School improvement through a university-school partnership : a case study in a Hong Kong primary school
This thesis explores the impact of a school improvement model based on a university- school partnership in a Hong Kong primary school by studying the reactions of the professional staff to the reform initiative and the conditions for its success. Data were collected from multiple sources, including questionnaires, interviews and documents, but the descriptive interview remained the major source of data in the analysis of the results. Results indicated that: (a) the quantitative analysis showed a modest but consistent improvement in professional development in the teachers; (b) all the change agents contributed to school improvement; each agent was part of a complex dynamic, interwoven with the others, under the constraints of the school culture; (c) teachers’ capacity in designing and implementing teaching and learning activities was enhanced; (d) good teaching and learning programmes with appropriate implementation strategies had the greatest impact in changing the previous teaching paradigms and techniques; (e) partnership projects should be built on mutual trust and confidence, with a good mix of academic advice and practitioners' experience. The implications of the findings for improving primary schools and educational policy in Hong Kong are discussed. Directions for further research are also discussed. It is concluded that school improvement projects should pay more attention to the underlying principles of professional development, since those are crucial to their impact in schools.