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The Accelerated Schools Project in Australia : resilience and renewal

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Andrew, RG 2003 , 'The Accelerated Schools Project in Australia : resilience and renewal', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The thesis examines key developmental issues arising from a six-year interpretive case study of the implementation of the Accelerated Schools Project (ASP) in Matterslea (pseudonym) Primary School, Tasmania, Australia. Matterslea is the first school in the 'Southern Hemisphere to apply the ASP model of comprehensive school-wide reform. ASP was designed in the US for use in high poverty communities. Through the process, Matterslea has reshaped its governance, school organisation and pedagogic approach. Not only has the model changed the school, but in the context of Tasmanian public education, the ASP model has also experienced contextual adaptations. The ways in which the model itself has been adapted and the changes resulting from its implementation are key focus points of the thesis.
Consideration is given in the thesis to the researcher's dual role of researcher/observer and 'coach' in the project which has been a collaboration of the University of Tasmania, the Accelerated Schools project (Stanford and Columbia Universities) and the Esk School District of the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE). The research was multi-method in approach, involving participant observation, qualitative and quantitative data gathering. Using a combination of surveys, interviews, documentary reports and quantitative measures, the study analyses outcomes in three reform phases: establishment, consolidation and self authoring. A review of the literature in the related areas of school renewal and organisational learning identifies three key difficulties common to top-down systemic reforms: coherence, member empowerment, and authenticity of learning. In terms of various measures, the outcomes of the study show that Matterslea's ASP implementation has made substantial progress in meeting those challenges, and how, as a so-called 'disadvantaged school', it has achieved an internal coherence of policy and practice that accords with broad central DoE policy but is not dominated by it. Critical determinants of Matterslea's organisational resilience are identified by the study. They are the deliberate, committed distribution of its leadership; broad ownership of authentic vision-led priorities; and the use of transparent, culturally appropriate means of communication for all key member groups. The thesis examines the implications for contemporary Tasmanian school planning and curriculum reform.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Andrew, RG
Keywords: Accelerated Schools Project, School management and organization
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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