Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Lani M. Van Dusen


Site-based management (SBM) in schools can trace its roots back to two phenomena, citizen's movements in large cities such as New York in the late 1960s and decentralization efforts of business in the 1970s. Both were done in the belief that achieving a better result can be done 11 through decisions made by the people closest to the process. Site-based management programs are diverse. Some stress one aspect, the restructuring of the school administration and program to affect achievement. Other schools stress a second aspect, the empowerment of teachers and stakeholders to make administrative decisions.

Whichever emphasis chosen, several changes must occur for school management to move from the central office to the local school. These changes are evolutionary, taking 10-15 years. An evaluation study in a northern rural Utah school that has been involved with site-based management since 1990 allows for a context to understand the changes that might occur, namely, (a) the relinquishment of central school district authority; (b) the assumption of authority by the local school; ( c) the assumption of accountability for student achievement; ( d) the development of sensitivity between school and community; and (e) the development of consensus among school stakeholders.

An instrument was developed for the evaluation, the Site-Based Management Progress Check. The instrument used items covering the agents and activities that would be present as these five changes occur. Additionally, the largest portion of the progress check was based on the goals in the school. As respondents showed more agreement concerning which goals were chosen and achieved, an inference was made that greater progress had occurred toward the team activity necessary for local school management. The data were provided by 100% of the lower-elementary teachers; upper-elementary teachers, however, were poorly represented, restricting data generalizability.

The study indicated that, despite its 7-year involvement with site-based management, the school was still at an early stage of development with no change in district authority and no use of stakeholder groups to monitor goals. The school did have a wide base of teacher leadership. Slow progress seems to be related to lack of knowledge of SBM processes.



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