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School Improvement From Students' Perspectives: Opportunities and Challenges

Sat, April 18, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Hyatt, Floor: East Tower - Purple Level, Riverside West


The purpose of this study was to explore Priority School (PS) students’ perceived needs, challenges, and opportunities in a southern state to inform state support for school improvement efforts. PS are schools with the persistently lowest performance of all schools in the state. PS are expected to engage in rapid turnaround strategies for improvement. Researchers conducted focus groups with high school students from PS to identify common themes among students’ perceptions. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze transcripts, identify emergent themes, and synthesize findings. Five themes emerged: my future, teachers and instruction, motivation, external contexts, and innovation opportunities. These findings are discussed in light of current research literature. Important implications for practice and school improvement policy are discussed.