Multiplicity of school functions in the new century: The shift of paradigm in school effectiveness research

Year: 1996

Author: Cheng, Yin Cheong

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

School effectiveness is one of the major concerns in current education reforms in both local and international contexts. Even though the volume of literature on school effectiveness research is rapidly increasing in the past decade, most of the findings suffer from the ignorance of the multiplicity of school functions and cannot provide comprehensive and powerful implications for policy making and school improvement. This paper suggests that there are multiple school functions including technical/economic function, human/social, political, cultural, and educational functions at the individual, institutions, community, society, and international levels in the new century. Therefore the research paradigm should be shifted from the traditional simplistic conception of school effectiveness with focus only on technical and social functions at the individual or institutional levels to a multi-level and multi-categorical conception of school effectiveness.

In the new research paradigm, dilemmas from differences in constituencies' expectations on school effectiveness at different levels inevitably should be one of the key foci in studying school effectiveness. Since the relationships of school effectiveness between categories, between levels, or between effectiveness and efficiency may not be necessarily positive, there is a strong need to study these between-relationships. Inter-disciplinary cooperation is strongly encouraged to investigate multiple school effectiveness and develop a comprehensive theory to explain the between-relationships of multiple school effectiveness.