Title

An analysis of organizational capacity as a mediating feature of school reform implementation as it relates to Connecticut's Public Act 99-288: An act concerning underperforming schools and school readiness

Date of Completion

January 2003

Keywords

Education, Administration

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines policy initiatives that were implemented as a result of Connecticut's Public Act 99-288: an act concerning underperforming schools and school readiness. This act was passed in October 1999, and required identified underperforming schools to draft improvement plans that would identify comprehensive reform strategies. These were to be implemented towards the aim of improving student achievement. An additional requirement was one that identified schools that would undertake a process to become accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. ^ Using case study methodology, this study seeks to address this question: To what extent has one identified underperforming school implemented comprehensive reform strategies, and how did organizational capacity serve as a mediating feature in the implementation of those strategies? ^ Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, non-participant observation, and document analysis centering on the implementation process. Data are analyzed through Newmann, King, and Rigdon's (1997) framework of organizational capacity as a measure of internal accountability and its impact on the sustainability of comprehensive school reform initiatives. ^ Findings suggest that the four dimensions of organizational capacity considered here influenced implementation of reform strategies, and can be seen as important factors in determining whether or not a school is capable of achieving policy goals. ^ This study indicates that an important factor needed to sustain a policy is the organizational capacity to carry out reform. Insights are provided that might aid other underperforming schools that are undertaking comprehensive reform in the implementation of initiatives directed toward improved student achievement. ^