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OUR PUBLICATIONS > Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells us: 2002 – 2007

OUR PUBLICATIONS > Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells us: 2002 – 2007

CCE Research

Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells us: 2002 – 2007

January 4, 2010

Author: Michael Raiber, Bryan L. Duke, Nancy H. Barry, Charlene E. Dell and Diane H. Jackson, with Executive Summary by Jean Hendrickson.

Institution: University of Central Oklahoma

Full reference: Raiber, M., Duke, B., Barry, N., Dell, C and Jackson, D. (2010) Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells us: 2002 – 2007. Edmond, OK: Oklahoma A+ Schools® / University of Central Oklahoma

Summary of key findings

Oklahoma A+ Schools® (OAS) is a network of 60 schools employing a whole school reform model that aims to use the arts, experiential learning, cross-curricular integration and multiple intelligences theory to encourage creative learning opportunities for all students while also improving curriculum, infrastructure, and climate in their schools. The programme has an active research component and this research project was commissioned by OAS to review the body of findings from the first five years of activity.

The research provides a picture of OAS schools in practice and insights into the A+ process. From the qualitative data the researchers identified multiple levels of engagement in the OAS process and developed a continuum to describe the process for school entry and its movement from “reform-minded” (moderate engagement) to either an “inform-minded” (minimal engagement) or “transform-minded” (high engagement) culture “reform” level of engagement.

The report identifies three primary drivers that empower transition with the school culture: (a) faculty engagement, (b) principal leadership, and (c) professional development and five indicators of engagement: (a) resiliency (b) sustainability, (c) flexibility, (d) ownership, and (e) empowerment. Although causality was not established greater integration of the OAS process was associated with gains in performance and in more positive attitudes amongst pupils and staff.

Research Questions & Methodology

The report consists of five, independently written volumes examining the A+ process from a number of perspectives.

  • Volume 1 presents composite narratives of 3 fictional schools constructed from data collected through observations and interviews across the programme;
  • Volume 2 reviews the literature around the history and foundation of OAS;
  • Volume 3 analyses quantitative data from performance measures and surveys to reflect on the programme’s impact;
  • Volume 4 examines the qualitative data collected over the five year period, identifying factors that contribute to success;
  • In Volume 5 the researchers combine their findings in a meta-analysis of the data and develop a framework to inform and improve ongoing assessment of the programme.

Go to the journal article.