ORGANIZATIONAL COMPONENTS OF SCHOOLS AND
THEIR IMPACT UPON IMPLEMENTATION
Mark E. Donovan
B.A., Pitzer College, 1977
M.A., University of Northern Colorado, 1982
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education
This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Mark E. Donovan
has been approved for the
School of Education
Donovan, Mark E. (Ph.D., Educational Administration)
Organizational Components of Schools and Their Impact upon
Thesis directed by Professor Bob. L. Taylor
This study explored the relationship between the amount of
communication among teachers regarding a new curriculum and the level
of implementation of that curriculum. A second problem examined four
different organizational components used to enhance implementation
and the impact these components had upon the amount of teacher
communication. The four organizational components included
curriculum committees, curriculum coordinators, team teaching, and an
Four schools were selected for this study due to their
organizational components. Teachers in each school participated
voluntarily by completing a series of questionnaires. A subgroup,
randomly chosen from the participants, was selected for more
intensive study and interviews. In addition, each principal was
extensively interviewed. The level of implementation was self-
reported by participants using an eleven item measurement of
implementation developed by the district. Case studies of each of
the four schools were constructed from the interview and
questionnaire data and statistical data were correlated for teacher
communication, level of implementation, and each of the
The study found a significant difference among the schools on
the amount of communication among teachers, but did not find a
significant difference in the level of implementation of the new
curriculum among the four schools. Therefore, no relationship was
found between teacher communication and level of implementation. On
the second problem, none of the four organizational components was
found to be significantly related to the amount of teacher
The case studies provided a variety of strategies used to
enhance implementation. Four specific strategies were identified,
including matching how teachers are organized for implementation with
how they organize for instruction; using a coordinator as a faculty
trainer; involving committees in goal setting, needs assessment, and
direction of the implementation; and emphasizing how instruction
changes as a result of implementation. These four strategies were
incorporated into a model for curriculum implementation, which
concluded this study.
I. THE PROBLEM. ......................................1
Background of the Study.........................1
Statement of the Problem ....................... 4
Definitions .................................... 6
Delimitations ................................. 8
Significance of the Study........................12
II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ..................... 15
Introduction ................................... 15
Perspectives of Change ......................... 16
How Teachers React to Change.....................20
Implementation as a Subset of Change.............26
Application of the Literature to the Research
Organizational Factors Affecting Implementation 31
Participative Decision Making .................. 38
The Use of Coordinators in' Facilitating
Curriculum Implementation .................... 41
Teacher Communication and Curriculum
Implementation ............................... 42
Procedures for Selecting Schools ............. 48
Procedures for Identifying Organizational
Components within Participating Schools . 50
Procedures for Gathering Data on
Amount of Teacher Communication ............ 50
Procedures for Gathering Data on
Level of Implementation......................54
Development of Data Gathering Instruments . 56
IV. RESEARCH FINDINGS .............................. 59
Introduction .................................. 59
Case Study One: Ponderosa Elementary .......... 61
Organizational Components ................. 65
Implementation .............................. 67
Case Study Two: Utah Elementary.................77
Organizational Components ................... 81
Implementation .............................. 84
Case Study Three: Alameda Elementary .......... 96
Subproblem Five ...........................155
Case Study Comparisons.......................157
Size of School............................ 158
V. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS . .172
Review of Research Problems and Procedures .172
Discussion of Findings.......................175
Summary of Findings..........................177
A Model for Curriculum Implementation . .179
Conclusions ................................ 185
Organizational Components .................... 99
Case Study Four: Harvard Elementary............113
Data Analysis ..................................131
Teacher Communication ........................132
Level of Implementation......................139
Background of the Study
The implementation of curriculum changes is a topic which has
received increasing attention in educational research. Typically,
the question is why some curriculum innovations are more fully used
in classrooms than others of apparently similar worth. Concern about
implementation is widespread. A 1978 Rand Corporation study of the
extent of implementation of federal programs concluded:
At best, implementation was 'mutual adaptation,' in which
the intended innovation was modified to fit the local circum-
stances, and the local circumstances were modified to fit the
innovation, so that the solution could survive and work.
Even then, the researchers suggested, the effects of programs
diminished over the space of a few years, and were hard to
replicate in other settings.1
Similar conclusions about the effectiveness of curriculum
implementation were found from the state and local levels to studies
^ Rand Corporation cited in Tom Bird, "Mutual Adaptation and
Mutual Accomplishment: Images of Change in a Field Experiment,"
Teachers College Record 86 (Fall 1984):69.
of curriculum implementation in other countries. 1,2 For instance, a
Canadian researcher concluded that a major problem of curriculum
development "is the failure of innovation implementation processes.
Accordingly, a variety of research was done to try to
determine exactly how innovations became accepted practice. Some of
these studies have yielded suggestions on how to insure greater
implementation. For instance, Bruce Joyce concluded that "vertical
solidarity and commitment, ownership by practitioners, marshalling of
resources, provision of extensive training, and community involvement
and communication" enhanced the possibility of implementation.^
Another approach to the problem of implementation was to
focus on change in general and how it occured. These studies yielded
similar suggestions on how to insure greater implementation. In one
study, Fullan considered change processes at the school level which,
in turn, led to strategies for improving schools. As a conclusion to
the study, Fullan listed ten guidelines for increasing the likelihood
of successful implementation. Among Fullan's key points: develop a
1 Peggy L. Miller, "Innovations and Change in Education,"
Educational Leadership 27 (January 1970):339.
2 Naama Sabar and Tamar Ariav, "An Examination of Priority
Discepancies Between Developers and Teachers Using a Science Unit,"
Journal of Research in Science Teaching 17 (1980):295.
3 Dianne L. Common, "Who Should Have the Power to Change
Schools: Teachers or Policy-Makers?" Education Canada 23 (Summer
^ Bruce Joyce, "Organizational Homeostasis and Innovation:
Tightening the Loose Couplings," Education and Urban Society 15
plan, invest in local facilitators, focus on instruction and the link
to organizational conditions, and plan for continuation and spread.1
Still, other researchers have emphasized the effects change
had on the individual, rather than on how the organization handled
change. The Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) typifies this
focus on the individual teacher. In one application of CBAM, Griffin
and Barnes studied an attempt to improve teacher effectiveness via
staff development and knowledge of effective schools research. They
the attempt to change did not take into account two
critical factors: teachers' desire and/or need to change and the
existential phenomena of schools, which must be manipulated in
order for change to be seen as necessary and desirable from the
perspective of teachers.^
In other words, even when the focus was on how change affected the
individual, the organization itselfthe schoolhad to be
To summarize, researchers have recognized that implementation
is indeed a complex process and have approached it from a variety of
directions. Some researchers have focused on specific
implementations while others have analyzed the change process itself.
Still others have analyzed the individual undergoing change.
1 Michael Fullan, "Change Processes and Strategies at the
Local Level," The Elementary School Journal 85 (January 1985):414
2 Gary A. Griffin and Susan Barnes, "School Change: A Craft
Derived and Research-Based Strategy," Teachers College Record 86
Additional studies have analyzed how the organization of the school
can be a means of increasing implementation.
This study focused on how a particular curriculum
implementation was managed in four different schools. The purpose of
this exploratory study was twofold. First, it sought to determine
the relationship between the amount of teacher communication and the
level of implementation. Secondly, it explored the impact several
organizational components within schools had upon the amount of
teacher communication and the level of implementation. By studying
these two questions the researcher tried to identify strategies for
organizing a school in such a way that curriculum was implemented
Statement of the Problem
The first problem for this study was:
"Was the amount of teacher communication about a new
curriculum related to the level of implementation of that
The second problem was:
"What was the impact of several organizational components of
the school upon the amount of teacher communication?"
Subproblems for the study explored those organizational
components which could be identified and isolated within each school.
The subproblems Included:
1. "Was teacher communication greater among teachers who
taught in teams?
2. "Was teacher communication greater in schools which
utilized the services of a curriculum coordinator?"
3. "Was teacher communication greater in schools which had a
curriculum committee within their faculty?"
4. "Was teacher communication greater in schools which had an
assistant principal and a principal than in schools which had only a
5. "What organizational component or combination of
components were present in schools which had the greatest amount of
These organizational components were selected for several
reasons. First, curriculum committees and curriculum coordinators
were employed to facilitate implementation. How effective were these
two components? A third component, team teaching, was a method of
organizing instruction. Did team teaching result in greater
communication among teachers? The fourth component, assistant
principals, were assigned to schools based on the size of the student
body. What was the impact on implementation of having two
administrators in one school?
These problems and subproblems provided the overall structure
for this study. Within this structure, four individual case studies
were built, documenting how curriculum implementation progressed in
each school and what effects each step of the implementation had upon
The following definitions were used in this study.
1. Curriculum: the instructional program of a school or
district. This term includes instructional programs, discrete units
of study, and content areas. Curriculum also includes the use of
materials, texts, or resources to deliver previously identified
objectives. Textbook adoption and implementation are included.
2. Communication: the process through which one individual
exchanges information with others; media used may be speech
or writing. In organizations, a two-way process that involves
transmission of information/decisions from one member to
3. Implementation: the process by which educational goals,
objectives, and priorities are transmitted from the formal curriculum
level to the instructional level occurring in the classroom.^
4. Elementary faculty: the group of teachers working in a
school setting consisting of the grades kindergarten through five or
kindergarten through six.3
1 Edward L. Dejnozka, Educational Administration Glossary
(Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1983), p. 32.
^ Sabar and Ariav, p. 296.
Dejnozka, p. 58.
5. Team teaching: the
situation where two or more teachers jointly plan their
work (usually with classes of similar age) to make wider use of
their individual specialities. This can involve the sharing
to varying degrees of resources, equipment and space, without,
however, abandoning the traditional concept of the class
and class teacher.1
6. Self-contained classroom: a method of organizing students
for instruction in which
One teacher a generalist, is responsible for teaching
all or most subjects to a single group of students,
for a major part of the school day, during the entire school
year. It is the most commonly used organization plan used
in American elementary schools.2
7. Curriculum coordinator: a person, hired by a local school
district, whose main functions are to facilitate and monitor the
implementation and delivery of the established district curriculum in
the schools to which he or she is assigned. In this particular study
each curriculum coordinator was responsible for approximately seven
8. Curriculum committee; a committee established within an
elementary school to recommend curriculum policies and practices to
the building principal. In this study, curriculum committees were
composed of teachers from within that particular faculty.
1 P. J. Hills, ed. A Dictionary of Education (London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982), p. 268.
2 Dejnozka, p. 148.
9. Organizational development: a change strategy which
planned change, long range, organizational involvement in
problem solving, communication, collaboration, participation,
trust, and uncovering and confronting conflict, a focus on
human processes and technostructural factors in order to
improve both task accomplishment and the quality of life
10. Level of implementation: the "variation of use by each
individual innovation user" which is reflected in specific knowledge
and behaviors relevant to the curriculum.^
11. Organizational components: identified constituent parts
of an organization. The four components under study here were: a
school curriculum committee, the curriculum coordinator, team
teaching, and an assistant principal working with a principal in a
The following delimitations were enforced in this study:
1. Only teachers of students in grades kindergarten through
five were included in this study. While teachers at other grade
levels may not have differed from their elementary colleagues in
1 Michael Fullan, Matthew B. Miles, and Gib Taylor,
"Organization Development in Schools: The State of the Art," Review
of Educational Research 50 (Spring 1980):124.
2 Gene E. Hall, Susan F. Loucks, William L. Rutherford and
Beulah W. Newlove, "Levels of Use of the Innovation: A Framework for
Analyzing Innovation Adoption," Journal of Teacher Education 26
their implementation of curriculum, widely different organizational
components existed in middle, junior, and senior high schools which
were not considered here.
2. This study was delimited to elementary schools and
faculties within the district studieda diverse, suburban district
in a metropolitan area. This district's characteristics are
described later in the study.
3. This study was delimited to the effects of only one major
curriculum change in the district studied during the year of the
study. This change was the implementation of a new reading basal
program, the Houghton Mifflin Reading program. Only schools which
were implementing this program were involved in the study.
4. Because this study explored the relationships between
communication and implementation, and among four organizational
components and communication, causation and conclusions regarding
causation were not sought.
5. Organizational components under consideration in this
study were delimited to those mentioned specifically in the
subproblems: team teaching, presence of a curriculum committee in the
school, the use of the services of a curriculum coordinator, and the
presence of an assistant principal and principal within the same
These limitations were identified in this study:
1. The generalizability of the findings of this study is
limited to districts and schools having similar characteristics as
those of the district and schools studied here. The results of this
study are only applicable to other large, centralized, suburban
schools districts which share the same organizational and curricular
delivery systems as those in place in the district studied.
2. Although participating schools were selected from those
involved in the particular curriculum innovation, and the
organizational components in place in those schools were identified,
some possible shifts in organization within each faculty may not have
3. The instrument for determining the amount of communication
was based entirely on teachers' perceptions of the amount of
communication. While this was partially validated or invalidated by
the impressions of the principals, this imprecise way of measuring
teacher communication is a recognized limitation.
4. Team teaching was not clearly enough defined to support
school based analysis of the data because the potential instructional
relationship between teachers could vary so widely.
5. Ambiguous questions were rewritten following the pilot of
the first questionnaire, but unclear questions or other problems with
the instruments may have limited the validity of some responses.
6. The study findings are based on the assumption that the
questionnaire responses reflected actual behavior and teaching
practices. This assumption is not verifiable.
7. While this study yielded four case studies of how
implementation proceeded in each of four schools that were distinct
in their organizational characteristics, the results of the study may
be limited in their generalizability to other schools and situations.
The following assumptions were made in this study:
1. It was assumed that the impact of curriculum
implementation on student learning was positive and that the greater
the degree of implementation, the greater the enhancement of student
learning. This was based on the concept present in the district
under study that curriculum adoptions were made after consideration
of current research and sound theory to meet real or perceived
2. A major assumption prompting this study was that enhanced
teacher communication contributed to greater implementation of the
curriculum. While this is basically a restatement of the first
research problem, some relationship between these factors was assumed
at the outset of the study.
3. A third assumption was that the four identified
organizational components all enhanced teacher communication in
varying amounts. In many schools these components may have been
established to meet other needs, but it was assumed that they all
impacted teacher communication.
4. It was assumed that the more comfortable a teacher was
with the new curriculum, the more extensively it was implemented in
his/her classroom. Therefore, teachers' self-ratings of level of
implementation were deemed indicators of comfort with the new
curriculum. Because of this assumption, attempts to validate level
of implementation objectively were discontinued.
5. It was assumed that the researcher had full access to the
elementary schools chosen for the study, their faculties, and any
written documentation determined critical to the study.
Significance of the Study
Change in the field of education is certainly nothing new.
However, the rapidity with which teachers are asked to make changes
in the content of their instruction is increasing. Since the flurry
of reports in the early 1980s expressing concern over the quality of
American education, legislatures, foundations, universities, and
state and local boards of education have proposed changes in the
content of instruction.1,^,3 Consequently, teachers have been trying
to incorporate these changes into a curriculum which was already
2 Common, p. 41.
3 Sabar and Ariav, p. 295.
quite comprehensive. Over the last twenty years the curriculum of
most schools had already undergone widespread reform.1 It was
apparent that reform movements were being continued to be vigorously
While this need to implement more curricula, faster was
apparent, educators also became more informed of how people adapt to
change. Due to new research, administrators became more keenly aware
of how long and how difficult it was for teachers to change their
instructional practices.2 Along with the research on implementation
were methods for helping teachers cope with change. For instance,
Griffin and Barnes proposed that administrators provide teachers
1) opportunities for teacher interaction focused on professional
issues, 2) provision of technical assistance to teachers,
3) adaptation of ideas and programs toward a 'fit' with school
and classroom regularities, 4) opportunities for reflection, 5)
focused and precise (rather than general) attention on important
To summarize, teachers were being asked to implement
curriculum more swiftly and more often than ever at the same time
that research was making administrators increasingly aware of the
difficulty of bringing about lasting, meaningful, practiced change.
Characteristics of effective change were helpful in aiding
1 John K. Olson, "Changing Our Ideas About Change," Canadian
Journal of Education 10 (1985):294.
2 Mike M. Milstein, Thomas Golaszewski, and Roderick D.
Duquette, "Organizationally Based Stress: What Bothers Teachers,"
Journal of Educational Research 77 (May/June 1984):293.
Griffin and Barnes, p. 108.
individuals with the change process. Case studies also offered
opportunities to identify otherwise unnoticed factors which might
have influenced successful change.
Still, considering the rapidity with which schools and
teachers were asked to make sweeping changes, one was aware of the
need to do as much as possible within schools to make full
implementation of curriculum as easy and non-threatening as possible
for teachers. This study sought to identify the relationships
between the amount of teacher communication and level of
implementation of a curriculum innovation. Further, four discrete
components of the school organization were explored for their impact
on teacher communication. It was hoped that, by demonstrating a
relationship between a school's organization and teacher
communication, and between communication and level of implementation,
administrators could change some organizational components of a
school to enhance teacher communication, and, thus, to foster
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Curriculum implementation is a complex process because of the
difficulty of making any kind of change, the perceptions and
characteristics of those teachers asked to implement the change, and
factors within each situation which affect the way in which a change
will be implemented. Additional variables involve the nature of the
curriculum change itselfits perceived worth, how closely it matches
the status quo, and the process by which it was selected.
Examination of the research literature may clarify the impact of
these various factors upon curriculum implementation.
This review of related literature which highlights the key
conclusions and findings of previous research about curriculum
implementation has two major sections. The first concerns research
into implementation and what has been effective in furthering it.
The second section deals with schools as unique organizations and how
schools have successfully altered their organization to implement new
The first section begins by considering theories about.change
and how change occurs. Next, this section studies how teachers in
particular react to change. Then, since implementation is a unique
type of change, studies of curriculum implementation are discussed.
By proceeding in this order, this review forms a theoretical
background for considering implementation before moving on to the
logistics of how to facilitate it. Simultaneously, any relationship
between the amount of teacher communication and level of
implementation, as posited in the first research problem, should be
The second section of this review studies the organization of
elementary schools and how organization relates to teacher
communication. It includes a brief overview of the organizational
development literature, participative decision making, and the use of
curriculum consultants or coordinators.
In summary, this review of related research first considers
the processes of change, specifically of curriculum implementation
and its effects upon teachers. The review then considers how
organizational factors within a school can be used to increase
teacher communication and curriculum implementation.
Perspectives of Change
In 1985 Fullan reviewed four case studies of recently
attempted educational changes. His summary is typical of
perspectives on change held by researchers and theorists. Fullan
defined change at the individual level as "a process whereby
individuals alter their ways of thinking and doing. It is a process
of developing new skills and, above all, of finding meaning and
satisfaction in new ways of doing things.His conception of change
as a specific process has roots in other research. For instance,
Loucks-Horsley and Cox viewed change as having three basic phases:
initiation, implementation, and institutionalization.2 in contrast,
Davis and his colleagues saw change as a four stage process
consisting of consideration, design and development, implementation,
and continuation.^ Davis divided Loucks-Horsley and Cox's first
stage (initiation) into two stages (consideration, and design and
development). Regardless of the number of stages identified, current
researchers conceive of change as a process with discrete stages
through which the organization or individual progresses.
The idea of change as a series of stages was presented by
Kurt Lewin as early as the 1940s, which Lozier and Covert have
Initially, an awareness of the need for change is developed
by 'unfreezing' the typical dependence on current systems and
ideas and by creating a 'problem awareness' and a realization
that change is safe. Secondly, a movement toward change is
brought aboutby identifying new information and alternative
notions which can be integrated into a solution of the problem.
1 Michael Fullan, "Change Processes and Strategies at the
Local Level," The Elementary School Journal 85 (January 1985):396.
2 Susan Loucks-Horsley and Patricia L. Cox, "What the
National Commission and Studies of Education Overlooked: The 'How' of
School Change," The Journal of Staff Development 5 (1983):23.
^ Robert H. Davis, Rich Strand, Lawrence T. Alexander and
Norrul M. Hussain, "The Impact of Organizational and Innovator
Variables on Instructional Innovation in Higher Education," Journal
of Higher Education 53 (1982):569.
Finally the change solution is generalized and stabilizedby
'refreezing' the new response to fit the personality of the
individual and the institutional culture within which it must
Even this early conceptualization acknowledged change as a process
with discrete steps.
The idea of change as a series of stages has been supported
by specific case studies of how changes occurred. In the Davis
study, an instructional program was developed for use at Michigan
State. This study utilized the Delphi technique to determine how
specific incidents and behaviors during the change were impacted by
four organizational factors: organizational support, innovator
characteristics, innovator activities, and innovator motivation. The
effect of the four factors differed in each of the four stages of the
change process, determining the eventual success or failure of the
innovation. The authors concluded that
different factors appear to have greater or lesser effect on the
innovation process depending on the stage (or point in time)
under consideration. Although faculty members perceived their
own motivation and activities as most important, particularly
during the early stages of innovation, administrative support
emerged as most important in the last stage of the innovation
Another body of research involves the Concerns Based Adoption
1 Gregory G. Lozier and Jerry B. Covert, "A Strategy for
Promoting Educational Change," The Journal of General Education 34
2 Davis, Strand, Alexander, and Hussain, p. 583.
Model, or CBAM.^ The CBAM concept of change hypothesizes that there
are eight stages through which the person facing change must proceed.
The person undergoing these stages moves from total ignorance of the
innovation, through use of it, to adaptation of the innovation to
one's own situation. In CBAM, change is seen as a set of stages,
with different factors crucial at each of the stages in order for the
change to be fully implemented.
While the CBAM model of change focuses on the individual, a
much broader model was that used by Lozier's and Covert's case study
of anticipated and planned change. In this study the researchers
relied heavily on Lindquist's model of planned change in curriculum
development. Lindquist's model of "adaptive development" synthesizes
four theories of change: "the rational planning, the social
interaction, the human problem-solving, and the political approaches
to planned change." Lindquist's model includes five viewpoints from
which to analyze change: linkage, openness, leadership, ownership,
and rewards.^ Lindquist's synthesis was important in that it
highlighted the number of perspectives from which change could be
In conclusion, researchers have hypothesized several
different concepts of change. Some research focused on the different
stages of change while other research focused on stages through which
1 Gene E. Hall, Susan F. Loucks, William L. Rutherford and
Beulah W. Newlove, "Levels of Use of the Innovation: A Framework for
Analyzing Innovation Adoption," Journal of Teacher Education 26
Lozier and Covert, pp. 200-201.
the person adapting to the innovation proceeded. More recent
research has indicated that different factors play roles of different
importance as change progresses. Common to all of the various
perspectives from which change has been approached is that the change
process can be divided into discrete stages. More recent research
has begun to emphasize how best to intervene at each step of the
process to make change less difficult.
How Teachers React to Change
The literature on how teachers respond to change is important
to this study because how extensively curriculum will be implemented
is ultimately the decision of the individual teacher. Several
researchers have studied individual teacher's reactions to change.
One such study was that of Hall and Loucks, et. al. who made
the point that each of those making a curriculum change had
individual responses to it.^ The authors concluded that "regardless
of the character of the outside variables, what actually happens in
the individual application of an innovation is open to tremendous
variation.Despite these variations, Hall, et. al. found eight
phases through which the individual progressed while reacting to
change. These eight phases formed the basis for their CBAM model.
This model was then further tested in a study of the implementation
1 Hall, Loucks, Rutherford, and Newlove, p. 52.
of a series of teaching strategies designed to match research on
effective instruction with actual practice in the classroom. Hall
found that the eight hypothesized steps were evident as teachers
tried to grapple with the new instructional strategies advocated in
Hall, et. al. also found that at each stage of concern,
actions or interventions could be taken to meet a teacher's concerns,
making it possible for that teacher to proceed toward greater and
greater implementation. The researchers further suggested that the
use of these interventions minimized the "trauma of change" on the
individual.^ According to Hall, while response to change was varied,
most teachers proceeded through common stages of concern and could be
helped to proceed through the change process. In other words,
teachers' reactions to change could be managed to some extent.
Another researcher, John Olson, opposed the idea that
teachers' reactions to change could and should be managed to minimize
the impact of change on teachers. Olson stated that
the current dominant conceptions of school change do not
give proper attention to the role that teachers ought
to play in school reform. In fact the teacher tends to be
reduced to an element to be manipulated.within a framework of
social and/or environmental control.^ 1 2 3
2 ibid., p. 56.
3 John K. Olson, "Changing Our Ideas About Change," Canadian
Journal of Education 10 (1985):295.
Olson then contrasted what he called "systems approaches" (such as
CBAM) and "ecological approaches," which focused more on the social
and technical nature of teaching. Olson found the systems approach
lacking in appreciation for the "well-functioning routines which for
them (teachers) solve many difficult problems.Olson also found
the other end of the spectrum, the ecological approach, at fault for
not considering "the way teachers make sense of their working
environment as they act upon it."2 Finally, Olson proposed a
"reflexive conception" of change. Central to this approach was that
"what teachers do cannot be explained adequately by looking for
causes in their environment nor at the plans of the system. Teachers
themselves make choices based on their assessments of their working
environment and the problems it poses."3
A similar position was advanced by Common. She proposed that
two conflicting metaphors existed about the role of teachers being 1 2 3
1 Ibid., p. 297.
2 Ibid., p. 299.
faced with change. One metaphor, held by curriculum designers and
teachers as agents of their policies and consumers of their
products, their innovations. Teachers, politically and
legally are considered relatively powerless in the legitimate
chain of authority and lie at the receiving end of the
Common claimed that the opposing metaphor, held by teachers
themselves, was that "behind the classroom door, teachers see
themselves as free actors on an exciting stage, influencing and
caring for children."2 Common concluded that the dichotomy between
these views, of the teacher's role made implementation a "struggle for
power over what and who will determine the nature of life in the
classroom.Her point was that how one conceived of teachers and
their importance in the curriculum implementation process had serious
implications for how best to facilitate that process. In addition,
Common illustrated how, by disregarding teachers' conceptions of
themselves as the most powerful force in the classroom, curriculum
implementation could be seen as a power struggle.
This debate between Hall's approach of managing change for
teachers and Olson's and Common's of recognizing teachers'
independence and good judgment illustrates how powerful and complex
the change process can be. This issue of how one views teachers and 1 2 3
1 Dianne L. Common, "Who Should Have the Power to Change
Schools: Teachers or Policy-Makers?" Education Canada 23 (Summer
2 Ibid., p. 42.
their role in the classroom must be defined when planning an
implementation so that consistency between one's views of the
teachers' role and how the implementation proceeds is ensured.
Common's point that curriculum implementation may result in a
power struggle between teachers and curriculum developers also shows
how potentially stressful the change process may be for those
involved. Milstein and his colleagues have studied common stresses
upon teachers. Using a Likert scale questionnaire to determine which
of five categories of organizational factors were felt to be most
stressful by teachers, they found that "organizational structure and
climate" were second highest in stress production. Only "blocked
career development," in which the teacher wanted but was not
experiencing advancement, was found to be more stressful. The
researchers then identified several organizational characteristics
which helped deflect stress production. On their list were several
positive organizational characteristics which also could impact the
implementation process: "clear communication, participation in
decision making, supportive supervision, and limitations on the
behavior of teachers."1
The literature clearly indicates how difficult change can be
for individual teachers. Recently, researchers have also analyzed
how to help teachers manage change. One example is the CBAM, which
*- Mike M. Milstein, Thomas Golaszewski, and Roderick D.
Duquette, "Organizationally Based Stress: What Bothers Teachers,"
Journal of Educational Research 74 (May/June 1984):293-297.
deals directly with what to do at each stage of the change.
Additional research has also yielded other suggestions on how
teachers can best be supported during a change process. Loucks-
Horsley and Cox stated "teachers need a great deal of supportboth
materially and psychologicallyif they are to change what they do in
their classrooms."^ Among their suggestions were "to have a clear
and shared image of what the school and the practice will look like
once the effect is underway," and "follow up visits and group
discussion sessions" to help teachers discover that others share
their concerns and form new ideas.^
Similar suggestions were offered by Winn who listed seven
strategies that enabled teachers to change more easily. She
recommended that (1) those required to make the change should have
input into it, (2) implementation decisions should be made by those
affected by them, (3) adequate training should be provided, (4)
change should permit input from participants in the process, (5) a
support system should be developed, (6) feedback should be provided,
(7) and an evaluation should be conducted.^ Winn concluded that all
seven of these factors were important to helping teachers adjust to
^ Loucks-Horsley and Cox, p. 27.
2 Ibid., p. 24.
3 Deanna D. Winn, "A Climate of Change," The Clearing House
58 (February 1985):265-267 .
To conclude, the research indicates that teachers play a
pivotal role in implementing curriculum changes. Reactions to change
are typically individualized and varied depending upon a myriad
number of conditions within the situation. The literature suggests
that individuals, however, proceed through a number of similar steps
if the correct interventions are implemented. Other researchers have
found this concept degrading of the teachers' actual power and favor
instead a reflexive approach which considers why teachers make the
choices they do. The key here is that how a change is implemented
reflects how those guiding the change view teachers and their roles
in the classroom. Some research advocates the inclusion of as much
teacher input and decision making as possible in the process.
Additional support for teachers could be gained from organized
support structures including administrators and colleagues.
Implementation as a Subset of Change
Thus far this review has considered change and how best to
help teachers undergoing change. At this point, this review looks at
curriculum implementation as a particular type of change. How
closely does implementation resemble other changes? What is unique
about curriculum implementation that may influence how best to
Joyce's study of implementation pointed to several factors
which increased the chance of implementation. These factors,
"vertical solidarity and commitment, ownership by practitioners,
marshalling of resources, provision of intensive training, and
community involvement and communication,closely resembled those
required to effect change in general. Next, Joyce highlighted
special characteristics of the implementation process. One such
characteristic was the extensive variability of implementation, even
in the same setting.2 3 Joyce then cited various requirements that
implementation made on teachers in a study by Fullan and Pomfret.
According to Joyce, implementation required teachers to understand
the rationale of a curriculum, how to use appropriate materials and
instructional processes, how to make appropriate changes between
the role relationships of teachers and students, and how to develop
appropriate evaluation.3 Even these requirements of implementation
varied in use within a group of teachers with each teacher applying
In one case study, Bird emphasized the importance of applying a
program to a particular situation. He hypothesized that the
implementation process called for the innovation and the situation to
change or mutually adapt to each other.4 His perception was "the
*- Fullan and Pomfret cited in Bruce Joyce, "Organizational
Homeostasis and Innovation: Tightening the Loose Couplings,"
Education and Urban Society 15 (November 1982):43.
^ Tom Bird, "Mutual Adaptation and Mutual Accomplishment:
Images of Change in a Field Experiment," Teachers College Record 86
problem of implementation is not to protect a paper design from
erosion; it is to create the conditions in which the design can be
realized."^ His conception took into account environmental factors
which could and did seriously influence implementation.
Still another study of implementation analyzed the
transmission of priorities, goals, and objectives from curriculum
developers to teachers. In their study of the implementation of a
science curriculum project, Sabar and Ariav found increasing levels
of disagreement about the priorities and goals of the innovation
between teachers and curriculum designers and evaluators as
implementation progressed.* 3 The authors concluded, "the objectives
must not only be clearly identified, but the relative priority of
each objective to the others has to be made apparent by the
developers."-^ These studies highlighted several unique aspects of
implementation: it is as varied as change in general, it affects not
only materials used but the relationship between teacher and student,
it must be highly dependent upon the individual situation, it must be
highly flexible to withstand varying circumstances, and as it moves
from curriculum developers to teachers, it undergoes numerous
3 Naama Sabar and Tamar Ariav, "An Examination of Priority
Discrepancies Between Developers and Teachers Using a Science
Unit,"Journal of Research in Science Teaching 17 (1980):299.
Several of these same authors have proposed strategies for
fostering implementation. Bird suggested that implementation was
more complete if teachers were led to expect teaching practices to be
examined publicly and professionally, if teaching was improved
through deliberate experimentation and evaluation, and if teachers
talked specifically and often about teaching practices.1 In
contrast, Joyce emphasized the need for thorough understanding of the
innovation, extensive training in its use, and the use of "coaching
and psychological support from consultants" as contributing to
Considering these conclusions of case studies' and research,
implementation appears to resemble change, except that implementation
is a change applied to a particular situation and set of
circumstances. Implementation then, is even more varied because of
the many settings within which those implementing the curriculum
function. It follows that implementation requires even more careful
management than change in general because of the greater potential
for individual interpretations.
1 Bird, p. 81.
2 Joyce, p. 52.
Application of the Literature to the Research Problem
At this point, one should consider how the research reviewed
thus far can be applied to the research problems. From the
literature, one may draw several conclusions:
1) change occurs in stages or phases
2) different factors or interventions are important at
3) teachers handle change in many different ways
4) change can be extremely stressful for teachers
5) how one conceives of teachers and their role in the
classroom in part determines how to proceed with change
6) ways do exist to help teachers change
7) the process of implementation closely resembles the change
process, except that implementation is even more individualized to
the teacher and the circumstances.
How do these conclusions apply to the two identified research
To begin with, the first research problem explores a
relationship between teacher communication and the level of
implementation of a curriculum. Reviewing the conclusions listed
above, one sees many possible connections between communication and
implementation. One such connection is that communication might
occur due to the stressful nature of the implementation process. By
increasing the opportunities for teachers to communicate with each
other, or with a curriculum coordinator, the stress involved might be
reduced, furthering implementation. Another connection revolves
around the stages of change. The CBAM and other models of change
theorize that teachers do not progress to the next stage of change
until their needs and concerns are met at previous stages. Teacher
communication may be a vehicle for meeting teachers' concerns.
Other connections between implementation and communication
revolve around ways already shown to be helpful in furthering
implementation. Many of these suggestionsenhancement of ownership
by practitioners, provision of intensive training, collection of
input from participants during the process, and the provision of
support systemsassume ample opportunities for teacher
communication. It is hoped that, as a way of providing opportunities
to communicate about the implementation, many of these suggestions
would be included in an implementation strategy.
Structuring the school organization to provide more
opportunities for teacher communication is the focus of the second
research problem. Within the district being studied, four
organizational components were identified which may have had an
impact on teacher communicationcurriculum committees, curriculum
coordinators, team teaching, and an assistant principal. The review
of the literature continues to consider theoretical and research
based foundations for possible relationships between organizational
components, teacher communication, and enhanced implementation.
Organizational Factors Affecting Implementation
Up to this point the studies reviewed have focused on change
and its effect upon those implementing itteachers. Other studies
in the literature have focused on how schools are affected by
implementation and change. These studies are reviewed here in the
hope that, by analyzing the organization of schools, components can
be identified which might help teachers to implement curriculum more
In a theoretical article, Wiley hypothesized that three
characteristics present in most schools seriously affect schools' and
teachers' ability to change. Wiley's three "blocks to change" were
"separatism, anti-intellectualism, and extremism."1 Wiley cited the
gaps between line and staff personnel, closed communication, and
antiquated chains of command being used in organizations as examples
Wolfe shared a similar concern over separatism in the
organization of schools. Wolfe proposed a theoretical model, the
synergistic model, which was "an organizational structure designed
for sharing and cooperative action through overlapping job functions
and fusing personal energy."1 2 Wolfe claimed that only by overlapping
goals and objectives would individuals cooperate and work together.
Wolfe then brought this into the structure of the organization. "The
organizational structure must enhance the interrelationship of all
1 Russell W. Wiley, "Blocks to Change," Educational
Leadership 27 (January 1970):351.
2 Richard 0. Wolfe, "Synergistic Model of Organizational
Structure," Planning and Changing 16 (Spring 1985):51.
its individuals so the whole organization is made up of all the
parts, one in the same."!
Wolfe's synergistic model consisted of overlapping functions
in which all shared some common area. Job descriptions were then
broadened to insure that the overlapping areas became the territory
of all.^ One outcome of the structure, posited Wolfe, was greater
ability to respond to change.
Organizations are in a state of change and regeneration
because of the change in their environments. If the
organizational structure is designed to allow it to
respond to these changes, the viability of the
organization is not questioned.^
Clearly, Wolfe and Wiley believed that one way to improve an
organization's response to change was to make the parts of the
organization more closely related.
In an 1985 article, Glickman summarized the research on
effective schools and found that such schools shared "the
organizational phenomenon of collective action.He went on to
research on ineffective schools has noted the lack of a
common purpose, finding that teachers in such schools see
themselves as isolated individuals,'islands unto themselves.' 1 2 3
1 Ibid., p. 52.
2 Ibid., p. 53.
3 Ibid., p. 58.
^ Carl D. Glickman, "The Supervisor's Challenge: Changing the
Teacher's Work Environment," Educational Leadership 42 (December
To improve instruction we must give constant attention to
bringing teachers together to work on common instructional
Obviously, Glickman's statement showed that relationships between
parts of the organization were of critical importance and may have
impacted curriculum implementation.
Another approach to organizational factors influencing
implementation was taken by Krueger and Parish. In their case study
of five Missouri districts all implementing the same innovation, the
researchers tried "to determine social system conditions that block
effective implementation."1 3 The researchers identified eight
characteristics shared by the different sites which blocked
implementation and labelled these the "Informal Covenant," or the
existing social system agreements which functioned between teachers
and principals.^ Among the researchers' suggestions on using this
system to facilitate implementation were: "develop a climate of
credibility and trust among all those involved in the program
implementation," develop a communication and information sharing
process, and "develop a support group for the implementation."4 The
authors concluded that "the most important factor in successful
implementation attempts is the creation of conditions in school
3 Jack P. Krueger and Ralph Parish, "We're Making the Same
Mistakes: Myth and Legend in School Improvement," Planning and
Changing 13 (Fall 1982):131.
4 Ibid., pp. 135-136.
settings that promote actual implementations rather than adoptions."!
Krueger's and Parish's statement echoes that cited earlier by Bird in
his work on the implementation process.
Research by Wilson and Corbett focused on the "linkages" or
"the interrelatedness of behavior patterns among individuals within a
school."^ They explained how such linkages affect curriculum
Teachers who rarely have to align their actions with others
initiate instructional changes, whereas teachers who have
to clear changes through appropriate channels cannot exercise
such freedom. If, however, someone should decide that the
innovation in the first instance should be implemented
throughout the faculty, the effort may encounter considerable
obstacles because of mechanisms needed to induce and maintain
new behavior in others are missing. Thus, change will not
likely become very widespread where only loose linkages exist.3
After extensive interviews and a case study of fourteen schools
undergoing change, the researchers found "the presence or absence of
temporary system linkages as critical influences on whether project
participants made changes.The work of Wilson and Corbett, Krueger
and Parish, Wolfe, Wiley, and Glickman demonstrated the impact
relationships within a faculty have upon curriculum implementation.
! Ibid., p. 138.
2 Bruce L. Wilson and H. Dickson Corbett, "Organization and
Change: The Effects of School Linkages on the Quantity of
Implementation,"Educational Administration Quarterly 19 (Fall
Ibid., p. 98.
Another area of research on how individuals within schools
related came from the field of organization development. This body
of research is defined as "a change strategy for organizational self
development and renewal."1 Fullan, Miles, and Taylor explored some
of the characteristics of organization development.
The key words which define OD include: planned change; long
range; organizational improvement in problem solving,
communication, collaboration, participation, trust, and
uncovering and confronting conflict; a focus on human processes
and techno-structural factors in order to improve both task
accomplishment and the quality of life of individuals.^
Of particular importance to this study was the large number of
characteristics in common between organization development and
factors present in more successful implementations. This suggests
that not only do strong organizations implement change successfully
but that organizations can be designed to implement changes more
fully. A drawback to the formal approach of organization development
is the extensive commitment of time (up to five years of periodic
staff training) and resources that formal organization development
programs required.^ However, this does not mean that the large
number of common factors in organization development and effective
implementation is coincidental or meaningless in the furthering of
implementation in schools.
1 Michael Fullan, Matthew B. Miles, and Gib Taylor,
"Organization Development in Schools: The State of the Art," Review
of Educational Research 50 (Spring 1980):124.
2 Ibid., p. 125.
3 Ibid., p. 150.
A specific application of organization development to schools
was made by Wallin and Berg.l They posited that schools were
basically different from other organizations and that, due to these
differences, organization development in schools did not adequately
take into account some of the fundamental conflicts regarding the
tasks of the school.^ They advocated a "development of the
organization" model based on identification of an "outer boundary of
school actions sanctioned by society."^ This boundary is frequently
nebulous and indistinct. Within this vague framework, schools need
to identify an inner boundary, which is all the actual activities of
the school. By knowing these two limits, not only would the school
better understand itself and the society it served, but it would also
be more aware of the area of potential action, sanctioned by society,
but unentered by schools.^
Berg stated that
an attempt to understand and explain the day-to-day
work of schools must take into account the fact that they
are institutions created by society to perform specific tasks.
And thus, equally, a strategy for change for use in schools
has to be compatible with their overall control structure.^
1 Erik Wallin and Gunnar Berg, "Research into the School as
an Organization. Ill: Organizational Development in Schools or
Developing the School as an Organization," Scandinavian Journal of
Education Research 27 (1983):38.
2 Ibid., p. 39.
3 Ibid., p. 42.
5 Gunnar Berg, "Market Versus Mandator. Control Structure
and Strategies for Change in School Organizations," Scandinavian
Journal of Educational Research 28 (1984):51.
Berg noted that, while businesses were independently govered,
schools' actions were often mandated. This created a difference in
purposes between organization development ("to improve the efficiency
of subsystems with a view to increasing the organization's capacity
for self renewal") and development of the organization in schools
("to bring the school more closely into line with the aims of its
mandator, as embodied in the curriculum").^ Not only did Berg and
Wallin make a strong case for applying organization development to
schools, but they also illustrated the importance of societal
influences on schools.
Participative Decision Making
Within the literature on increasing the implementation of
curriculum changes, several specific organizational techniques or
approaches have received special treatment. This section analyzes
the specific effects of participative decision making on teachers and
their implementation of curriculum changes.
In a 1984 study Schneider found that those teachers highly
involved"in school decision making had higher levels of job
satisfaction than those less involved.^ Schneider indicated
that administrators should provide, to the greatest extent
possible, opportunities for teachers who are affected by a
decision, interested in the decision, and/or knowledgable
about the decision to be involved in making the decision.
1 Ibid., p. 68.
2 Gail Thierbach Schneider, '.'Teacher Involvement in Decision
Making: Zones of Acceptance, Decision Conditions, and Job
Satisfaction," Journal of Research and Development in Education 18
By so doing, teachers' perceived levels of involvement will
increase and higher levels of job satisfaction will result.1
Belasco and Alutto surveyed 427 teachers who expressed a strong
interest in participating in school level decisions.2 Their findings
concurred with those of Schneider.
In interviews of fifty teachers in the Bay Area, Duke,
Showers, and Imber found that teachers identified three specific
benefits of shared decision making. In order of perceived
importance, the benefits were: ownership, workplace democracy, and
self-efficacy (satisfaction in accomplishing a worthwhile goal).^
The researchers also found that involvement in decision making was of
little benefit if teachers also did not have some actual power in
determining the outcome of the decision.^
To summarize, participative decision making seems related to
greater teacher satisfaction, and the greatest perceived benefit of
this decision making style was greater ownership of the decision by
teachers. However, other studies of participative decision making
revealed that teachers uniformly did not want to be involved in all
decisions, but actually were most concerned with decision affecting
1 Ibid., p. 31.
2 James A. Belasco and Joseph A. Alutto, "Decisional
Participation and Teacher Satisfaction," Educational Administration
Quarterly 8 (1972):52. 3
3 Daniel L. Duke, Beverly K. Showers, and Michael Imber,
"Teachers and Shared Decision Making: The Costs and Benefits of
Involvement," Educational Administration Quarterly 16 (Winter
^ Ibid., p. 104.
their classrooms. Riley found that "at the classroom level,
teacher's actual type of participation is that on influencing
decision making, while at the building level, they provide
information."^ This led Riley to infer that "teachers, because of
their special knowledge and responsibilities, exercise more control
over their classrooms than administrators."2 This conclusion was
consistent with the studies of implementation which found varying
degrees of use, even within the same building. Riley's conclusion
again illustrated the pivotal role of the teacher in translating
curriculum design to actual instructional practice.
One more characteristic of participative decision making is
important to highlightits ease of use. In contrast to organization
development projects which require extensive commitments of time and
resources, participative decision making can usually occur within
schools with minimal modifications. Imber and Duke found that
"traditionally organized schools with democratic principals may be
the most likely place to find teachers who enjoy both involvement and
influence in the decision making processes of their schools.
1 Dan Riley, "Teacher Utilization of Avenues for
Participatory Decision-Making," The Journal of Educational
Administration 22 (Winter 1984):38.
3 Michael Imber and Daniel L. Duke, "Teacher Participation in
School Decision Making: A Framework for Research," The Journal of
Educational Administration 22 (Winter 1984):29.
The Role of Coordinators in Facilitating Curriculum Implementation
One technique for advancing implementation is the use of
curriculum coordinators or consultants. The relationship between the
presence of a curriculum coordinator and level of implementation was
studied directly in this study and other researchers have also probed
this relationship. A definition of the role of the coordinator or
consultant was offered by Klopf.
Consultation is seen as a pivotal process in the staff
development program. The term has been used to mean a whole
range of activities which enable a person called the consultant
to perform a role of enabling another individual or small group
of individuals to become more professionally competent
in a particular situation.^
Smorodin analyzed the effects of differing amounts of
personal contact between a sample of 130 teachers and a program
coordinator on the degree of implementation of a curriculum
innovation.^ Implementation was measured by a twenty-five item
questionnaire which included ten items related to the use of the
innovation. Smorodin found 1) that teachers who had personal contact
with program coordinators were more likely to implement the
curriculum innovation and 2) that as the amount of personal contact
with the coordinator increased, so did level of implementation.3 1 2 3
1 Gordon J. Klopf, "Interaction Processes and Change,"
Educational Leadership 27 (January 1970):335.
2 Calla Smorodin, "Why Teachers Implement: An Examination of
Selected Variables," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, April 1984.
Teacher Communication and Curriculum Implementation
The first research problem in this study was concerned with
relationships between teacher communication and curriculum
implementation. Research in this area was minimal. Wilson and
Corbett studied fourteen schools undergoing various curriculum
implementations. They stated:
The chance to discuss work or to observe colleagues' role
performances facilitates the flow of professional knowledge
and allows opportunities for staff to encourage one
another. Over time, discussion and collegial observation
lead to shared commitments about what constitutes effective
practice and, therefore, serve as indicators of the degree of
inter-relatedness among staff.^
This relationship was studied as the researchers did extensive
surveying, interviewing, and case studies in fourteen schools
undergoing various changes. The researchers found that "open
channels of communication build the opportunity for interaction and
develop interdependence among staff. Shared commitments to certain
teaching practices can develop through these exchanges.
As part of the implementation process, each school developed
a committee of teachers and administrators. The effects of these
committees on teacher communication were also relevant to the current
First, school planning committees were used to assess school
needs and make change decisions. In all but two instances,
these committees exhibited strong linkages among their members
and, not surprisingly, most members made project-related
changes.3 2 3
^ Wilson and Corbett, p. 88.
2 Ibid., p. 91.
3 Ibid., p. 97.
The effect that these committees had upon teacher communication was
These temporary systems, then typically provided tight cultural
linkages through high agreement about priorities. Interpersonal
linkages were strengthened by increased opportunities for
discussion, and structural linkages were tightened by joint
decision making which reduced individuals' discretion about the
kinds of changes that needed to be made.3
The researchers stated that the presence or absence of system
linkages had "critical influences on whether project participants
Wilson and Corbett strongly suggested that organizational
linkages were important to facilitating curriculum implementation.
When qualitative data were incorporated into the analysis,
it was found that linkages in temporary planning systems,
subunit variation on linkages within a school, and selective
use of certain linkages to promote change could increase the
quantity of implementation.3
Their conclusions echoed those made by earlier researchers who
emphasized the importance of close relationships within an
While this review of related literature has been far ranging,
so have attempts to facilitate curriculum implementation. Such 1 2 3
1 Ibid., p. 98.
attempts have considered the nature of change, its difficulty, slow
pace, and progression through various stages. In addition, research
indicated that teachers experience difficulty in making changes, that
difficulty often produces stress, and that each teacher perceives the
change individually. This could be explained by the teacher's
independence and autonomy within the classroom. Especially in the
area of curriculum implementation, teachers play a pivotal role in
deciding 1) whether or not to use the innovation and 2) how to apply
the innovation in their particular, individual settings.
Several organizational factors have been found to influence
the degree of implementation of a curriculum change. Among these
factors are reducing separation in schools, making schools more
inter-related, and developing a positive climate of trust among those
using the innovation. These suggestions closely resemble those made
in the field of organization development as schools try to become
more effective. Finally, participation in the decision making
process and the use of coordinators also appear to enhance curriculum
implementation. A common theme shared by all these factors
influencing implementation is the central role of teacher
The literature provides a strong research base for a
seemingly logical connection: organizational components within the
school enhances teacher communication which increases the likelihood
of curriculum implementation. Numerous times in the literature the
importance of interrelatedness within the school was demonstrated.
Various researchers also advocated increasing communication as a
means of enhancing implementation.
The balance of this study focuses on the relationship between
teacher communication and level of implementation of the curriculum
innovation. Four discrete methods of fostering implementation are
analyzed to determine their effect on teacher communication. The
four methods are team-teaching, curriculum committees within the
school, use of the curriculum coordinator, and the presence of an
assistant principal and principal within the same school.
It was hoped that, as the literature indicated, by changing the
organizational components of the school, teacher communication would
increase, which would in turn increase implementation of a new
This research study addressed two specific problems:
Was the amount of teacher communication about a new curriculum
related to the level of implementation of that curriculum?
What was the impact of four organizational components of the
school upon the amount of teacher communication?
The four organizational components of the schools studied were: team
teaching, curriculum committees, services of a curriculum
coordinator, and the presence of an assistant principal and a
principal at the same school.
The outcome of this study was four separate case studies of
how curriculum implementation progressed in. four different elementary
schools within the same district and the level of implementation
achieved in each school. Since this was basically a case study, much
of the detail of what happened and how teachers reacted to it were
gathered via written questionnaires and individual interviews with
selected teachers and the principals in each of the four schools. In
addition, bulletins, memos, agendas of meetings, and minutes of
meetings were analyzed as needed for additional details about how the
implementation progressed. During the course of constructing these
four case studies, it became apparent that some factors other than
those proposed in the problems and subproblems may have been related
to different levels of implementation. The problems and subproblems
proposed here were used to guide the overall research, keeping in
mind that other factors became apparent in the process of exploring
the implementation at each school.
In order to describe any of the relationships posited,
several variables within the research problems were quantified for
study. For instance, in the first problem the amount of teacher
communication (the independent variable) and the level of
implementation (the dependent variable) were quantified. In the
second problem the amount of teacher communication (now, the
dependent variable) and the impact of the four organizational
components (the independent variable) had to be quantified. A visual
representation of the research problems is found in Figure 1.
i ^ teacher > level of
independent dependent independent 1 dependent
research problem two research problem one
FIGURE 1: RELATIONSHIP OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The research methodology is explained in six sections that
1. Procedures for selecting schools to participate in the
2. Procedures for identifying organizational components
within participating schools
3. Procedures for gathering data on amount of teacher
4. Procedures for gathering data on level of implementation
5. Development of the data gathering instruments
6. An overview of the data analysis used
Procedures for Selecting Schools
The four schools studied were from the same district. The
district is large (26,000 students in grades Kindergarten-12),
surburban, and highly-centralizedas indicated by the adoption and
use of the same reading series in all the schools the same year.
Schools were selected on the basis of their identified
organizational components. Only schools implementing the Houghton
Mifflin Reading program were considered for selection. From these
schools four basic configurations were identified.
TYPE 1schools which relied on curriculum committees as the
main means of implementing new curriculum
TYPE 2schools which relied most on curriculum coordinators
as the means of implementing curriculum
TYPE 3schools which relied equally on both curriculum
coordinators and curriculum committees as the means of.
TYPE 4schools which had both a principal and an assistant
principal and relied on none of the above configurations as
the primary means of implementing curriculum.
The researcher identified several examples of each
configuration based on interviews with district curriculum
coordinators, the assistant director of elementary schools, and the
district reading consultant. Each of these four people had worked
extensively with schools adopting the Houghton Mifflin Reading
program, had read individual schools action plans, and were familiar
with their organizational components. Their recommendations were
recorded in the order given, and related to each type of school.
Primary candidates for this study were those schools about which the
most agreement occured among those interviewed regarding their
primary means of curriculum implementation. Next, the researcher
insured that at least one candidate from each type of school was
After selection of the schools exemplifying each of the four
organizational components, building principals were contacted to gain
their support for the study. Had principals desired that their
faculties not participate in the study, the next school most
exemplifying that organizational component would have been chosen to
participate. All of the four principals contacted expressed interest
and support of the study, so in every category, the school most
representing a particular organizational component participated
in the study.
Procedures for Identifying Organizational Components
within Participating Schools
By identifying schools via organizational components, three
of the four organizational components under study were already
identifiedforemost reliance upon curriculum committees, curriculum
coordinators, and assistant principals. Because of the design of the
study, it was also possible to cluster schools based upon their
organizational components. For instance, two schools used curriculum
coordinatorsthe school which relied upon the coordinator primarily
and the school which used the coordinator and committee equally.
Another example was the presence of curriculum committees in three of
the four schools and team teaching in all four schools. Whenever
possible, data from these schools were clustered to illuminate any
relationship between discrete organizational components and the level
Since team teaching occured in every school, the degree to
which an individual team taught with others was ascertained via the
first written questionnaire. Again, other organizational components
and how often they were used were determined via the two
questionnaires, principal interviews, and follow-up interviews with
Procedures for Gathering Data on Amount of Teacher Communication
Since the amount of teacher communication was a variable in
both research problems, gathering .accurate data in this area was
critical. While specific numbers of amounts of communication were
not essential, the relative differences in amount of communication
were crucial. In other words, whether individuals communicated more
or less than their colleagues was more important than the actual
hours spent. For ease of responding and consistency, amount of
communication was measured in hours per school week.
Data gathering on amounts of teacher communication proceeded
in these steps:
1) an "up to this time" questionnaire of all respondents
which determined communication from February, 1987 to
2) an ongoing, biweekly questionnaire which measured ongoing
communication from December to March. This was given to a
. random sample of 25% of the initial respondents.
3) a questionnaire to all respondents in early March, 1988
which measured communication from December, 1987 to March,
4) follow-up interviews of the random sample to confirm
overall impressions of the amount of communication.
The first step was a questionnaire to all teachers in
identified schools which was administered in late November. The
questionnaire determined participation in school curriculum committee
meetings, visits with curriculum coordinators, amount of weekly
informal communications with other teachers, and any other types of
communication experienced up to this point, such as district
inservices, and courses for credit. This questionnaire yielded some
baseline data on what had occured up to this time. It also alerted
teachers of the study in progress. This first time frame
corresponded to the end of the first quarter of school, marking the
end of one quarter of using the new Houghton Mifflin Reading program.
The second step was to select randomly twenty-five percent of
the teachers from each of the four schools to participate in a brief,
every other week postcard instrument which measured the amount of
ongoing communication between teachers from the beginning of December
through the middle of March, 1988. As indicated, these were very
brief, one-sided postcards which required the teacher to recall only
communication about the Houghton Mifflin Reading program which took
place during the prior two weeks. Due to the shorter time span
between measurements, these data were regarded as the most accurate
obtained on the variable of amount of teacher communication.
The third step of data gathering was administration, during
the first three weeks of March, of a questionnaire to all teachers in
those schools studied. The end of March was chosen for termination
of the study because, at the beginning of the study the primary
curriculum focus in the district was to have shifted away from the
Houghton Mifflin Reading program onto a Social Studies adoption to be
implemented in the Fall of 1988. The failure of a district budget
election in December moved the Social Studies adoption back a year,
but it was decided to maintain the original timeline for ending the
study in March because curriculum implementations in the district
studied were usually given a one year block of time. The
questionnaire given in March resembled that given in November and
determined the amount of teacher communication per week from
December, 1987 until March, 1988. As with the November
questionnaire, this instrument was administered during an optional
faculty meeting convened for this purpose.
The fourth step of data gathering on teacher communication
was to interview the randomly selected teachers who completed the
biweekly postcard questionnaires. At these interviews the teachers
were presented with their own patterns of communication, gathered
from both questionnaires and all the postcards, and were asked to
comment, elaborate upon, and qualify their own amounts of
commmunication. In addition, each questionnaire and the postcards
asked for not only amounts of communication, but they also asked with
whom individuals had communicated.
In addition, the March questionnaire asked each of the
teachers interviewed to recall, as best they could, what training
activities they participated in and to rank order those activities by
their effectiveness. In addition to strengthening the study's
credibility with respondents, these questions offered direct data on
the perceived effectiveness of the training activities offered
Following the interviews with those who completed the every
other week postcards, the data on amount of teacher communication
were compiled. Variations between the biweekly feedback and the two
questionnaires were analyzed by school, based on information gathered
in the interviews. The data then yielded average weekly hours of
communication about the Houghton Mifflin Reading program for each
school. The data on communication for schools by organizational
components were then clustered and analyzed. Individual teacher data
and school data were retained for later correlation with levels of
implementation. At this point in the data analysis, relations
between the type of organizational components in the school and
amount of teacher communication were clear.
Procedures for Gathering Data on Level of Implementation
In the Spring of 1987 the district had developed "Standards
for Implementation."^ These specified exactly what the district
perceived as attributes of various levels of implementation. The
three levels were labeled "substandard", "basic", and "extended."
In this study, they were renamed "minimal", "basic", and "extended"
to remove any negative stigma of the word "substandard." Obviously,
a range was possible within each of the three levels; however, the
descriptors which indicated each level of implementation were very
carefully specified by the district.
For this study, eleven categories of the "Standards for
Implementation" were selected for their direct impact on classroom
instruction. These categories were:
1) Preparation to Read
2) Instructional Sequence
3) Application of Learning
6) Early Comprehension Skills
7) Comprehension Instruction
8) Comprehension Strategies
9) Comprehension Use
See Appendix A.
These categories were chosen for several reasons. First, each
category was directly observable in reading lessons. Secondly, these
areas covered the range of skills necessary in reading instructiona
balance was provided between word attack and comprehension skills.
The most important reason was that the Houghton Mifflin Reading
program was different from the basal reading series used previously
in the district in these areas. Therefore, these areas represented a
significant change from past practice and required implementation on
the part of the teachers. These eleven categories were an observable
and balanced criteria for gauging implementation of the Houghton
Mifflin Reading program.
Teachers were asked to rank their implementation of the
Houghton Mifflin Reading program as "minimal", "basic", or "extended"
on these eleven criteria from the "Standards for Implementation."
This was included in the March, 1988 questionnaire to all
respondents. At this point teachers had had six months of the school
year in which to implement these strategies. The researcher assumed
that the self-ranking was an accurate measure of a teacher's comfort
with the new reading program and consequent implementation of it.
Since confidentiality was stressed throughout administration of the
questionnaires, respondents had no incentive to alter their rankings.
In addition, the "Standards for Implementation" were designed by the
district as a tool for self-analysis. Applying these standards to
teachers in an observational setting would not have been in keeping
with the intent of the "Standards for Implementation."
After the administration of the March questionnaire, data
were compiled by school for each of the eleven criteria. Giving each
level of implementation a numerical value (l="minimal", 2="basic1',
3="extended") made it possible to compile individual and school wide
averages for level of implementation. This also made possible
reporting back to each school on which areas they were implementing
more fully than others.
The next step of data analysis was to cluster similar
organizational characteristics between schools and correlate
implementation by organizational characteristics. Then, level of
implementation by the amount of teacher communication was also
correlated as a response to the second research problem in the study.
Development of Data Gathering Instruments
The following instruments were used in this study:
1) Questionnaire of communication from August, 1987 to
2) Postcard surveys of ongoing amounts of communication
3) A summative questionnaire of communication from December,
1987 to March, 1988 and perceived levels of implementation
4) Interview format for follow up interviews of observed
5) Principal interview formats.
These instruments were developed by the researcher with input from
district curriculum coordinators, colleagues, the district reading
resource teacher, and doctoral committee members.
In reporting the data, primary emphasis was given to the four
case studies of how implementation progressed in each school. Each
case study was organized following a single pattern:
1) a brief description of the school, its history, student
population, and faculty characteristics
2) rate of faculty participation in the study
3) organizational components within the school and the
extensiveness of team teaching
4) a detailed, chronological progression of the
implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading
5) a brief summary of the findings at that particular school
After the presentation of the four case studies, the data
analysis shifted to re-consider the two problems in this study and
the subproblems. In order to facilitate the data analysis, schools
with similar organizational components were clustered and compared to
dissimilar schools. For instance, the two schools which used the
services of a curriculum coordinator were compared to those which did
not. Team teaching as an organizational component was analyzed on a
teacher by teacher basis instead of on a school-wide basis since, in
each school, some teachers taught in teams and others were self-
After the schools were clustered, the relationship between
teacher communication and level of implementation was considered to
answer the first problem of the study, "was the amount of teacher
communication about a new curriculum related to the level of
implementation of that curriculum?" Next, data related to the second
problem were analyzed, "what was the impact of several organizational
components of the school upon the amount of teacher communication?"
Finally, the impact of each of the four components upon teacher
communication was separately analyzed. When appropriate, Pearson r
product-moment correlations were drawn to demonstrate relationships
By progressing in this manner, it was hoped that the relevant
details and subtleties of each implementation were sufficiently
explained while also substantiating or refuting the relationships
hypothesized in the problems.
The purpose of this study was to explore components within
schools which may have impacted the level of implementation of a new
curriculum. Two research questions were formulated, based upon
previous research on curriculum implementation. The two questions
1. Was the amount of teacher communication about a new
curriculum related to the level of implementation of that
2. What was the impact of several organizational components
of the school upon the amount of teacher communication?
Four separate organizational components were identified. These were
team teaching, a curriculum coordinator, a curriculum committee, and
an assistant principal. Four schools were then selected for the
study based upon the presence of these components within each school.
Subproblems questioned the relationship between each of these four
components and the amount of teacher communication about a new
curriculum. A fifth subproblem asked which component or combination
of components was present in the school which had the greatest amount
of teacher communication.
The research problems and subproblems were designed to give
structure to this exploratory study. At the outset of the study, the
researcher recognized the possibility that other variables might be
related to the level of implementation of a new curriculum. These
additional variables were not controlled for in the design of the
study. So that these variables could be identified, case studies of
each of the four schools in the study were conducted. The purpose of
the case studies was to document facts about each school, its faculty
and students, its organizational components, and exactly what was
done in each school to implement the new reading curriculum. Knowing
this information, it was hoped that additional variables in each
school which may have affected the implementation process would be
identified. While these variables could not be quantified, at least
these variables, if identified, could be statistically correlated
with level of implementation in future research.
This chapter has several parts. First are the case studies
themselves. They are presented to familiarize the reader with the
settings of each curriculum implementation and how the teachers and
administrators in each school proceeded with the implementation.
This section concludes with a summary of the key aspects of each
implementation, as seen by the researcher.
After the four case studies, the data on teacher
communication, level of implementation, and each of the five
subproblems are analyzed. This section directly addresses the
research problems in this study and presents data relating to the
research problems and subproblems. This second section presents the
quantified findings of this study.
Since this study was an exploratory one, during the case
studies, unique aspects of each implementation became apparent to the
researcher. These unique aspects do not necessarily relate directly
to the research questions but are of interest to those pursuing
curriculum implementation. These unique features of the
implementations are presented following the quantified findings of
The findings of these two sectionsthe subjective
conclusions about the implementations (from the case studies), and
findings from the quantitative data, were combined in the final
section of this chapter.
Case Study One
Ponderosa Elementary was a medium-sized school of 430
students. The facility itself was twenty years old and was located
two blocks off a major thoroughfare. The area surrounding Ponderosa
was residential, with a light mixture of commercial and small
industrial buildings located near the major thoroughfare. Homes in
the area were similar in age to the school itself. A number of
apartments near the school were ten to fifteen years old and the area
contained no newly built homes or apartments.
The student population at Ponderosa came from a variety of
backgrounds. Thirty-three percent of the students at Ponderosa
qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches. This indicated that
some Ponderosa students came from poorer families. To meet the needs
of these poorer (and presumably educationally deprived) students,
Ponderosa had a Primary Assistance and Support (PAS) teacher. This
PAS teacher worked with kindergarten and first-grade teachers to help
them provide remedial instruction to students from deprived
backgrounds. For the purposes of this study, the presence of a PAS
teacher at Ponderosa was simply another indication of the socio-
economic status of some Ponderosa students. Ethnically, 69 percent
of the students were Anglo, twenty percent were Black, eight percent
were Hispanic, and three percent were Asian. At the time of the
study, six Ponderosa students spoke no English.
The Ponderosa faculty consisted of eighteen teachers,
including the Media Specialist and Special Education teachers. The
average number of years in teaching among the fifteen Ponderosa
teachers who volunteered to participate in this study was 8.3 years.
Several years ago this average tenure would have been much higher,
but numerous veteran Ponderosa teachers had recently retired. Due to
these retirements, a large number of new teachers had been hired at
Ponderosa within the past three years and twelve participants in the
study did not yet have tenure in the district. Basically, then there
were two faculties at Ponderosaone very experienced and the other
A faculty meeting was held at Ponderosa in October of 1987 to
introduce this study and solicit teachers' participation in it. At
the meeting, it was made clear that participation was strictly
voluntary. Of the eighteen possible teachers who could have
volunteered for the study, fifteen (or 83%) did so. The principal
was asked to comment on any possible differences among those who
volunteered for the study and those who did not, but was unable to
identify any. Perhaps those who did not participate in the study
made that choice for reasons unrelated to the study. Those who did
choose to participate completed the first questionnaire in that
October faculty meeting.
Ponderosa had a number of special programs. One was the
Primary Assistance and Support (PAS) teacher who provided remedial
instruction to primary-aged children. The PAS teacher was regarded
as a regular education teacher and did not fall under the category of
Special Education. Another special program at Ponderosa was for
primary-aged children who had severe learning disabilities. These
children were taught in a self contained classroom. A third program
at Ponderosa for primary-aged children was the Communications Center,
which was designed for children with hearing or speaking handicaps.
Finally, Ponderosa also housed a program for Severely Impaired
Emotionally-Behaviorally Disabled (SIEBD) students. Students in the
Learning Disabilities, Communication Center, and SIEBD programs were
bussed to Ponderosa from a wide area in that section of the district.
Therefore, while Ponderosa housed three Special Education programs,
this did not indicate a higher proportion of handicapped or disabled
students in the Ponderosa attendance area. Two of the three Special
Education teachers participated in the study. They were included
because they, too, were implementing the Houghton Mifflin Reading
program as their main reading curriculum.
The age of the facility, the large number of recent
retirements, and its special programs, contributed to Ponderosa's
reputation in the district as a school experiencing renewal and
rebirth. The researcher was made aware of this reputation in
conversations with other administrators in the district and from
comments made about the school in district meetings. With twelve
untenured teachers, the faculty was relatively young and the tone in
all meetings between the study participants and the researcher was
very upbeat and light. When asked to characterize Ponderosa in
interviews at the end of the study, teachers said "Ponderosa is just
starting to take off. (The principal) has been a major force in
helping us turn around."
The principal at Ponderosa was in her first year during the
year of the study. The previous principal at Ponderosa had retired
the year before, following some health problems. Ponderosa's new
principal had only worked for the district for three yearsone as an
acting principal, and two years as a curriculum coordinator. This
background was unique among principals in the district, the vast
majority of whom had never been curriculum coordinators. This
previous experience may have also had an impact upon how the
curriculum coordinator was used to foster implementation at
Ponderosa. Asked to characterize her new school, the Ponderosa
principal replied "Ponderosa is a good school with lots of potential.
We serve a population that is basically middle class but within that
there is a broad spectrum of kids." The principal's choice of the
word "potential" echoed Ponderosa's reputation throughout the
district of an "up and coming school."
Ponderosa was selected as a site for the study based on the
recommendations of the districts reading consultant, both district
curriculum coordinators, and the assistant director of elementary
schools. These people were asked to name a school which heavily
relied upon a curriculum coordinator as a way of implementing new
curriculum. The school mentioned most often which fit this criterion
During the implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading
program, the curriculum coordinator was used at Ponderosa a number of
ways. These were outlined by the principal.
To begin with (the coordinator) came in to do a monitoring visit
with each teacher to gauge where we were. At this point we just
had a shell of a plan and needed more specific information. Her
focus was on how teachers were teaching inferential
comprehension. Then, in the second semester we decided to do
some real staff development. One teacher at each grade-level
team taught a lesson with the coordinator. They planned
together and then taught the lesson together. This was a very
"up" experience for teachers. In addition (the coordinator) has
done some work with new teachers on the reading program. She
frequently visits these new teachers and others as needed.
As this summary of the coordinator's activities and the step by step
description of the implementation at Ponderosa (later in the chapter)
indicated, the coordinator conducted a variety of activities during
Another organizational component felt to be related to
teacher communication was the amount of team teaching at a school.
Throughout the study, three levels of team teaching were identified:
no team teaching (self contained), some team teaching (for science
and social studies), or mostly team teaching (for most subjects,
including reading). At Ponderosa, 40% of the participants in the
study were self contained for instruction. Thirteen percent of the
respondents, or two participants, did some team teaching. The
balance of the participants, seven teachers, or 47% of the
participants, mostly team taught. At Ponderosa there was a range in
the amount of team teaching among the participants in the study.
A third organizational component which was felt to be related
to teacher communication was also present at Ponderosaa curriculum
committee. This was new at Ponderosa in the year of the study,
having been initiated by the new principal. The purpose of this
group was to gather communication from grade-level teams (all the
teachers at one grade) and share it with the principal. In addition,
the committee gathered input on which inservice activities were most
needed by the teachers. Initially, Ponderosa's principal reported
that the committee members resisted making basic decisions for their
teammates. "At first, everyone on the committee felt that the
committee shouldn't be making decisions for teachers but that these
issues should be discussed in faculty meetings." The curriculum
committee at Ponderosa consisted of teachers from each grade who
volunteered at the beginning of the year. (The impact and activities
of the curriculum are discussed at length in the chronological report
of the implementation at Ponderosa found later in this case study.)
A fourth organizational component felt to be related to the
amount of teacher communicationan assistant principalwas not
present at Ponderosa. The district assigned assistant principals
only to schools with student enrollments of more than six hundred;
hence, Ponderosa did not qualify.
The principal at Ponderosa and five participants in the study
were asked to recall as many details as possible regarding what was
done to implement the Houghton Mifflin Reading program. The five
teachers interviewed were randomly selected from a stratified list of
the Ponderosa participants. The list was stratified by grade level
(primary K-2)/intermediate 3-5) and amount of team teaching
(none/some/mostly). The interviews were conducted by the researcher
in April, 1987. The action plan at Ponderosa, which was a detailed
plan of how the implementation would proceed, was also extensively
reviewed by the researcher. What follows, then is a step by step
account of the implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading program
at Ponderosa Elementary.
The first step in the implementation took place in February,
1987. All teachers in the district were required to attend an
inservice in the use of the basic Houghton Mifflin Reading materials,
such as the student texts and teacher manuals. This inservice lasted
half a day and was attended by everyone. At these large inservices,
teachers also were shown how the Houghton Mifflin Reading program
sequenced reading lessons and practice activities. This was the
first activity in the implementation for Ponderosa teachers.
Due to the impending retirement of the principal, the
Ponderosa faculty did no follow-up training or inservice until the
following August. Following the tradition of the district, the
retiring principal did no planning for the next school year so that
the new principal could determine her own priorities and plans.
Therefore, no implementation plan was written by the retiring
principal and the Ponderosa faculty attended no further training
activities that school year.
At the beginning of the next school year, Ponderosa's new
principal established the curriculum committee by asking for one
volunteer from each grade. This group was formed in August, 1987.
The next step of the implementation was training for
Ponderosa's faculty on how to administer the Houghton Mifflin Reading
placement tests and individual reading inventories. This training
was done by the principal during a faculty meeting early in
That same month the curriculum committee met to discuss how
to store'and organize the Houghton Mifflin Reading program materials,
how to check to be sure that students were placed in the proper
reading book, and how the committee would conduct a needs assessment
of the entire faculty to see how well implementation was progressing
and what additional training would be helpful to teachers. These
three topics covered a wide range of concernsfrom simply where to
put the books, to how to assess progress during the implementation.
It was also clear from these topics that Ponderosa's curriculum
committee would be gathering input on important issues surrounding
the implementation. In short, the committee would deal with
important issues regardless of its hesitation to make decisions for
other teachers at Ponderosa.
An outcome of this meeting was the committee's decision to
conduct a faculty needs assessment. Input was gathered from grade-
level teams on what focus teachers wanted for this first year of
implementation. To provide areas of possible focus, the committee
used the district's "Standards for Implementation," which had been
developed the previous year by the district reading committee. These
"Standards for Implementation" addressed a wide range of topics
within the area of reading instruction. Within each topic, criteria
were developed which represented different levels of implementation
of the new reading program.^ These "Standards for Implementation"
were designed to be a road map for teachers so they could assess
their current level of implementation and progress toward greater use
of the new program.
Curriculum committee members met with their grade-level
teammates, shared the topics from the "Standards for Implementation,"
and gathered input on which areas were felt to be most important or
most needed. These grade-level meetings were the first time input
was directed to the principal via the curriculum committee.
Previously, input was simply gathered during meetings of the whole
See Appendix A.
Once the curriculum committee received feedback from each
grade on the "Standards for Implementation," the committee identified
a building goal for the year.
Students will demonstrate achievement in inferential
comprehension skills by 60% of students attaining criterion
scores on TBRS (Test of Basic Reading Skillspublished by
Houghton Mifflin) and by demonstrating to parents an example of
In October, this goal was proposed to teachers at grade-
level team meetings. In addition, the principal wrote an action plan
for meeting this goal. Action plans were required by the district of
all principals as a way of identifying each school's goal for the
year and monitoring achievement of that goal. In grade-level
meetings, teachers were also asked to give input on the action plan
itself. This pattern of asking for faculty input on decisions
continued throughout the implementation at Ponderosa.
Also during the month of October, all Ponderosa teachers
attended two mandatory, district-wide training sessions featuring
consultants from Houghton Mifflin. The topics for the sessions were
alternatives to seatwork and how to enhance student comprehension.
At the end of October, after the first quarter of reading
instruction, the principal met with teachers by grade levels to
discuss what books students were placed in and how quickly teachers
were teaching the new program. Meetings between the principal and
grade-level teams were held at the end of each quarter throughout the
year. Asked to typify teachers' implementation of the new reading
See Appendix B.
program at the end of the first quarter, the principal responded,
We were on target but things were going slowly. Teachers felt
we had started instruction late due to the placement process.
Even though teachers were struggling, most liked Houghton
Mifflin Reading better than our previous series. The biggest
problem I saw was that teachers were trying to get every single
skill in during their instruction.
In November, the curriculum coordinator spent an entire week
at Ponderosa. She accomplished two things during that time. First,
she observed each teacher during reading instruction and gave him/her
feedback on use of the reading materials and instructional
techniques. Second, she presented a training session to teachers on
how to select the most important skills from all those presented in
the Houghton Mifflin Reading program. Considering the principal's
concern with teachers trying to teach every skill in the program, the
coordinator's training session on skill selection seemed very
relevant. At the end of her visit, the coordinator gave a written
summary of the patterns of strengths and needs she saw during her
classroom observations. This summary was generic and identified no
one by name. The principal, in turn, shared the coordinator's
summary with the curriculum committee.
Another training session for the faculty was conducted by an
outside consultant during December, 1987. The topic of this second
session was the whole-language approach to reading instruction. No
follow-up sessions or meetings were held on this topic. It appeared
that, although this topic was not called for in Ponderosa's action
plan, some teachers expressed some interest in the area of whole-
language and, as a result, this session was held.
In February, 1988 the curriculum committee met again to
discuss the idea of a reading resource room and how it could be
organized. This idea was a priority of Ponderosa's principal, and
she had presented it to the committee and sought their input on how
to best implement it. Again this topic did not surface as a priority
among the faculty or in the needs assessment. While the principal
regarded the establishment of a reading resource room as an
eventuality at Ponderosa, no follow-up or training sessions on this
idea was presented during the rest of the implementation period
In March, 1988 Ponderosa's curriculum coordinator visited the
school for another week. Between her November and March visits the
coordinator had worked at Ponderosa periodically, helping new
teachers and those who were having difficulty teaching the new
reading program. These visits were following the coordinator's
previous classroom observations. In addition, Ponderosa's principal
occasionally asked the coordinator to work with teachers, whom the
principal had noticed were having difficulty. During her March visit
the coordinator focused her work on Ponderosa's goal of improving
students' inferential comprehension skills. The coordinator and one
teacher at each grade level jointly planned and then team taught a
reading lesson designed to enhance students' inferential
comprehension. Due to this activity, six teachers had the chance to
work directly with the curriculum coordinator. Teachers at the same
grade then had the chance to observe the lesson and talk with both
their teammate and the coordinator about what they taught. When
asked which activity of the implementation had the biggest impact on
teachers, Ponderosa's principal responded "(the coordinator's) team
teaching with one person at every grade."
The last activity of the implementation at Ponderosa was
another needs assessment. As with the first assessment, curriculum
committee members met with their teammates to gather input on goals
and priorities for the 1988-89 school year. Instead of using the
"Standards for Implementation", the committee simply asked what
teachers wanted Ponderosa's focus for the following year to be.
Preliminary results showed that teachers were concerned about the
impact that placing students in certain reading levels had upon
students' self esteem. The rate at which teachers taught material
and its impact on student self esteem were also of concern to
teachers. In short, by the end of the first year of implementation,
teachers were no longer concerned about how well they were using the
reading program. Instead, they became more concerned with the impact
instructional decisions had upon student self esteem. This shift of
focus from the teacher's relationship to the new program to the
impact of decisions on students probably indicated that teachers were
becoming more comfortable with the program.
Asked to summarize teachers' implementation of the Houghton
Mifflin Reading program in April, the principal responded very
positively, in contrast to her October response.
Teachers are feeling good about the new reading program. There
is a real sense of completion. As teachers plan ahead they can
see pitfalls in front of them. Test scores (on the Test of
Basic Reading Skills) are generally good but, depending on the
grade level, there can be a tremendous variance on the scores.
The implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading program at
Ponderosa is summarized in Table 1.
TABLE 1 TIMELINE OF IMPLEMENTATION ACTIVITIES
Date Activity Amount of Participation
August, 1987 Curriculum committee formed committee
September 87 Teachers received training in how to administer placement materials at a faculty meeting entire faculty
September 87 Curriculum Committee met to discuss organization of materials, how to monitor placement, needs assessment using "Standards of Implementation" committee
September 87 Grade-level teams completed needs assessment using "Standards of Imp." grade-level teams
October 87 Curriculum committee met to review results of needs assessment and propose building goal committee
October 87 Curriculum committee received and incorporated ideas from grade-level teams into action plan committee/ grade-level teams
October 87 District-wide inservice presented on alternatives to seatwork, enhancing comprehension entire faculty
November 87 Principal met with grade-level teams to discuss placement and pacing grade-level teams
November 87 Curriculum Coordinator presented training in selecting critical skills coordinator/ faculty
for reading instruction
November 87 Coordinator visited all teachers and gave input on implementation to curriculum committee coordinator/ committee
December 87 Outside consultant presented training on the whole-language approach consultant/ faculty
February 88 Curriculum committee met to discuss concept of reading resource room and how to organize it committee
March 1988 Coordinator team taught lessons with one teacher at each grade on inferen- tial comprehension coordinator
March 1988 Curriculum committee conducted needs assessment to set goals/priorities for 1988-1989 school year committee/ faculty.
Through examination of each step of the implementation at
Ponderosa, several points became apparent. First was the importance
placed upon teacher input during implementation. Ponderosa teachers
were asked to determine a goal for the school twice during the
implementation, and were asked to comment on how that goal would be
achieved. Gathering teacher input and directing training and
inservice based on the needs of teachers were the major purposes of
Ponderosa's curriculum committee.
A second point regarded how quickly teachers' needs were met
via training or inservice. For example, in early September all
teachers were shown how to assign students to appropriate reading
materials. In October, after the principal became concerned about
teachers trying to teach every skill, the curriculum coordinator
trained teachers how to determine which skills were most important
for which students. Training sessions were held immediately after
needs were identified by teachers.
A third point regarded the focus on planned activities at
Ponderosa. Once a goal and a plan for achieving it were identified,
little extraneous training or activities took place. The exceptions
were the whole-language training in December and the principal's
interest in a reading resource room. These two topics were not part
of the original implementation plan, did not seem to meet an apparent
need of teachers, and received no follow up. These exceptions,
illustrate how well the rest of the training and meetings focused on
Ponderosa's goal and action plan.
Three organizational components were identified at Ponderosa
which may have been related to the amount of teacher communication.
They were team teaching, a curriculum committee, and a curriculum
coordinator. The role of team teaching in fostering communication
among teachers was difficult to determine from the case study alone.
It was apparent, though, that the principal met with teams at least
quarterly and that input to the curriculum committee was sought from
grade-level teams. There was no indication that the principal
routinely met with individual teachers to discuss issues about
The second organizational component was the Ponderosa
curriculum committee. While this idea was new the year of the
implementation, the committee began by considering important issues
and topics and continued to do so throughout the year. The
curriculum committee gathered input from grade-level teams, finalized
Ponderosa's goal, and conducted a second needs assessment. These
were substantive tasks for a new group.
The third organizational component at Ponderosa was the
curriculum coordinator. The school's history of using the
coordinator during curriculum implementation was the basis for the
inclusion of Ponderosa in the study. The coordinator was used in a
variety of ways. During the implementation Ponderosa's curriculum
coordinator observed teachers and gave them feedback on their reading
instruction, presented training on how to select critical reading
skills, helped individual teachers who were having difficulty, and
team taught a lesson with one teacher at each grade while his/her
teammates observed. All these activities met teachers needs as
perceived by the principal and coordinator, or as specified in the
action plan. Again, Ponderosa's principal believed the most helpful
single activity during the implementation was the team teaching with
the curriculum coordinator.
Many factors and variables may have affected the
implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading program at Ponderosa.
Those apparent from this case study include the importance placed on
teacher input during implementation, the speed with which teachers'
needs were met via training activities, the clear focus upon planned
activities throughout the implementation and avoidance of extraneous
events, the reliance on input from grade-level teams rather than
individual teachers, the variety of substantive tasks which the
curriculum committee addressed, and the purposeful utilization of the
curriculum coordinator. Later in this chapter the relationship
between these organizational components and the amount of teacher
communication is examined.
Case Study Two
Utah Elementary was built in 1951 in what was then a typical,
middle class subdivision. Since that time, many of the two and three
bedroom homes around the school were used for rental property and
small apartment buildings were built in Utah's attendance area. In
addition, Utah was located two blocks off a major retail thoroughfare
which had a large number of motels. As the area around Utah
Elementary changed, more and more motels nearby began offering rooms
at weekly and monthly rates. As time passed, the area surrounding
Utah became less desirable and more transient, with a growing crime
rate. While still not an inner-city school, Utah has had less and
less in common with suburban schools in the same district and more in
common with the schools of the neighboring, large, urban district.
Most of the students at Utah lived in apartments, rented
single-family homes, or motels. Student mobility rates at Utah were
among the highest in the district studied. Students generally came
from working class, blue-collar families. Forty-one percent of the
students qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches and 12% of the
students also qualified for the Federally-subsidized free breakfast
program at Utah. Further evidence of the economic needs of the
students at Utah were the presence of Chapter 1 reading and math
programs at Utah. Utah also qualified to have a Primary Assistance
and Support (PAS) teacher, whose job it was to remediate primary-aged
students who had limited educational backgrounds. Typically,
district sponsored PAS teachers were only found in schools where
students came from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Ethnically, 52%
of Utah's students were Anglo, 31% were Black, 12% were Asian, and
five percent were Hispanic.
The faculty at Utah consisted of sixteen teachers including
Special Education teachers and the Media Specialist. The average
number of years as a teacher among the participants in the study was
nine years. Five of the participants at Utah were untenured, which
indicated moderate turnover on the faculty. Out of sixteen possible
participants in the study, eleven Utah teachers, or 69% of the
faculty, volunteered to participate. When asked to differentiate
between participants and non participants, Utah's principal was
unable to identify distinguishing characteristics between the two
groups. The only distinction the researcher noted was that nearly
all the teachers on Utah's curriculum committee volunteered for the
Due in large part to the socio-economic status of many of its
students, Utah had a wide variety of remedial and Special Education
programs. Chapter 1 reading, Chapter 1 mathematics, and the Primary
Assistance and Support (PAS) teachers all taught remedial skills to
children who were not identified as handicapped. For the
handicapped, Utah had three classes for Educably Mentally Handicapped
(EMH) children. These children of limited intelligence were bussed
to Utah from many surrounding areas. With nearly forty EMH students
being mainstreamed into regular education classes whenever possible,
these special programs had a strong impact at Utah Elementary.
The motto at Utah was that Utah students were "safe,
respectful, responsible learners." Asked to characterize her school,
Utah's principal echoed the theme. "The main emphasis here is
learning. We do our best to see to that. We try to make every child
a safe, respectful, responsible learner. Each parent and child have
the right to be respected, and we expect that same respect." Three
Utah teachers were randomly selected from a list of participants that
was stratified by grade (primary K-2/intermediate 3-5) and amount of
team teaching (none/ somein social studies and science/ and mostly-
-including reading and math). The participants interviewed echoed
the principal's positive feelings about Utah.
This is a very good school with professional teachers. We
strive to provide the best possible instruction. Change
is hard because we take our work so personally. Everyone
here asks "what can I do to better present this material."
Another Utah teacher said "teachers here are competent and caring.
We have to be very disciplined with these kids. There are much
greater needs here than where I was before." These two comments from
teachers and the principal's characterization indicated the feeling
of dedication and devotion to students and teaching at Utah. The
school's motto summarized Utah's focus on students and learning.
Utah's reputation in the district was strong and positive.
This image of the school was gathered through conversations with
other administrators from throughout the district. Utah was seen as
a school which served its highly mobile, economically deprived
student population extremely well. Utah was also regarded as a
school which was creative and innovative as it worked to meet
students' needs. Examples of this innovation were evident later in
the case study.
Utah's principal was entering her second year there as the
implementation began. Previously she had been principal at two other
schools in the district for three years. Before she was hired by the
district, she had been principal of a school in small, rural town and
had directed its bilingual education programs. Therefore, while
still relatively new to the district and to Utah, she had a broad
base of administrative experience.
Utah was selected as a site for a case study based on the
recommendations of the district reading consultant, the two
curriculum coordinators, and the assistant director of elementary
schools. They were asked to identify a school which used a
curriculum committee as a way of implementing new curriculum. The
school most recommended by these district personnel was Utah. Utah's
principal was contacted, she verified Utah's use of its curriculum
committee, she agreed to let her faculty participate in the study,
and the data gathering began.
As part of the study, the principal was asked to summarize
how Utah used its curriculum committee during curriculum
When I came here the curriculum committee didn't existI made
all the decisions. Then, last year, they wrote the action plan
and used the "Standards for Implementation" with the faculty.
The committee made decisions on where the building was and what
they wanted to do. Their sense was to leave people alone
because it (the Houghton Mifflin Reading program) was new. The
committee didn't have to analyze who was where. Now, next year
they have to take everyone where they are and decide what not to
In her comments Utah's principal made several important points.
First, the committee had only existed one year prior to the
implementation. This showed how new the curriculum committee was to
teachers at Utah. Her second point dealt with the level of
sophistication of the decisions of the curriculum committee.
Initially, the principal stated, the committee chose to leave
teachers alone. Now that the program was underway, the principal saw
the committee needing to make decisions which would no longer treat
all teachers the same, but that would individualize more to each
The participants who were randomly selected and interviewed
were also asked to comment on how they perceived Utah's curriculum
committee. One teacher stated "the committee has given us more than
one mind to work with. When we reach a concensus of opinion as a
group, we have really identified things that will work with the whole
staff." This teacher's comment and the principal's remarks indicated
that the curriculum committee was regarded as having the power to
make important decisions affecting teachers.
A second organizational component was identified at Utah
which may have been related to the amount of teacher communication.
This was team teaching. On this variable teachers were asked to
characterize themselves as never team teaching (self contained), team
teaching some (usually for social studies and science), and team
teaching often (for most subjects, including reading). Of the eleven
participants at Utah, seven (64%) were self contained, one (nine
percent) did some team teaching, and three (27%) team taught most
subjects. In the follow-up interviews, it became apparent that self
contained instruction was intentional at Utah. Teachers commented
that being self contained maximized instructional time and offered
students greater stability and the opportunity to "bond" with one
teacher. Furthermore, teachers stated that by being self contained,
reading instruction could and did take place throughout the day. One
primary teacher interviewed specifically mentioned the wide range of
students at Utah, and that, by having the students all day, it was
easier to reteach critical skills or provide additional practice
activities. The teachers interviewed at Utah clarified that their
choice either to team teach or self contain for instruction was
consciously made to meet the educational needs of their students.
Two other organizational components were felt to be related
to the amount of teacher communication. These were a curriculum
coordinator and an assistant principal. The district specified that
only schools with enrollments of over 600 would be assigned assistant
principals. Utah did not meet this criterion. Utah did have access
to a curriculum coordinator, but Utah's principal consciously chose
not to use the coordinator during the implementation of the Houghton
Mifflin Reading program. The principal at Utah expressed concern for
the amount of trust that was needed between teachers and the
coordinator before the coordinator could observe and be welcomed into
classrooms. Since that trust had not yet been established, the
coordinator was simply not used extensively during the
implementation. By the end of the study, planning had already begun
for making greater use of the coordinator next year as a resource
person to the faculty. Accordingly, the principal and coordinator
had started working to increase the faculty's level of trust with the
Therefore, of the four possible organizational components
identified in this study, two were found at Utahteam teaching
(which was rather limited), and the curriculum committee. Having
explored Utah's organizational and demographic characteristics, the
details of the implementation follow. As in the other case studies,
the specifics of each implementation were gathered via interviews
with Utah's principal and three randomly selected participants.
Additional details were found in Utah's plan for implementation, or
action plan, which carefully described the school's goal and how it
would be reached.
Implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading program began
at Utah in February, 1987. Utah teachers, like others throughout the
district, were required to attend a large, group inservice on the use
of the Houghton Mifflin Reading materials and how to sequence
individual reading lessons. Since all teachers in the district
attended this inservice, which was presented by Houghton Mifflin
consultants, Utah teachers began the implementation with the same
basic knowledge as others throughout the district.
Following the district inservice, Utah's principal conducted
a series of training sessions only for Utah teachers. The principal
held four, training sessions for the faculty from March, 1987 to May
of that year. The content of the sessions was the directed reading
lesson, a concept developed by Dr. David Cooper. Utah's principal,
along with all other district administrators, attended a workshop led
by Dr. Cooper on the directed reading lesson. This was held in
January, 1987. Utah's principal took the workshop information and
taught it to her faculty that spring. During the teacher training
sessions, the principal discussed how to conduct directed reading
lessons, then modeled them for the faculty. She then reinforced the
concepts presented in follow-up discussions. These training sessions
did not address the Houghton Mifflin Reading program or its materials
and how to use them. Instead, the principal focused training on
instructional techniques to be used during reading lessons.
In April, 1987, as this training was continuing, teachers at
Utah were asked to assess themselves on their reading instruction.
The tool for these self assessments was the "Standards for
Implementation" developed by the district reading committee.*- The
"Standards for Implementation" described a variety of topics
regarding reading instruction. Within each topic were descriptors or
criteria which described different levels of implementation of a
reading program. These standards were intended as a guide for
teachers to be able to assess how they were teaching and to see how
they might improve their instruction. At Utah, the "Standards for
Implementation" were distributed to teachers. Input on teachers'
perceived needs for training were given to Utah's curriculum
committee. The committee identified two goals for Utah during the
first year of the reading implementation. These were:
1) informing and involving parents in at least one of several
schoolwide reading events
See Appendix A.
2) ensuring that every staff member participate in and use from
at least three learning activities with respect to placing
students, pacing instruction, and diagnostic-prescriptive
The second goal for implementation at Utah was unusual in
several ways. First, it gave teachers a wide range of options from
which to choose as they set personal goals and focuses for the year.
Second, the latter goal focused on instructional techniques for
teachersit did not focus directly on how students were to perform.
Clearly, the Utah curriculum committee and its principal believed
that by improving instruction, students would learn better.
In May, 1987, Utah's curriculum committee drafted a plan for
meeting these two goals. Developed with the principal, this action
plan was presented to teachers at a faculty meeting. Teacher input
was gathered and incorporated into the final action plan. In short,
Utah developed its goals based on needs as perceived by teachers, the
curriculum committee wrote the plan for achieving these goals, and
the faculty as a whole was asked for input into the final plan
The Utah faculty met again in August, 1987. At this faculty
meeting the principal reviewed procedures for placing students in the
correct reading text within the Houghton Mifflin Reading program.
Despite all the previous training at Utah, Utah teachers had not yet
used the Houghton Mifflin materials with students. Teachers also
discussed the rate at which they would be teaching certain materials
See Appendix B.
in the new program. As a way of measuring rate of instruction, Utah
teachers were given simple monitoring charts. At the end of each
quarter, teachers were to list the text and page number for each of
their reading groups. These data could then be compiled by the
principal and school wide patterns could be shared with teachers.
These monitoring charts had been used previously at Utah with their
previous reading series.
Beginning in September, Utah's principal copied a brief
article on some aspect of reading instruction and included it in the
weekly staff bulletin. Throughout the implementation, the principal
included articles on reading in the bulletin at least once a month.
In October, 1987, Utah teachers attended two inservices
conducted by Houghton Mifflin. These two sessions were mandatory for
all teachers in the district. One session addressed how to help
students learn and apply comprehension skills, while the other
session offered alternatives to written practice activities.
Late in October, Utah's curriculum coordinator visited the
school for one week. Although Utah's principal had expressed concern
that the level of trust between teachers and the coordinator was not
high enough for this visit to be productive, the coordinator did
observe in some classes at Utah. The coordinator focused on whether
students appeared to have been assigned to the correct reading text.
In addition to conducting some in class observations, the curriculum
coordinator met with Utah's curriculum committee to offer her
impressions on whether students were placed properly and on how
quickly the Houghton Mifflin Reading program should be taught. The
coordinator did not conduct any training sessions for the entire
faculty during her visit, and no follow-up observations were
conducted with individual teachers. This was the extent to which the
coordinator was involved in the reading implementation at Utah.
In the March interview for this study, Utah's principal was
asked to think back to the end of the first quarter and to summarize
implementation of the Houghton Mifflin Reading program at that point
in time. She recalled "It was December before I could see teachers'
facesbefore that all I could see was the tops of their heads. They
were so intent on reading to students from the teachers manuals."
In November, 1987 teachers at the same grade met with the
principal to discuss the rate at which they were teaching materials
in the new program. These meetings were a follow-up to the
monitoring charts teachers had been given in August and were asked to
complete at the end of each quarter. These meetings also gave
teachers a chance to share concerns directly with the principal.
In December, Utah's curriculum committee met again. At this
time they decided to conduct another needs assessment to determine
what areas of reading instruction teachers still saw as weak. Then
the committee could plan inservice or training in those areas, which
could be addressed on a teacher inservice day in April. Teachers
completed the brief needs assessment before Winter Break and the
committee reconvened in January to plan training activities for
Two areas of concern surfaced from the December needs
assessment. First, teachers were interested in how to better teach
reading to economically and/or culturally deprived students. The
second area of concern had nothing to do with the reading
implementation. Teachers expressed a need to help students manage
and resolve conflict better. These areas of concern indicated that
teachers felt very comfortable with their basic reading instruction
and were now looking at ways to refine it. Utah's curriculum
coordinator, who had recently completed a monograph on reading
instruction for culturally deprived students, was asked to conduct a
session in April.
In February, Utah's principal again met with teachers by
grade levels. As in November, the topics for these meetings were
rate of instruction and whether students were reading from the
appropriate texts. Again, data had been collected from the
monitoring charts teachers were given in August and asked to complete
In late February, Utah's curriculum coordinator spent four
days at the school observing in classrooms. The coordinator's focus
this time was on one component of the Madelyn Hunter model for
instruction. These observations, then, did not directly relate to
the reading implementation and no summary of her visit was given to
the curriculum committee, as was done in November.
In the middle of April, Utah teachers participated in a
teacher inservice day. Sessions were held at Utah regarding the two
topics which were areas of concern in the December needs assessment
reading instruction for the economically and culturally deprived and
conflict resolution for students. The curriculum coordinator
conducted the session on reading instruction for the culturally
At the end of April, Utah's curriculum committee met again
and conducted a third needs assessment. The results of this
assessment would determine Utah's goal for the 1988-89 school year.
As part of the assessment, curriculum committee members encouraged
their teammates to review, the.district's "Standards for
Implementation" to ensure that teachers' needs in the area of reading
instruction had been met. Input from teachers indicated that
conflict resolution training for students was the topic most Utah
teachers were interested in pursuing in 1988-89. This again
indicated satisfaction with their implementation of the Houghton
Mifflin Reading program on the part of most Utah teachers. Table 2
shows the timeline of implementation activities at Utah Elementary.
TABLE 2 TIMELINE OF IMPLEMENTATION ACTIVITIES
Date Activity Amount of Participation
February 1987 District-wide inservice conducted on use entire of Houghton Mifflin Reading materials faculty and sequence of instruction
March-May 87 Principal conducted faculty training sessions on direct reading lessons the Dr. Cooper model entire faculty
April 1987 Committee presented "Standards for Implementation" to faculty as a self- assessment committee faculty
May 1987 Curriculum committee wrote the preliminary action plan based on self-assessments committee
May 1987 Faculty reviewed and finalized action plan faculty
August 1987 Faculty training session held on placement process faculty
August 1987 Faculty review session held on the Houghton Mifflin Reading program materials, rate of instruction, and monitoring charts faculty
September 87 Principal selected and placed reading research articles in monthly faculty bulletins principal/ faculty
October 1987 District-wide inservice held on alternatives to seatwork and reading comprehension faculty
October 1987 Curriculum coordinator observed in classrooms to determine if students were reading in appropriate texts faculty
November 1987 Grade-level teams met with principal to discuss placement of students and rate of instruction grade-level teams
December 1987 Curriculum committee met to plan needs assessment for April 1988 inservice day committee
Faculty completed needs assessment
Committee planned Spring faculty
Principal and grade-level teams
reviewed pacing charts
Curriculum coordinator observed in
classrooms on a topic unrelated to
the reading implementation
Faculty training sessions held based on
information from needs assessment.
Topics included reading for
disadvantaged students and conflict
Needs assessment directed by curriculum
committee using "Standards for
Having reviewed the details of the reading implementation at
Utah, three points were clear. First was the importance of the
series of training sessions on the directed reading lesson conducted
by Utah's principal. These sessions followed the first district wide
inservice on how to use the Houghton Mifflin Reading program
materials, but had nothing to do with the new materials. Instead,
these sessions focused upon how to teach reading. Implied was the
idea that directed reading lessons could be done using any reading
materials. By focusing on techniques of reading instruction, Utah's
principal clearly communicated that teachers would be teaching
reading differently than they had in the past. Some of these changes
were required by the structure and instructional sequence of the new