Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Jonathan Z. Shapiro

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between evaluation of curriculum policies and utilization of evaluative results at the local level. The central question in the study concerned the influence of locally conducted evaluative research on the nature and extent of organizational policy decision making. Public school decision makers from four levels of responsibility participated in the study. School board members, central office administrators, principals and teachers were asked to respond to a summary of the results from a study evaluating a local curriculm problem and to answer a questionnaire documenting respondent perception of the relevance of local research to policy decisions. Descriptive statistics were generated to determine the respondents' views regarding the research data interpretation, policy change perceptions, evaluation information dissemination and evaluation information value to the school system. Analyses inspected these data holistically and by administrative level. Interviews were conducted with representative personnel selected from each group to further clarify the meaning of events to the participants and the context in which the events had occurred. A subsequent round of interviews further delineated these clarifications. Data from both qualitative and quantitative sources indicated that utilization of the evaluation study had occurred. The nature of the utilization was both conceptual and instrumental and consisted of districtwide and school change. Utilization of the evaluation results was not recognizable across all classrooms due to a lack of formal dissemination of the evaluation results to the teachers. Factors determining the degree of utilization were dependent on individual role and experience. Research and utilization at the local level assumed the role of educator in addition to the more widely recognized role of decision or implementation. The results of this research suggest that the study of utilization requires a more complex definition and measurement of the concept of utilization. Also, research should regard the organization rather than an individual decision maker as the proper unit of analysis and should employ a participant-observation design in a real utilization instance whenever possible.

Pages

188

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