uniform regulations for different communities; (2) the larger the unit of governance, the less able citizens are to express their individual preferences, which the education system's organization ought to satisfy insofar as possible; (3) the smaller the unit of governance, the more parents will participate, contributing to higher student achievement; and (4) if parental choice of schools is added to the plan for decentralization, competition will improve the service quality per dollar.
The next section of this chapter develops a taxonomy for grouping the very wide range of characteristics and objectives of the SBM plans that have been introduced in recent years. It is important to observe that the enthusiasm for SBM, expressed in hundreds of articles and papers, does not, on the whole, stem from positive student achievement results. The third section describes our search for all available systematic studies of SBM, the complete results of which are available from us directly.
Section four describes the findings of the 20 systematic studies we found, concentrating particularly on those that used as an outcome measure actual student achievement, in contrast to teacher, principal, or parent perceptions. The conclusion of this review is that there is no collective evidence of positive effects because the methodologies of the studies are inadequate, and because even the few results based on some empirical data have not, on the whole, been positive.
The last section suggests what the characteristics of an adequate evaluation of SBM reform should be. Experimentation with new governance structures is essential, but to do so without adequate evaluation is to repeat the errors of the past. Trade-offs are required, but dropping ineffective methods and adding effective ones require serious assessments of effectiveness. The country is not now doing this for the most widespread educational reform currently being considered.
While there are many ways in which school-based management can be practiced, all forms are based on the premise that the school site becomes the central locus of control in decision making. The rationale behind SBM is that those who are closest to the primary business of schools will make the best-informed decisions. The essential purpose of redistributing decision-making authority to increase the autonomy of the critical stakeholders is to improve the instructional process and, although rarely stated, student outcomes. SBM is frequently advocated on the grounds that it increases the accountability of school-site personnel. Schools are forced to become more responsive to local needs through the inclusion of parents and community members on decision-making committees. In exchange for increased autonomy, schools are usually required to report the results of SBM efforts to the central administration.
The term "school-based management" has many variations—school-site management, school-site autonomy, shared decision making, shared governance,