School improvement trajectories: an empirical typology


Bellei C. School improvement trajectories: an empirical typology. School Effectiveness and School Improvement. 2015 :1-18.


This paper is based on a multiple case study of schools which have been identified as improving their performance for about a decade. We proposed different criteria by which to characterize and study these improvement processes and, by applying them to our sample, we elaborated a typology of school improvement trajectories: we identified 4 different trajectories of school improvement. We called the first type restricted improvement because at its center is the management of processes that mainly target academic achievement tests; the second is incipient improvement, which is based on changes that restructure the school processes; the third identified trajectory are cases where school improvement is moving toward institutionalization, while the last are those cases where improvement has been already institutionalized and the schools have achieved high levels of educational effectiveness. We identified challenges that schools face at different stages of school improvement and discussed some related policy issues.