Title

A comparison of elementary schools utilizing the Comer intervention model and those not utilizing the model in an urban school district

Date of Completion

January 1989

Keywords

Education, Administration

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Many Americans believe that family background and home environment are principal determinants of school performance. Since 1971 research has accumulated which contradicts this notion and concludes that, in and of itself, family background neither causes nor precludes elementary school effectiveness. This notion has led many urban school districts to design and implement school improvement programs based on effectiveness indicators and characteristics of school effectiveness.^ This study investigated one such program, the Comer School Improvement Program. The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a significant difference between elementary schools utilizing the Comer model and elementary schools not utilizing the model regarding effectiveness data variables: student achievement, student attendance, student suspensions, teacher transfers, teacher attendance, and student retention, and effective schools' characteristics: (1) safe and orderly environment, (2) clear school mission, (3) instructional leadership, (4) high expectations, (5) opportunity to learn and student time on task, (6) monitoring student progress, and (7) home/school relations.^ Effectiveness data variables were collected from the archives of the school district's central office. Twelve principals and 253 teachers were asked to respond to the Connecticut School Effectiveness Questionnaire to assess their perceptions of the existence of effective schools' characteristics. Over 98% of the staff and principals responded to the questionnaire.^ Step-wise discriminant function analysis was utilized to determine if the two groups of schools were equivalent prior to treatment on 1977-78 effectiveness data variables. Because teacher attendance was found significantly different between the two groups of schools, analysis of covariance with teacher attendance as the covariate was used to determine if the Comer and non-Comer schools were significantly different regarding 1985-86 effectiveness data variables (Hypothesis 1).^ Step-wise discriminant function analysis was utilized to determine if there was a significant difference between the Comer and non-Comer schools regarding staff and principals' perceptions of the existence of the seven effective schools' characteristics (Hypotheses 2 and 3).^ The results of the study indicated that there were no significant differences at the.05 level between elementary schools utilizing and not utilizing the Comer model regarding effectiveness data variables and effective schools' characteristics. ^