This introduction chapter covers the background of the study, problem statement, research aims, research questions, study significance, study limits, and definitions of terms.
1.2 Background of the study
As we enter the twenty-first century, there is a greater need for adjustment and change in practically every facet of life around the world. No state or people can remain stuck in an unchanging tradition while the others advance at breakneck speed. Most forces and voices are asking for more focus on educational reform and improvement planning at all educational levels (Zeng & Day 2019). “This is a struggle for the country’s social and economic well-being as we prepare for future century,” says China’s state department for employment and education (Haiyan & Allan 2021). China is also one of the countries that is working to improve educational opportunities for its citizens. It is, however, difficult to transform a system in which individuals are economically divided. That is, the cultural and social background influences educational views.
Indicators for measuring success in a number of organizational settings, such as schools, have been identified by educational scholars. Five factors of effective performance in school were discovered by (Zheng et al. 2019): Strong principal management; a peaceful, calm, and work-oriented climate in schools; a stronger focus on academic growth and programs; and constant monitoring of students performance. These factors of school effectiveness were later listed by (Yang et al. 2018): instructor behaviors that indicate a belief that all students will acquire at least the requisite understanding; and the use of student performance measurements as the foundation for performance review.
However, the National Standardized Achievement Tests were utilized as performance markers in the majority of previous American studies (Meyer et al. 2022). As a result, in China, ‘effectiveness’ meant increasing average school scores in mathematics and reading, or numeracy and literacy. Effective schools, according to (Yuan et al. 2018), are those where all pupils learn basic skills, strive for academic achievement in all fields, and systematic testing can be used to demonstrate performance. Effective schools, according to this opinion, have greater accountability and turnout as a result of increased educational excellence.
The insistence on standardized achievement exams as the single most important factor in determining whether or not a school is “successful” has been regarded with varying degrees of skepticism. Most scholars are concerned that a focus on effectiveness will lead to a reduction in attention for other equally important educational objectives including equality, participation, and social equity (Lu & Hallinger 2018). As a result, defining objectives as standardized test scores may result in a major re-allocation of resources to basic skills areas at the expense of other curricular areas.
Reviewers have sought to minimize these factors to reasonable amounts by detecting commonalities on a periodic basis (Duan et al. 2018), but this efforts is shown to lead to a decrease of clarity and meaningful significance. The review (Ma & Marion 2021) alluded to thirteen primary efficacy indicators, which were divided into two categories: organizational/structure factors and process variables. The past have had a focus on school-based management, effective educational leadership, consensus on goals and staff stability, education employee engagement and performance, parental support, acknowledgement of academic accomplishment, time management skills, and encouragement and support from the district. School-wide collaboration and planning, commitment to the organization, and clearly defined goals and expectations and well-known and implemented norms were the four process factors.
School effectiveness research has had a significant impact on educational practice and policy. As (Huang et al. 2020) has noted out, the findings have helped to shatter the myth that schools could do little to affect the society in which they operate, as well as the myth that students’ development is so strongly influenced by their familial background that they will be immune to school’s impact. The second advantage of a school efficiency research is that, in addition to refuting myths about education’s ineffectiveness, this may help to reduce the use of family history by teachers as a reason for educational failure. Third, according to (Yin & Zheng 2018), teachers have regularly been found to be key factors of students’ intellectual and social success in studies, and as a result, teachers’ professional self-esteem has been enhanced and built. The fourth advantage would be that school effectiveness study has started to build a knowledge base that is “known to be valid” and can be used as a foundation of training.
1.3 Statement of the problem
Positive findings of the research on ‘collaboration’ have been found in several studies on school effectiveness, indicating that it is a factor contributing to school development. According to (Shengnan & Hallinger 2021), both the success of school systems development and the effectiveness of schooling are aided by collaborative management, school improvement and school management initiatives on one hand which greatly influences the success and effectiveness of the school. The performance of schools and the success of school improvement are both important factors that have both been linked to school management. However, there has been minimal research on the relationship between what management do, the level of participation of teachers, and the contextual factors that affect the effectiveness of school management efforts.
In general, research study on primary education are limited. In a significant sense, any persistent research in this sector will add to our understanding and knowledge of education in an intriguing and substantive way. While this means that substantial opportunities for researchers exist, it also means that there are potential issues. The issues, methodologies, and theoretical approaches adopted in the Western literature are expected to have a considerable influence on studies on the China scenario (Liu 2018).
1.4 Objectives of the research
- To compare and contrast collaborative management and school effectiveness in Fujian, China.
- To contrast and compare school management style of Chinese primary schools Fujian.
- To examine school management training needs in relationship to collaborative management styles for Chinese primary school education in Fujian.
1.5 Research questions
Q1: How does collaborative management and school effectiveness relate in Fujian, China?
Q2: What is the school management style of Chinese primary schools in Fujian?
Q3: What are the school management training needs in relationship to collaborative management styles for Chinese primary school education in Fujian?
1.6 Significance of the study
In the Western world, the results of studies on school effectiveness have been widely utilized. However, there has been little research on the school effectiveness and its implications in China. There have been several recent works on emerging countries by Western scholars, but it is critical that extensive research be conducted in specific countries, such as China, to assist clarify their particular cultural and policy challenges (Liu & Hallinger 2018). Those with experience in the nation in question are often the best people to perform such study. Furthermore, the study of primary school effectiveness in relation to headteachers management style, or SMT, has been pushed repeatedly but unsuccessfully, demonstrating a lack of education research in China, and it is a relatively new subject for expansion (Xia 2020).
However, it is also necessary to consider China’s unique social, cultural, policy, historical, educational and political traits. It is vital to explore the concerns and difficulties of education in China in a way that is meaningful to the policymakers, teachers and others concerned, as well as to the academic research communities. Questions on the cultural and specific policy implications of relevant topics, including testing results and China’s unique spiritual values, can also be highlighted in relationship to its effects on students, teachers, and schools (Zhang & Sun 2018).
Evidence suggests that differences in school cultures account for a considerable percentage variation in staff practices and student achievement among schools. There is an urgent need in China for school effectiveness studies to broaden and enhance policymakers’ understanding of the primary aspects that can increase school effectiveness (Chen & Guo 2020). This research could help with educational policy and strategic issues in the realm of education administration. The purpose is also to raise awareness of the inherent disparities in schools that can impede students’ advancement.
According to (Zeng & Day 2019) analyses of school effectiveness studies in the Third World, local schools are rarely employed and evaluated in depth as a subject of analysis in most studies. It is usual in the Third World to find that school performance are predominantly determined by resource availability. Therefore, it is time to capitalize on the present trend in Western literature by looking at school process qualities that are more ephemerally defined as school culture aspects (Haiyan & Allan 2021) and their effects on school effectiveness. That is to say, in this study, the managerial style of headteachers in relation to collaborative management will be thoroughly explored.
Although, the importance of broad concepts of effectiveness has lately been emphasized in Western-based research, China has maintained a strong emphasis on academic success (Chen & Guo 2020). To emphasize how important it is, students in primary secondary schools are given academic report cards to take home each semester, which detail the students’ standing in the class and year category. The student’s overall behavior is the only feature not expressed in percentages and numbers on the card.
There are also instances where schools provide pupils with handouts to take home in order to display their parents their child’s current academic standing on a regular basis. In Chinese schools, academic accomplishment is highly valued. I will show (using studies of school reform and achievement literature, as well as interview interpretation) that academic excellence is simply one part of a successful school. However, as this thesis progresses, it will become clear that a concentration on academic accomplishment is a policy and cultural issue. The current thesis focuses mostly on the practical implications and further development of this deeply rooted tradition. It is also believed that by comprehending all the above, a strategy may be devised to assist (if appropriate) these headteachers and teachers in adhering to the Ministry’s directions, as well as to inform the Ministry’s policies on collaborative and democratic school administration. To put it another way, to fill the gap between the Ministry’s and teachers’ and principals’ knowledge of such problems.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Collaborative management – Collaborative management can be characterized as a collection of diverse management strategies that foster a sense of unity and teamwork among an organization’s management, in this case school administration (Huang et al. 2020).
School effectiveness – The way school effectiveness is used in school effectiveness research is how it is defined. After making adjustments for student background conditions, this basically means that differences in how well students do in different schools are put down to things that schools can change (Chen & Guo 2020).
School management – Managing a school means running it in line with the educational policies you want. It looks at all parts of the school (policies, material and human resources, programs, activities, equipment, etc.) and puts them all together in a way that works well (Bush et al. 2018).
School Improvement – School improvement is the practice of developing schools better, both in terms of how well they do in the classroom and how well they help kids and adults develop their social and cultural lives (Dong et al. 2020). It talks about how schools are trying to improve teaching and learning by changing how things are done in the classroom and how management is set up.
1.7 The organizational study
There are five chapters in this research. The first chapter introduces the research. It also expresses the study’s core theme. Background information, significant information, research questions and objectives, and the overall study are all covered. The second chapter contains the literature review. The methodology of the study is discussed in the chapter 3. The conclusions of the investigation are reported in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 contains the advice and conclusion.
To begin, it is vital to review recent study findings on education system and school effectiveness in order to compare and contrast views on school effectiveness, school leadership style, and collaborative management style. As a result, this chapter will concentrate on concerns about school effectiveness, and also conceptual and empirical challenges presented in the research literature. In what ways these do relate to the China national ideal of educational excellence? This is investigated in order to bridge the gap between the official notions of the Chinese Ministry and those of the Western world, on the one end, and teachers and the headteachers, on the other.
Several studies have attempted to determine the organizational factors of school performance on the basis of teachers’ performance and educational quality. In other terms, the influence of organizational culture on job behavior and organizational performance is currently being heavily highlighted.
According to researchers, basic assumptions, beliefs, and values in organizations can impact members’ perceptions, sentiments, and overt behaviors. In order to maintain this focus, some academics in the area of educational management have been examining the relationship between organizational processes and school quality. The majority of the studies indicates that school characteristics and culture have a beneficial impact on school performance.
2.2 School culture
According to Zeng & Day (2019), organizational culture is a system of underlying beliefs that a specific group invents, discovers, or develops as it learns to deal with its challenges of outward adoption and strategic implementation. Culture is defined as a system of common, taken-for-granted meanings with both explicitly and implicitly content that is taught and transmitted among participants of a historically bound social class, both intentionally and unintentionally (Haiyan & Allan 2021). (2019, Zheng et al.) As a result, a school’s culture is made up of shared meanings among the students. There may be numerous subcultures within the school, such as one or even more students’ subcultures and one or many instructor subcultures.
But, the word “school cultures” is solely used in this thesis to refer to teacher cultural context or subcultures. (Yang et al. 2018) have all argued that in an educational organization, shared values and beliefs shape not only organizational practices and structures, but also people’ perceptions and values, influencing their attitudes, commitment, and performance. Under the influence of unparalleled scope and velocity of educational change, cultures in change are common. However, in other aspects, this reflects a generation-old industrial change. Changes in the environment have an impact on school cultures. Since schools are distributed systems, (Meyer et al. 2022) claimed, change should not have to happen in a clear and consistent manner.
In reality, only a small percentage of school cultures slip into the extremes mentioned above. Real schools can be found at any position between the four corners. Since schools are loosely connected organizations, separate parts of the school, like teacher subcultures and specific classes, have their own distinct cultures, may be placed in various segments from rest of the school, as indicated by (Yuan et al. 2018). In this model, the ideal school from the literature on school effectiveness is in the center, attempting to maintain its selected optimal position in social management and social cohesiveness domains. The principal has high standards for staff work and for the students’ teachers.
Conduct expectations are likewise high. These standards, however, are not seen as unreasonable since everyone is encouraged to strive for them and recognized when they are met. Despite the fact that the school is rigorous for both instructors and learners, it is nonetheless regarded as a fun place to be. However, it must be recognized that the internal and external stakeholders of schools in other position might regard their schools to be successful as well; with the exception of those in the south-east corner.
2.3 School effectiveness
Is there a link between one type of school culture and school effectiveness over another? As a result, the response is dependent on the effectiveness criteria utilized. Staff will emphasize their performance in terms of expressiveness effects that may entail low levels of crime, even while the school with such a welfare – based culture is weak by educational criterion, with poor education outcome measures. The formal school culture, on the other hand, is associated with considerable academic pressure while placing less emphasis on the expressive realm (Lu & Hallinger 2018). It is possible to hypothesize that when schoolchildren come from families who are committed to the school’s excellent academic performance and who are capable of achieving those goals, the school will be effective according to the criteria in place, including fee-paying boarding and specialized institutions.
When students and parents have poor academic best interests, expectations, and involvement, and students possess low self-esteem, a formal school’s failing to offer supportive social stability may make it less impactful in terms of education outcomes – for instance, some internal England schools and some very remote schools in China. The ‘whole institution’ culture may be related with differential or selective effectiveness: the school may be ineffective for students who deteriorate under overwhelming instrumental and/or expressive stresses, but others may cope well with, or even thrive in this ethic (Duan et al. 2018). In fact, while there is a basic question about whether school success is related to culture of school, there’s also the question of whether some cultures are far more beneficial for specific types of educators and pupils.
The balanced culture school may claim to become the most effective because it achieves some ideal position in both domains, but this happens only when both transactional and transformative outcomes are given equal weight in the efficacy indicators. Many families and politicians, it could be argued, place a higher priority on the instrumental than the intellectual, as is the case in Chinese schools. In recent times, there have been two important shifts in the way scholars see school Principalship. First, school effectiveness has been connected to Principalship and related management approaches. Similarly, leadership methods, especially those related to curriculum implementation, are likely to have a significant impact on the success of the schools in that they are implemented (Ma & Marion 2021).
2.4 The efficiency of schools in the past
The school effectiveness movement in Western nations originated in the 1970s as a result of efforts to examine and refute the negative signals concerning education connected with early assessments of 1960s initiatives, especially the Coleman Reports, as well as responses to negative publicity of the schools. The movement’s origins in the U. S. were similar to those of the ‘war on poverty’ initiatives: a search for educational reform which focus on providing an effective education for all students, particularly those who were “educationally deprived” or underprivileged students from minority or poor upbringings (Huang et al. 2020). Although the goals were same, the techniques were fundamentally different.
Raising the school-leaving age and rearranging schools in the UK together with changing standards of education, has given policy and research discussion a new focus in recent years. Concerns over educational standards and accountability have merged, causing the focus to shift away from kid’s equal opportunity. The trend is toward parity in terms of experience and outcomes. There has obviously been a growing interest in the standard of the schooling kids receive during a period when the majority of children attend a similar kind of school for the same amount of time. At the same time, worries about underachievement among specific groups of students – minority groups, girls, and the middle class – remain strong, and comparison studies between schools have added a new dimension (Yin & Zheng 2018).
Although education appears to be unable to change class and other social distinctions in the short term, there is indications of persistent differences in the educational and progress of students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, which appears to be somewhat attributed to the schools they study. (Shengnan & Hallinger 2021) is one of the earliest studies to look at differences in outcomes between particular schools rather than focusing on socioeconomic class and cost. Social class and varied levels of achievement are assumed in these research and employed as controlling instead of explanatory variables. In addition, the concept of school success has been broadened: measurements that were formerly considered primarily as indications of pupil growth are now seen as having the capacity to indicate the effects and efficacy of schools.
Parallel to these advancements in studies, schools and LEA-based practice assessments have become more common in the United Kingdom. The goal of studying results in this case is to identify practice areas within schools that may need to be reviewed or changed. Teachers, administrators, and counsellors at the school level are becoming more worried about the usefulness of outcome metrics. For the past fifteen years, schools have been compelled to publicize some portions of their public exam results, and as a result, school outcomes have become a topic of public concern. In ordinary schools, however, there is no evidence how this market-oriented method leads to the promised improvement. Only the schools named above, as well as a few other well-performing normal schools, have been able to follow and maintain the idea (Liu & Hallinger 2018). People who believe in the market concept, on the other hand, will undoubtedly notice a reduction in teacher morale once their performance is made public, particularly in schools serving low-income communities. The main premise of the method is that successful schools will be rewarded, while failing schools will be forced to change their ways.
2.5 Background information on topics related to school improvement and effectiveness
In Western countries, there is evidence of a fundamental change in the way schools are managed. It could represent a historic transition after more than a decade of steady expansion and achievement in largely centralized governmental educational systems. Governments are observed reacting to shifts in values that influence educational policy. Quality, equality, and efficiency are among these values (Liu 2018). As a result, the government’s or central government’s energies are increasingly focused on creating broad goals and aspirations, identifying results, and building accountability structures. Schools are given a part of the accountability for accomplishing these goals, including the freedom to make decisions about programs and resources. This is a considerable change from less than 40 years ago, when educational policymakers and scholars were gloomy about the potential impact of school-based factors.
The majority of the above-mentioned research was conducted in the secondary sector, and little was known about the distinctions between junior high and secondary schools, as well as their consequences on the students who joined them. In fact, just two significant English studies that address this questions of elementary school efficacy have been presented. These are the following: (Xia 2020) conducted the Junior School Project, as well as a research group from University of London.
It’s worth noting that, in the last century or so, there’s been a rising discussion among researchers and educators in Western nations concerning the extent to which schools differ in their efficiency in assisting students’ learning and growth. The high interest level in school effectiveness may be owing to the subject’s importance to both school principals and lawmakers, and also parents and students. Moreover, the effectiveness research necessitates that teachers acknowledge their own significance.
2.6 Critical issues in school effectiveness
The notion of effectiveness of school is a complicated topic with no commonly accepted guidelines (Zhang & Sun 2018). As a result, a slew of new issues have arisen, many of which are hotly disputed. When effectiveness of school is frequently described in terms of objective achievement, the first challenge occurs. When a school can achieve its goals or objectives, it is said to be effective. The issue is, for instance, how do school systems and their staffs concur on the goals and objectives set, and are the objectives realistic enough for all involved to strive for?
If the conceptions of organizational goals were similarly obvious, school effectiveness is a rather simple concept. However, the idea of educational goals, or objectives, raises a slew of issues. “They are legitimately many diverse and will arise from the traditions of school, the beliefs of the faculty, and their assessments of both present and future,” (Chen & Guo 2020) acknowledged the difficulty in agreeing on educational goals. Furthermore, a school’s ‘efficiency’ might be employed in relation to certain subgroups within a school. Different priorities, according to (Hallinger 2020), cause conflict instead of the cooperative development of common goals. In this case, a primary school might well be considered ineffectual for working-class students, or highly effective for Year 5 students, or any other set of students. The second difficulty that arises from the conception of effectiveness of school is indeed the question from which goals are associated with specific aspects of the school’s operation. On this, (Dong et al. 2020) highlighted the following ways which the effectiveness was framed in perspective of goal achievement:
First, there are the outcomes, such as student exam performance and personal and social growth. This is a frequently utilized strategy since quantifying school efficiency in terms of student performance is essential to students, parents, and teachers. Nonetheless, until outcomes are measured in relationship to intake variables, looking at this aspect alone will not tell us anything about school’s impacts, the (Zheng et al. 2018) stated. If we only look at exam results, for instance, school B may appear ineffectual in comparison to school A. When student attainment levels upon arrival to the school are accounted, it may turn out be effective, i.e., pupils in school B were already intellectually deficient when they entered the school.
Second, elements of the process include school culture or ethos, staff and student engagement with how school operates, and the degree of instructional that is taking place in the classroom. Although effectiveness is hard to define accurately, empirical investigations have proven that it is nonetheless significant (Huang et al. 2020). Schools effectiveness should also have a strong ethos, common values, and a favorable relationship between staff and students.
Third, in considerations of the school’s performance in obtaining inputs, such as the number of skilled teachers hired, government funding, or the resources of the students. Gaining inputs is critical given school management at the local level, parental responsibility, and open enrolling, all of which create a competitive environment for students. This characteristic alone does not respond to the questions of the school’s organizational effectiveness.
The third issue is effectiveness judgments, which are based on different values and criteria among the many individuals and groups that are interested in the school. This means that instructors, students, school board members, and parents may disagree over what constitutes an effective school. Stakeholder groups may have interests that are unlikely to coincide (Aliyyah et al. 2020). A majority of effectiveness studies have expressed the fourth worry that schools’ effects may not be the same for all kids, and that schools tend to be more effective for selected groups of students. Given that effectiveness is dependent on specific contexts, goals, and values, and that most of these are constantly changing and evolving, one last question is if effectiveness must be regarded unstable in nature, since it evolves in response to shifting demands, situations, and circumstances. To put it another way, what works now could not work tomorrow.
2.7 The challenges of good primary practice
What’s the difference between good primary practice and practice for the sake of practice? Education represents a vision of society we want our children to inherit, a picture of the people we need them to become, and a perspective of what it takes to be educated. As a result, regardless of the other aspects of effective practice, values are critical, they allow for the pursuit of a consistent and long-term value position (Kin & Kareem 2021). However, values alone are insufficient; they merely provide broad standards by which we decide whether or not something is right. The approach we select should be effective means of achieving our goals. As a result, we require knowledge of a variety of practical tactics as well as evidence of their viability and efficacy, particularly in terms of their ability to deliver learning that is consistent with the objectives we either set or adopted.
Some even argue that by talking about ‘effectiveness’ practice rather than ‘excellent’ practice, the issue of good practice is overcome in a stroke. What does it mean to be “effective” in relationship to what? It must, apparently, be in connection to a concept of what it means to be educated. As a result, good practice is both educational and operationally beneficial. As a result, effectiveness as a criteria in and of itself is nearly useless. When schools are excellent and teach many students well, the design process moves swiftly in developing nations; when schools are inadequate and just a few students are well instructed, education has a sluggish impact on growth (Huang et al. 2020). To help developing countries accelerate their socioeconomic development, schools need to teach the basic curriculum’s fundamental skills to the majority of school-aged children. As a result, in many countries, academics take precedence over social and extracurricular activities. The few research studies that looked at how education’s cognitive implications affect people’s incomes have revealed significant effects. The educated or literate people are not only more likely to join the modern wage labor market, but they are also more likely to receive greater earnings than less educated and literate employees with the same number of years of education.
2.8 Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework aims to show how this research aims to get the range of views about school effectiveness in relationship to collaborative management because there is a strongly imbedded assumption about their positive relationship. This research is not so much about trying to find the actual link between collaborative management and school effectiveness but basically it’s to trying to find the relationship between the independent variables (collaborative management, school improvement, school leadership management and effectiveness) against dependent variable(the success and effectiveness of schools). According to (Huang et al. 2020), (Zheng et al. 2018) and (Xia 2020) there are different views among the respective respondents about the issue of collaborative management and also try to ascertain why they are saying that and to compare this with the different ideas about collaboration.
This research can be represented conceptually as shown below:
Independent variables Dependent variables
Figure 2.1 (Adapted from Huang et al. (2020), (Zheng et al. 2018), (Aliyyah et al. 2020), and (Xia 2020).
The prevailing academic viewpoint on effective school has shifted over the last 30 years, from one that largely addressed concerns about academic performance in Western societies to one that now focuses on the efficiency of teaching as an organizational operation. This shift is due to a number of factors. First, disparities in educational opportunities revealed that differences in students’ domestic and social backgrounds had a significantly higher impact on pupil achievement than schools. This conclusion is still valid today. Second, changes in social and economic structures in which schools must operate have resulted in a new set of improvements and concerns. Third, the never-ending changes and reforms aimed at enhancing school effectiveness from those responsible for students’ overall achievement have transferred the attention to school systems as an organization and its management. This has resulted in a study focus on how organizations function and how policy action might aid these institutions. According to the discussion and analysis above, the achievement of students in school appear to be affected by a number of things. Understanding the proper combination of several aspects can really assist schools in improving their performance. Furthermore, the exact combination of such school elements is highly dependent on the substance of the school culture, which must be acknowledged by the school principal in particular.
This chapter examines a variety of tactics and procedures for responding to research questions, as well as providing detailed information on the structure of research methodologies and the motivations for using them.
3.1 Research Design
This study will employ a quantitative research design. School managers in China were polled. This study’s items were modified from previously published research. Elements from (Zeng & Day 2019) research were used to assess collaborative management effectiveness in school. The effectiveness of collaborative management was assessed using items drawn from (Haiyan & Allan 2021) and approved (Zheng et al. 2019). (Yang et al. 2018). Items drawn from (Meyer et al. 2022) were used to assess project success. A well-planned research design ensures that the methods used match the research objectives, that high-quality data is acquired, and that the correct kind of analysis is used to answer the questions using reputable sources.
This enables valid and reliable conclusions to be drawn. Ethnographic research, case study analysis, experimental, standardized observational studies, modeling, and historic or document assessment are some of the general research models employed by social sciences. Each is unique, and the suitability of the model employed in a research project is determined by the characteristics of the human experience that a researcher seeks to capture, the contexts where these experiences arise, and the research objectives and questions or hypothesis that a researcher wishes to investigate. (Yuan et al. 2018) state that model combinations are becoming more common, citing an example in which an ethnographer could combine ethnographic data gathering techniques with survey approaches to provide depth to their investigations.
3.1.1 Nature of research
According to (Lu & Hallinger 2018), the goals of a research endeavor (i.e., what the researcher expects to accomplish) can serve as guiding principles for determining which method is best for a study. In their effort to distinguish between Quantitative and qualitative approaches, (Duan et al. 2018) state that the concept of quality is fundamental to the nature of reality. Quantity, on the other end, is simply a measurement of anything. Quality, according to (Ma & Marion 2021), relates to when, how, what, and where of an item – its core and atmosphere.
Quantitative research, is concerned with counts and measurements. Some experiences cannot be quantified. Quantitative research methodologies provide views that can promote recall of those experiences, like sights, smells, and sounds. This technique, therefore, do not have to be mutually exclusive. Because the respondents’ impressions of school effectiveness, collaborations, and styles of leadership are being investigated, which are difficult to quantify and measure but easy to explain in words and deeds, I want to utilize a Quantitative technique approach in this study. (Huang et al. 2020) found that open interviews were frequently given before survey questionnaires were prepared in Quantitative research, and that in-depth findings may be utilized to figure out why two factors that were statistically associated were related. Other research suggests that such an interplay of competing variables can yield beneficial results.
3.1.2 Case Study approach
A case study entails thoroughly examining and analyzing a unit or units as a whole. (Yin & Zheng 2018) issued a warning regarding conducting a case study, stating that one must have a thorough awareness of the previous research, be a question-asker, participant, and observer, be flexible and adaptable, and have an inquisitive and unbiased mind. The case study method’s strength is the attention it pays to the case’s nuance and complexity in and of itself. This component allows a case study to provide descriptions and explanations for complicated social facts, as well as insights into the uncertainties that exist in social circumstances and interactions. It can also indicate some of the differences or disputes between the participants’ points of view.
3.1.3 Sampling Design
Sampling is the process of deciding what information to capture, of whom, as well as when. The researcher must also decide why he or she chose the “what, whom, and when.” It was an intentional sampling in terms of not only “the persons to interview or observe, but also concerning venues, events, and social systems” in the case study that I used (Shengnan & Hallinger 2021). I was intrigued not just in persons, but also in the environments in which they existed and interacted. I had to make decisions about who I wanted to work with (people). Both rural and urban land development programs, sometimes known as resettlement areas, were shared among the rural population. Effective and less effective schools were utilized as settings. It should be emphasized that, because Fujian is a tiny province, almost all schools in similar locations have nearly identical physical features and characteristics, regardless of whether they are located in cities (urban), remote areas (rural), or resettled areas. Comparative over time or comparisons between schools with more or less identical background variables can be used to determine whether a school is effective.
Researchers in the Western countries regard intake characteristics (such as pupils’ achievement before to joining a school, family background, and socioeconomic status) to be relevant (Liu & Hallinger 2018). As a result, this is where my research will begin. Perhaps this study will provide some light on Chinese teachers’ opinions and knowledge of utilizing exam results alone to label a school as ‘effective’ or ‘ineffective.’ The difficulty is that, despite the fact that the definition of “effective” and “less effective” school is extremely broad and complex, the Chinese Education ministry, as well as most teachers and school heads in Chinese, tend to interpret it in a very restricted way. The cultural and policy framework of Chinese primary schools is thus crucial for comprehending viewpoints on themes like “school effectiveness,” as well as the significance of “collaboration” and training.
It’s worth noting that in this study, only school S1 was judged ‘effective’ for resettlement school sampling. In reality, the Chinese Education ministry declared school S1 to be “ineffective.” All of the schools mostly in resettlement locations that I chose at random have extremely low test outcomes. I’m forced to choose the ‘best’ from the ‘worst.’ Keeping background considerations (geographical) constant, and as I was attempting to investigate discrepancies in outlook between ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective’ schools in this study, school Si was selected as the ‘effective’ test and school S2 as the ‘less effective’ data set, since school S1’s test results were significantly smarter than school S2. In other terms, school S1 was selected since, despite performing well in comparison to other schools with similar backgrounds (resettlement), it was nevertheless deemed useless by the Ministry. It was also a type of purposeful sampling.
Selection of schools
Four responders were picked from each of six schools, comprising of the headmaster, one deputy headteacher, and two teachers. When it came to selecting deputy head, I didn’t use any precise criteria. The overall concept behind not being precise was that all of these deputy heads would be extremely busy all of the time.
3.7 Data Collection
Prior to going home to conduct the real research, distribution, and collection of surveys, I had to write multiple letters to Fujian officials to gain access to the school. In China, clearance from the Ministry of Education’s Educational Research and Planning Division is required before any research can be conducted in schools. This was the Division in which I worked, and I was able to gain authorization without difficulty. Because my research will take place in Fujian, I also needed approval from the Department of Education. I responded to them, and they agreed, and in fact, they were excited about the prospect of conducting study in their Fujian province. Because I finished all of my correspondence before returning, I was able to focus more on my actual data collection.
The failure to create a sense of the normativity or generalization of the events recorded is a problem which is sometimes noticed in Quantitative research. This uneasiness is exacerbated by the desire to portray Quantitative data using illustrative or anecdotal ways. As a result, a critical reader can wonder if the researcher has only chosen data fragments that support his or her point of view. Nonetheless, (Liu 2018) claims that the use of simple counting methods can be utilized to survey the majority of a Quantitative researcher’s data and give the reader an overall view of those data. (Xia 2020) goes on to say that the practice may aid Quantitative researchers by forcing them to reconsider their interpretations of their data when simple counting indicates that their assumptions were incorrect. In order to give entire versions of social reality, Xia proposes that counting in relation to natural categories that are congruent with people’s own comprehension is not only permissible but also desired. Simple counting methods including percentages and averages were utilized in this study.
3.7.1 Questionnaire Design
The questionnaire’s questions were crafted following extensive research into the research on school success, leadership styles of principals, shared decision-making, and teamwork. During the writing of the survey questionnaire, I mostly referred to the studies of (Zhang & Sun 2018), (Chen & Guo 2020), (Wen 2018), (Huang et al. 2020), and many others (sample will be provided in the appendix). The prepared questions must be able to participate in the research questions’ responses. The questionnaire too was created with the ability of primary school teachers in mind, as well as the culture and policies of Chinese primary schools.
I discovered that some aspects of the British system for implementing shared decision making were not relevant to the Chinese context, such as issues with staffing, and that this element was left omitted. There were some open-ended questions and some closed-ended questions in the questionnaire. The completed questionnaire, which was distributed to all 24 of my respondents, had previously been pilot-tested with three Chinese primary school teachers. They were granted a few days to respond, and when the surveys were ready, they called me.
With those three teachers, the replies were carefully reviewed and debated. The responses were utilized to reorganize and recreate the questionnaire’s questions. During this transaction, there was also a huge issue since one of the teachers did not grasp what collaboration was. “How about my future participants, do they comprehend this word?” I asked her, and I was already doubting myself. True, as previously stated, some of these did not comprehend the meaning of those words.
The research data was sometimes used to supplement the information acquired through the questionnaire. These two kinds of data have been used to support and complement one another. The complexity of the data acquired, as well as the distinct sets of sentiments and viewpoints expressed by my 24 responders, would be sufficient in and of itself. In a Quantitative method, the quantity of the sample is less important than the broader feeling of experience gained from the observations that are recorded. Tables, averages, and percentages were employed to make the data easier to understand. Because if words are used the majority of the time, the description may be lengthy. Also, because my research is a case study, it will only reflect the six instances and not the entire world.
As a result, the validity would remain. The study objectives were also modified several times in order to make them clearer and to make the analysis easier to follow. The research objectives and data analysis were then organized to first discuss concerns of education quality, then concerns of school management, particularly use of collaborative management, and lastly concerns of the Way Forward for Chinese primary schools, especially with regard to headteacher and SMT member professional development programs.
I believed it would be preferable for responders to write down their personal details, such as their age, academic experience, qualification, and other details, rather than asking them vocally because they would be ashamed to answer them. Questionnaires could also be a more effective way of creating connections and uncovering underlying trends, as well as getting basic data that would otherwise take longer to gather using anthropological methods. There were other questions about school effectiveness, the headteacher’s managerial style, and training staff in the survey. The majority of the replies were again organized into tables for easy comparison and debate. The 24 participants were given plenty of time to complete the questionnaire during the fieldwork. In three to four days, the majority of them completed their responses.
3.7.2 Document Search
I needed some material for my analysis in the later stages of the research, so I had to seek and read over some of the materials in each of the six schools. For instance, I was able to browse over the schools’ ‘layouts,’ which essentially contain much of the schools’ successes or failures, as well as their goals for increased productivity and success in both academics and extra-curricular areas. The outcomes of previous years’ examinations were also included in these blueprints. Every five years, these ‘layouts’ are meant to be updated. I was also given access to the schools’ enrollment books for the previous three years, both for instructors and pupils. Again, I had some difficulties obtaining accurate information because some schools’ documents and plans were out of current. I had to meet with the school administrators at times in order to get the information I required.
With all of the chasing, running, chatting, discussing, listening intently, observing, and trying to annotate what my responders were talking about while also connecting them in my thoughts and field notes, doing my research study was the most intriguing and busy moment of my life. I was attempting to connect the findings from all four methodologies to my survey questions and to identify themes that I might write on in my analysis of data. According to (Zheng et al. 2018), “Creating categories from Quantitative approach appears to be more of a right-brain-left-brain exercise. One role is to distill categories, while the other is to maintain focus on the big image so that the classifications are accurate “. I eventually came up with the topics that would aid me further in my analysis of data after more conversation with my instructor, friends, and personal reading, as stated in the following Chapters.
3.8 Problems that arose during the research
During my research, I ran into various difficulties. This is a regular occurrence for Quantitative studies, according to (Hallinger et al. 2019), who describes it in his research biography. Even after the pilot test to test the study questions and after reconstructing and rebuilding them, a lot of digging, explanations, and redesigning of the initial questions had to be conducted during the interview, which consumed a lot of my time and occasionally the time of the respondents. For instance, there were times when I had to quickly explain the three forms of leadership to such teachers since they said they were unfamiliar with them. Despite all of the difficulties experienced during the fieldwork, I was able to effectively complete my data collecting.
3.9 Data Analysis
The data collection and analysis were done at the same time throughout the study. The data was interpreted using a sifting procedure that resulting in a categorizing of issues of which instructive examples and transcribed segments were obtained. I went over the field notes and transcripts, finding patterns and ideas that would help me organize the entire project and interpret the results. Such that, rather than being optimistic about the relationships, I grew increasingly curious in the respondents’ perspectives in light of the literature findings I had gathered as well as the ‘officially’ Chinese ideas and prescriptions. I depended on my interviews, questionnaires, and observations all through my study, as well as informal talks and dialogues and data acquired through document searches.
In order to ensure more validity, I matched my discoveries to other studies on the same topics undertaken in both industrialized and developing countries. It was a grueling and unbelievable experience attempting to make sense of the data over time, despite the fact that raw data has little value on its own. In the course of writing up the results, I relied on my supervisor, friends, and my own abilities and insight. I did my research as objectively as possible, keeping in mind that the final products should reflect the perspectives of the persons who were researched as precisely as feasible (Ulfatin et al. 2022). I also had to keep reminding myself that the purposeful sampling strategy (school heads, deputy heads, and school teachers as triangulation of data, and interviews, questionnaires, observation, and document analyze as method survey research) must focus on providing a rich and comprehensive image of the social phenomena under investigation. The study themes were conceived through my reading, talks, observations, questionnaire analysis, and, most importantly, interviews.
I next looked into the following themes in order to address my three research questions.
- School effectiveness.
- The management styles of school heads are mostly tied to collaborative management.
- The ‘Way Ahead’ for Chinese principals, focusing on talent management and collaborative professional training.
Measurements are critical in research because they indicate which statistical methods are appropriate for use in the study. The measurement methodologies utilized in this investigation are listed below.
3.10.1 Descriptive Statistics
Almost all study considers descriptive analysis to be a fundamental and significant session. This is due to the fact that it includes a descriptive of the population employed in the study sample, such as demographic data and all relevant characteristics of the demographic as a whole. Demographic profiles allow the study to gather information like gender, educational level, and residence location. As a result, descriptive statistic is employed in this research to determine the means and frequencies of demographic data in order to avoid any prejudice or inconsistency in the study’s assessment measurement.
3.10.2 Preliminary Analysis
Preliminary assessment is a technique for determining whether or not a component of a questionnaire is relevant and reliable. As a result, reliability and validity tests are critical in ensuring that the questionnaire is reliable and capable of supporting the research. Although a pilot study is being undertaken, there is no guarantee that actual test will yield the desired results. As a result, a pilot survey of the research instrument’s reliability and validity must be done.
3.10.3 Hypotheses Test
Based on past theories or studies, hypotheses justify the relationship between variables in the study. It’s being used to conduct a systematic examination of the provided models relying on the sample. The data scientist can fairly say that the model matches the data depending on the test results.
3.10.4 Ordinal Linear Regression
Ordinal linear analysis techniques were employed in this study to investigate and describe the relationship between independent variables of perceived value, perceived usefulness and ease of its use, and self-efficacy for eLearning as well as the dependent variable of students’ performance. It also evaluates if the model is compatible with the findings.
3.10.5 Model Fitting Information
To ensure model match, the Like hood-ratio testing will be employed. The log probability ratio between the whole linear regression and the simplified linear regression is used to calculate the value of the consistency test. If the normality test yields a significant result (p 0.05), the model fits correctly.
3.10.6 Goodness of Fit
The goodness of model fit will be used to see if the independent variables forecast the learners’ performance. So when model has a reasonable goodness of fit, the deviation statistic should not be statistically significant (p must be greater than 0.05).
3.11 Ethical Consideration
Since any research involves humans, it is vital to maintain their anonymity and privacy. Furthermore, it is critical to ensure that respondents are informed of the research’s goal and have the option of participating or not participating in the study. As a result, before beginning the poll, the researcher can make certain that participants have received enough information about the study’s goal and the research’s overall goal.
The data in this study will be subjected to a variety of tests and analysis to confirm its reliability and validity. It also improves the consistency of the results, which can help with genuine study analysis.