The variety of objectives attributed to SBM efforts suggests that this restructuring movement is designed to address a wide range of issues and problems at the local school site. In one school the emphasis might be on teacher empowerment and increased professionalism; in another it might be school climate. Most project descriptions mention such objectives as increased involvement, ownership, empowerment, professionalism, and leadership of personnel. Many mention efficiency, accountability, and improved educational programs. Some mention student achievement. Although rarely mentioned from project descriptions explicitly, it can be inferred that schools often believe that SBM will create a chain reaction, improving the morale and planning efforts of school personnel, which in turn will improve student achievement. Few schools, however, use concrete measurement criteria of student outcomes in their efforts to assess whether restructuring efforts are effective. The lack of quantitative evidence, and the overwhelming portion of SBM descriptions devoted to discussing stakeholder empowerment, underscore the absence of focus on student achievement.


Background information on school-based management and evaluations of individual schools and districts was collected from a variety of sources. We conducted a computer search of the Educational Research Information Clearinghouse (ERIC) files, focusing primarily on files from 1983 through 1993. The initial general search, using such ERIC descriptors as "school-based management," "school-site management," and "participative decision making," uncovered over 800 documents. The great majority of these consisted of general discussions on the topic or were brief descriptions. These are not included in the bibliography in this chapter. A more targeted search located 70 sources that purported to be project evaluations. Most of the literature, however, offered cursory descriptions of the implementation process and relied heavily on impressionistic reports regarding restructuring outcomes. Of the 70 sources, only 20 exhibited a systematic approach to evaluation, and only seven included a measurable assessment of student outcomes based on actual student performance.

At the same time, selected superintendents, researchers in the field, and educational organizations were contacted in an effort to identify other SBM evaluations that specifically included student achievement indicators. Some of this outreach yielded additional useful information. Most of the individuals contacted, however, confirmed the results of the ERIC searches; very few systematic investigations of the impact of SBM on student achievement have been done.

The 20 systematic evaluations we found were summarized in terms of five broad characteristics: the form of SBM (how and to whom authority is del-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement