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ZENEX ACE: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP RESEARCH: INTERIM FINDINGS. TONY BUSH, NTOMBOZUKO DUKU, EDITH KIGGUNDU, SORAYA KOLA, VUYISILE MSILA AND PONTSO MOOROSI. Introduction. SA is one of many countries seeking to improve school leadership effectiveness

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ZENEX ACE: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP RESEARCH: INTERIM FINDINGS

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Zenex ace school leadership research interim findings

ZENEX ACE: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP RESEARCH: INTERIM FINDINGS

TONY BUSH, NTOMBOZUKO DUKU, EDITH KIGGUNDU, SORAYA KOLA, VUYISILE MSILA AND PONTSO MOOROSI


Introduction

Introduction

  • SA is one of many countries seeking to improve school leadership effectiveness

  • A national ACE qualification for aspiring principals is being piloted: 2007-2010

  • This two-year programme includes lectures, mentoring, networking, and site-based assessment

  • The national ACE is delivered by universities

  • The ACE may become mandatory for new principals


Zenex ace research

Zenex ACE Research

The research, funded by Zenex and the DoE, is a longitudinal study of the first ACE cohort:

  • Literature review

  • Documentary analysis of ACE materials

  • Baseline study (survey, interviews, case studies)

  • Mid-term evaluation (interviews, case studies)

  • Impact study (survey, interviews, case studies)


Ace rationale and overview

ACE Rationale and Overview

  • Many courses make little impact on school leadership and management practice

  • This ACE is intended to be different

  • The modules represent the ‘content’ while mentoring & networks are ‘process’

  • Portfolios and site-based assessment are radical features of the programme

  • The pilot materials have some strengths but also significant limitations


Progress report

Progress report

  • Baseline study completed in August 2007

  • First interim report: November 2007

  • DA recommendations informed a review of the materials, leading to revisions

  • Mid-term evaluation completed: draft report ready

  • Minister to decide whether the ACE should be mandatory for newly appointed principals

  • Impact study scheduled for Nov. 2008-May 2009


Baseline study key findings

Baseline study – key findings

  • Context affects learner outcomes and poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancy are serious problems

  • Most participants are highly motivated

  • 43% of survey respondents point to problems – SMT, SGB and/or community.

  • Most lecturers and mentors are highly motivated and confident about ‘readiness’.


Mid term evaluation findings 1

Mid-term evaluation – Findings 1

  • Contact sessions involve large groups with limited interaction – knowledge ‘delivery’.

  • Smaller group sessions used to promote participation, but with mixed results.

  • Materials are too long, ‘too dense’ and with inappropriate content (MGSLG different).

  • Mentors are usually experienced former principals but may not ‘match’ with mentees.

  • Mentoring often with groups, not one-to-one.


Mid term evaluation findings 2

Mid-term evaluation – Findings 2

  • Networking not well developed – meet rarely and focus on preparing assignments

  • Assessment includes assignments, a site-based research project and a portfolio.

  • The ACE is ‘over-assessed’ and feedback is slow, limited and not developmental.

  • Candidates focus on assessment, not on improving management practice and learner outcomes.


Mid term evaluation findings 3

Mid-term evaluation – Findings 3

  • Candidates claim improved management practice but only limited evidence of this

  • Lecturers value the ‘unique experience’ of the ACE

  • Candidates want shorter modules, fewer assignments, more feedback and more mentoring

  • Almost all lecturers, mentors and candidates support mandatory status for the ACE


Interim recommendations 1

Interim Recommendations 1

  • Teaching should be in smaller groups.

  • Group sessions should focus on learning, not administration.

  • The materials should be shorter, more practice-based and relevant to SA schools.

  • Mentoring should be more individual and be reshaped to avoid a ‘dependency’ model.


Interim recommendations 2

Interim Recommendations 2

  • Sustainable networking requires the active support of provinces and districts.

  • Assessment should be reduced and be supported by timely, formative feedback.

  • The ACE should be made mandatory but:

  • Other qualifications need consideration.

  • Support from principals is essential.


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • The research is incomplete so all comments are provisional.

  • The challenge of developing a successful national programme is enormous.

  • Successful schools require trained principals but the ACE is not a panacea and cannot deal with all the social and educational problems facing SA.

  • Thanks to ZENEX, the DoE, the five universities and the ACE candidates for their support.


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