An Analysis of a Project Management Oversight Committee as a School Improvement Model in One School District
Alston, Anthony Reginal
Imig, David G
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There are persistent and significant gaps in performance between various racial and ethnic sub-groups, particularly between African American and White groups of students, on both state assessments and discipline measures (Rothstein, 2014). Effectively closing the gap requires improving the performance of all students while accelerating the achievement of low-performing student groups in order to catch up to their higher-performing peers. Researchers have found that a variety of school, community, economic and familial factors correlate with low student performance and the achievement gap, but views are mixed on how to improve performance for all and narrow the gap (Alliance for Excellence Education, 1999; Cancian & Danziger, 2009; Jacob & Ludwig, 2009; Janet, 1999; Mitra, 2011; Organization for Economic Co-Operation (OECD), 2012). Over the past decade, federal, state and local policies have made the improvement of low-performing schools and the closing of the achievement gap a top priority. This descriptive quantitative study focused on the efforts of one Mid-Atlantic system to address low performance among certain groups of students using a Project Management Oversight Committee (PMOC) model. The model utilizes data and a heightened level of accountability to yield quick, yet sustainable growth and progress. For this study seven schools (three high schools, two middle schools and two elementary schools) were identified as a result of persistent participation in the process. The academic and discipline data were reviewed to determine trends in performance. In addition to the achievement and demographic data, a satisfaction survey was reviewed to understand the impact of the PMOC process in improving low student performance. Analysis of the data did not find any relational impact upon achievement data. Although the PMOC process did not have the promised impact, it does not deminsh the possibilty that there were gains that would not have occured if the process had not been used. Based on these findings,it is recommended that the system consider allocating funding for further studies to examine the impact of the PMOC process.