CONTENT AND PERFORMANCE
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Shane Jimerson
In the summer of 1997, Santa Barbara School District embarked on a program of educational reform for schools that integrated high academic standards for all students, teacher preparation designed to assist students to achieve those standards, and a variety of assessments that measured student achievement. The assessments helped teachers to modify instruction as well as helped students improve learning. The Elementary and Secondary Santa Barbara School Districts worked closely with the National Alliance for Restructuring Education in revising the standards.
The program was designed to:
The Standards Program, a joint effort between the Santa Barbara School Districts and the Gevirtz Research Center, documented the process that the District utilized to revise the content and performance standards in grades K-12. The purpose of documenting the process was to establish an exemplar so that other districts embarking on similar tasks may benefit from an understanding and evaluation of the process experienced in the Santa Barbara School Districts. The program aimed to assist with the development of the evaluation component and examined student outcomes following implementation. The study determined the impact of the entire process on students and teachers.
The research team developed a documentation plan that specified the dimensions of the process and identified the central aspects. Santa Barbara School District administrators and process participants (teachers, administrators, board members, and parents) were contacted to obtain archival documentation of process activities.
A random selection process was used to generate equal representation of teachers, parents, and administrators from each of the schools in the district. A survey was sent to the representative sample of 62 participants. The survey had quantitative and qualitative components.
This facilitated the development of a chronology of events which transpired as Santa Barbara School District developed standards at both the elementary and secondary levels. Interview protocols were utilized with process participants to determine level of engagement and reaction to process. Details of the systematic process of developing content and performance standards were summarized in a report in order to inform the Santa Barbara School Districts and other districts regarding best practices in the development of standards.
Overall, the research findings suggested that the process of developing revised standards used by the Santa Barbara School Districts was successful. Participants at both elementary and secondary levels were similarly satisfied with the process and the results. While many participants felt that the organization, efficiency, and administrative support could have been increased, they felt that the standards will provide increased consistency and accountability in the Santa Barbara School Districts.
The strongest relationship among variables was between being satisfied with the manner in which the standards were developed and being satisfied with the final draft of the content standards developed for the district. Moreover, feeling important to the process was significantly correlated with all other variables. The implications from the convergence of these two findings is that positive outcomes result from setting up a meeting environment in which each participant feels like an important contributor and is involved in driving the process as well as the product.