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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

James Ko, Yin Cheong Cheng and Theodore Tai Hoi Lee

The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of school autonomy and accountability and related multiple changes and impacts in key areas of school education in…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of school autonomy and accountability and related multiple changes and impacts in key areas of school education in Hong Kong since implementing school-based management (SBM) from 1990s.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore the evolution and the uniqueness of autonomy and accountability in the Hong Kong school system, the paper begins with an historical account, followed by an evaluation of the effects of SBM as shown in policy documents, local research, international reviews and illustrative findings from a case study. The local and international implications of SBM for research and practice are then discussed.

Findings

This paper shows the links between school autonomy and accountability by exploring the potential effects of both of these factors on educational management and student achievement, which are increasingly emphasised in educational policies. The investigation shows that the assumed links and effects are not always consistent or empirically supported. The positive effects that school autonomy has on school governance and management, teachers’ work, school-based curriculums and student learning are all significant when there is also strong leadership, comprehensive continuous professional development and a positive, collaborative school climate. These key elements work alongside school autonomy to facilitate positive change.

Research limitations/implications

School autonomy and accountability should be viewed as necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for school improvement and development. Further characterisation of the processes happening in schools is needed to explore the different realisations of school autonomy and accountability.

Originality/value

This investigation of school autonomy and accountability in Hong Kong provides the international audience with a deeper understanding of the dynamics involved in the development of SBM.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Yin Cheong Cheng, James Ko and Theodore Tai Hoi Lee

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for reconceptualising research on school autonomy to redress the limitations of traditional research, strengthen the…

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3581

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for reconceptualising research on school autonomy to redress the limitations of traditional research, strengthen the conceptual links between school autonomy and learning outcomes and offer a range of new strategies for studying the interplay of school autonomy, leadership and learning.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a review of international studies and the findings of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Teaching and Learning International Study (TALIS), the conceptual limitations of and gaps in traditional research on school autonomy in relation to leadership and learning are discussed, and their implications for the development of a new framework are outlined.

Findings

The conceptual limitations of traditional research on school autonomy are as follows: internal school autonomy is insufficiently differentiated; too little attention is paid to cultural autonomy and internal structural autonomy at individual and group levels; autonomy is measured only as perceived by principals, with no attention to the perspectives of other key stakeholders; and conceptual links between school autonomy and learning outcomes are missing, leading to inconsistent findings on the effects of school autonomy on student learning. To redress these limitations, a new framework for research is developed. School autonomy is reconceptualised as a combination of functional autonomy, structural autonomy and cultural autonomy. Leadership is also reconceptualised by categorising three types of leadership activity: leadership for functional initiatives, leadership for structural initiatives and leadership for cultural initiatives. This categorisation may help to strengthen conceptions of the relevance of leadership to autonomy and performance in future research.

Research limitations/implications

A typology of research strategies is developed to broaden the possibilities for implementing the reconceptualisation framework. A single-component strategy, a two-component strategy, an interaction strategy and a holistic case-study strategy are presented. Depending on the research purposes and the available resources, one or a combination of these strategies can be used to conceptualise the study of school autonomy, leadership and performance.

Originality/value

The new ideas and perspectives associated with the reconceptualisation framework will contribute to future research in this area on an international scale. Future PISA, TALIS and similar studies will also benefit from this reconceptualisation.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Elson Szeto, Theodore Tai Hoi Lee and Philip Hallinger

The purpose of this paper is to provide a research synthesis of substantive findings drawn from studies of educational leadership and management in Hong Kong between 1995…

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2835

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a research synthesis of substantive findings drawn from studies of educational leadership and management in Hong Kong between 1995 and 2014. The goal of the research synthesis was to identify and elaborate on key trends identified by scholars who studied educational leadership in Hong Kong over the past two decades. The synthesis drew upon on relevant articles published in eight “core international journals” specializing in educational leadership and management.

Design/methodology/approach

The study first identifies a clearly delimited body of relevant literature comprised of empirical, non-empirical and review/synthesis types of studies in a total of 161 published research articles from the eight journals. Information concerning the nature of the studies as well as substantive findings was extracted from each of the articles. The findings were then initially coded in preparation for data analysis. Synthesis of substantive findings was accomplished by cross-article comparative mapping aimed at identifying key themes in the literature. Findings within four of the most robust themes were then synthesized and reported.

Findings

The synthesis highlights the challenges faced in Hong Kong’s efforts to reshape its education in a multi-faceted quest for quality education in the twenty-first century. A variety of inter-related issues emerged as policymakers and education administrators sought to implement a full plate of imported globally recognized education reforms. Analysis of the research from this period yielded four robust themes: “leadership development,” “leadership for learning,” “organizational change,” “multi-level performance focus.” The findings also further highlight the impact of “education policy borrowing” on system-level efforts to revamp the structural conditions in which school leaders operate and reshape managerial, as well as teaching and learning processes in schools.

Research limitations/implications

Although the scope of the sources included in the review are highly representative of the “Hong Kong literature” of the past two decades, the authors note that it was not an “exhaustive” review of all potential sources.

Originality/value

Prior research by Hallinger and Bryant (2013b) had identified Hong Kong as having produced the largest volume of literature in educational leadership and management in Asia. This paper represents the first systematic review of research findings that emerged in the recent educational leadership literature produced in Hong Kong. Therefore, although the authors make no claims of generalizability to other parts of Asia or even to China as a whole, the paper offers insight into how global trends have reshaped the practice of educational leadership in one East Asian society.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Shun Wing Ng and Tai Hoi Theodore Lee

The purpose of this paper is to report on a case study of 93 parents’ attitude toward their involvement at various levels of school education in a special school. It also…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a case study of 93 parents’ attitude toward their involvement at various levels of school education in a special school. It also examines the relations between parents’ education backgrounds and different levels of parental involvement.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted quantitative research approach. A questionnaire composed of 30 items under six scales was developed with reference to Ng’s (1999) six-level Model of Home-School Cooperation which was adopted to frame the study.

Findings

The study indicates that parents’ inclined to be involved more outside the school including “two-way communication,” “supervision of children at home” and “participation in parent organizations and activities” than that inside the school such as “volunteering,” “providing advice on school policies” and “participating in decision making.”

Research limitations/implications

In spite of its small scale in a case-study special school, the paper does not aim at generalization but illuminates how parental involvement was carried out.

Practical implications

The study carries implications for school management and policy makers when promoting and implementing parental involvement in special schools.

Originality/value

For the school personnel, a total and positive relationship could help enhance efficient and effective management of education. Second, more resources should be provided by the Education Bureau for special schools to educate parents and subsidize their involvement. Third, more training opportunities regarding knowledge and skills of parental involvement should be provided for frontline teachers.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

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