National University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 6405-6413
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Leadership is usually measured by the success of the end product, but does not always consider the factors influencing student achievement, teacher morale, teacher preparation and school climate. This study was designed to determine to what extent teachers collaborating on a common goal would impact students’ performance. Participants included 100 teachers and 300 students from a large urban multicultural high school in Southern California. To study this concept, a 12-month practicum was designed to align the curriculum with district standards, the state framework, and Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) materials to improve student achievement.

A key component of this study revolved around teachers taking ownership for developing their own staff development activities as a result of analyzing school and student data. Strategies for curriculum alignment, implementation, and accountabilities were developed during common planning time within the school day. Lesson plans, units, and resources were shared among department members. At least one teacher from each core department demonstrated effective teaching strategies during the common planning time. Another component driving the effectiveness of this project focused on teachers’ attitudes and belief systems that affect student-teacher interactions.

Progress was monitored weekly through classroom observations. Teachers were praised for their implementation of the agreed-upon strategies and student progress. The STAR tests results (which included the California Content Standards tests, Stanford 9 Achievement tests and the CAT/6), the overall improvement in students’ grades in the core academic subjects, improvement in attendance, and the staff development post-evaluation surveys were used to evaluate this study.

As a result of teachers being focused on a common goal (teaching what students needed to know to be successful) and aligning their curriculum with the district standards, the state frameworks, and the STAR results, this researcher concluded that over 50% of the students who participated in this project increased their course grades by at least one letter grade and overall in-seat attendance improved by 5% from the previous year. Teachers collaborating around a common goal produced a school climate of improved student achievement and team spirit.