (2) how stakeholders within the school make meaning of accountability mandates and its' effect on school improvement. Findings of the research project indicated this school and school district, while recognizing the importance of meeting NCLB requirements would strive toward school improvement and high student achievement without state and federally imposed mandates. The school and district were more interested in whether students show growth in their learning versus how well students achieve on one state mandated test. The school and district were committed to providing quality professional development. NCLB mandates caused this school to spend more instructional time on core subjects assessed by the state mandated MAP test. Teachers believe the state Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) were a positive outcome of NCLB legislation as the GLEs provided instructional and curricular focus. The principal appeared to be a stronger influence on school improvement efforts than NCLB mandates. Support from central office administrators appears to be essential for school improvement efforts to achieve success.
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