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Title: Networks for school support and improvement : a mixed methods study
Author: Lindorff, Ariel Mariah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 8332
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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From 2010 to 2016, public schools in New York City were required to affiliate with one of approximately 60 Children First Networks (CFN). These networks were designed to provide a broad range of support for instruction, leadership, curriculum, and operations in schools, as well as facilitating collaboration between schools, with the ultimate goal of raising student achievement. Using mixed methods, the research presented in this thesis investigates relationships between these networks and student achievement, and explores processes and interactions relevant to collaboration and school improvement within and between schools and their affiliated networks. The overall explanatory sequential mixed methods design began with a quantitative phase, in which secondary data were analyzed using multilevel modeling to determine whether there was an overall effect of networks on student achievement on state assessments in literacy and mathematics. Contextualised value added (CVA) school effects were also investigated at this stage, and the results were used to inform the sampling of schools for the qualitative strand of the project. Qualitative inquiry used a case study approach, with the "case" defined as the network structure as a whole, and embedded cases consisting of 10 schools in several different networks. Interviews were conducted with various stakeholders (principals, teachers, and network staff) to access multiple perspectives and experiences of network roles, participation and collaboration in networks, and how these relate to school improvement. Main findings from the quantitative analysis demonstrate little evidence of an overall effect of networks on student achievement, but show significant variation between schools' CVA effects. Qualitative findings offer insight relevant to these results, as accounts of participants at different levels of the network structure vary regarding the nature, extent and impact of schools' involvement with networks. Focusing on an under-researched network structure and applying rigorous methods from educational effectiveness research within a mixed methods design to study networking and collaboration in education, this study makes an original and substantive contribution to both of these fields. Findings have the potential to inform relevant policy in New York City, and though results from this context must be generalized cautiously, this research may provide useful considerations for policymakers in other settings by adding to the broader evidence base on the effects of school networks and the processes and interactions within them.
Supervisor: Sammons, Pamela Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: School improvement programs--Case studies