Christian DormannCarmen BinnewiesAnna Rosa KochIsabell van AckerenMarten ClausenPeter PreisendörferUwe SchmidtOlga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia

Transferring best evidence into practice: Assessment of evidence-based school management


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Improving the quality of the German educational system has become a pivotal interest among several stakeholders. In parallel, the concept of evidence-based management (EBMgt) has emerged. The present paper deals with establishing the concept of evidence-based school management (EBSMgt). Previous research has established EBMgt as consisting of three dimensions: (a) external evidence orientation (EE), (b) internal evidence orientation (IE), and (c) evidence substitute orientation (ES; Stumm, Mohr, & Dormann, 2010). We applied the scales developed by Stumm et al. to a sample of N = 2,573 teachers and to N = 296 school principals and their deputies employed at N = 168 schools in the state Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP) of Germany. The types of schools considered reflect 92.3 % of the schools in RLP. Principal component analyses for teachers and for principals confirmed the three-dimensional structure of EBSMgt. Alphas were satisfactory for IE (teachers: .87; principals: .74) and for EE (.79 & .69, resp.), but they were lower for ES (.53 & .59, resp.). Furthermore, variance component analyses revealed shared perceptions within schools (ICC1) for EE. ICC1 for IE and ES was weaker. Multilevel modeling revealed meaningful relations for the three scales with variables used for validation purposes (e.g., previously used evidence and usefulness ratings of evidence). Dichotomizing the three scales and cross-tabulation yielded several EBSMgt “types”, of which the ideal EBSMgt type (high IE & EE, low ES; 19.75 %) and the evidence-averted type (low IE & EE, high ES; 18.47 %) were most common. A major contribution of the present study is the provision of the three scales, which allow assessing EBSMgt in terms of different types of school management. This provides a foundation for future studies to identify ways to improve EBSMgt and to investigate its various consequences.

Evidence-based management; Schools; Best practice; Local evidence