The Transformation of Schools’ Social Networks During a Data-Based Decision Making Reform
by Trynke Keuning, Marieke van Geel, Adrie Visscher, Jean-Paul Fox & Nienke M. Moolenaar — 2016
Context: Collaboration within school teams is considered to be important to build the capacity school teams need to work in a data-based way. In a school characterized by a strong collaborative culture, teachers may have more access to the knowledge and skills for analyzing data, teachers have more opportunity to discuss the performance goals to be set, and they also can share effective teaching strategies to achieve those goals. Although many studies on data-based decision making (DBDM) foreground the importance of teacher collaboration, our knowledge of what such collaboration looks like and how such collaboration may change during a DBDM reform remains limited.
Objective: The current study uses a social network perspective to explore how collaboration in 32 elementary schools in the Netherlands takes shape in the interactions among teachers as they engage in a DBDM reform project.
Research Design: Schools’ social networks were examined at the start of the intervention and after having participated 1 year in the DBDM reform. Social networks regarding three DBDM topics are examined: (1) discussing student achievement; (2) discussing achievement goals; (3) and discussing instructional strategies. The density, reciprocity, and centralization of these networks were calculated, and multivariate multiple regression analysis was used to analyze changes over time.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that teachers’ DBDM related networks transform during the intervention, especially regarding the discussion of student achievement data: although the number of relationships remains stable, more reciprocal relationships are formed, and this network becomes less centralized around one or a few influential staff members.
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