A New Perspective
Chapter 2: Institutions within Schools and School Performance
* 2.1 INTRODUCTION Chapter 1 presented a theoretical framework that helps explain why some schools have better performance than others; better even than schools that are quite similar in many respects. Is it possible to put any empirical content into this theory? Are the concepts deﬁned earlier real and measurable? The following pages present the ﬁndings of a small exploratory study designed to test whether the theory ‘works’ in the real world. The aims of this study were, ﬁrst, to determine whether it is feasible to gather data on variables that measure intra-organizational institutions within schools; and second, to explore whether a good institutional environment within a school is associated with good academic performance. The study is based on interviews conducted in a sample of ten public and private primary schools in Chile. It focuses on factors associated with school management, such as clarity of goals, formal and informal rules, and enforcement mechanisms within the school. Much research on school administration has examined factors such as formal organizational structure, the training or leadership styles of managers, teacher management issues and other observable characteristics of schools. This study generates new data on institutional factors in individual school establishments. Although there is widespread recognition that management has an important inﬂuence on school performance, economic research has not produced clear ﬁndings about how that inﬂuence works or what could be done in a policy sense to make it work better. Chile is an interesting setting for this kind of educational research....
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