Quieting educational reform ⋯ with educational reform

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The authors report on an evaluation of a comprehensive school reform initiative in one elementary school intended to provide meaningful and sustainable structure, substance, and support to the school's critical need to improve students' standardized test scores. Serious implementation and communication problems during the year of the evaluation suggested that the reform itself was misdirected. Teachers' accounts of their participation in the initiative suggested that some experienced it as a confusing set of external programs they were required to implement without adequate training or support. Sometimes, the reform programs actually conflicted with test preparation pressures and activities, and even with one another. The authors struggled as evaluators to find ways to connect to the dynamics of this complicated context, especially ways that could enact their evaluative commitments to responsiveness, the public good, and ethical practice. They were thwarted by apathy, withdrawal, and silence. This article offers the authors' reflections on the contours of evaluative commitments in challenging contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-352
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

Keywords

  • Evaluation contexts
  • Evaluation ethics
  • Evaluator role
  • School reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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