What makes a good school? Case studies of school performance

Margaret M Guitard, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of a good school by comparing a high achieving school to a targeted school. The research tools that were employed in the NCEA Best Practices Study (2004) were used in the study. These tools included interview guides, document collection, and procedures. Two elementary schools were selected from the same school district to minimize the effects of county provided programs. Qualitative data were collected through observations, interviews, classroom observations, and artifact collection. Case studies were written for the school district and each school using the thematic structure of the NCEA Best Practices Study (2004). The five themes studied were: (1) Curriculum and Academic Goals, (2) Staff Selection, Leadership, and Capacity Building, (3) Instructional Programs, Practices, and Arrangements, (4) Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, and Use of Data, (5) Recognition, Interventions, and Adjustment. A cross case analysis of the two school case studies was performed using the findings of the Just for the Kids, Tennessee Elementary School Best Practice Study (2004-2005) and characteristics of high performing schools based on the data and research were identified. The findings indicated that characteristics of high achieving schools included high achievement scores on the state assessment, a focus on the needs of the individual child, the inclusion of life skills as part of the school culture, the use of research-based teaching strategies, the use of data to inform instruction, collaboration, a positive school climate that encourages parental involvement, an involved principal who uses a democratic leadership style, and a focus on curriculum making.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Margaret M Guitard, "What makes a good school? Case studies of school performance" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3279048.