As the theoretical base of this study, this chapter explores the monitoring systems for trainings authored and popularized by Kaplan and Norton(Balanced Score),David Bushnell(IPO Approach) and Elwood Holton III (Learning Transfer System Inventory). In spite of the number of available taxonomies in monitoring the quality of trainings, only three of the most commonly used frameworks will be discussed and used as a guide in developing a monitoring system for trainings. This chapter also covers the definition of terms used, rationale, characteristics, and elements of these frameworks. The terms monitoring system, topics and indicators have more emphasis in the discussions, as these concepts form the core of the study. Monitoring system
What is a monitoring system? What is the purpose of a monitoring system? What are the different structures orientations and/or classifications of a monitoring system? What factors should be considered in designing in a monitoring system for trainings? The subsequent discussions will answer these questions leading to a thorough understanding on the subject. What is monitoring system?
According to Leithwood, Aitken and Jantzi (2001), a monitoring system Is defined as a concise description of what should be (objectives) and a process to determine to what is (procedural and status report). It is further explained that it is a framework within which to select or define, interpret and use a wide array of indicators. On a similar ground, Fitz Gibbon (1996) cites that monitoring is a way of examining quality of performance, largely by the use of performance indicators not only regularly collected but also being reported back to the units responsible. This definition often concepts such as performance, outcomes and feedback.
Greany and Kellaghan (1996) also consider monitoring as systematic and regular procedures for the repeated collection and interpretation of assessment data of important aspects of the subject under study. It is not necessarily restricted to outcome variables, but can also involve contextual information and measures of inputs and processes (Husen and Tuijaman, 1994; and Scheerens et al., 1988).
After considering the abovementioned definitions, it can be summarized that the monitoring system may be referred to as a strategy used to periodically track quality by recording inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes for purposes and trainings programs. Results of the monitoring system must also be fed back to all concerned units within the organization. A monitoring system encompasses a number of relevant indicators and sub-indicators, the standards by which quality measurements are based from, and the data gathering instruments of the subject being monitored. Integrated in theses definitions are the purposes of monitoring to organizations. The use of indicators will be discussed in the later part of this chapter. What is the purpose of a monitoring system?
When relating to trainings, a monitoring system serves as a mechanism that provides a user or number of users with several sources of information pertaining to the process being investigated, providing feedback and signaling and diagnosing problems (Jansen, 1996);. Identify problem areas in determining the best allocation of resources; and motivate and create awareness among administrators and trainers to improve quality and stimulate self-regulatory mechanisms (Willms,1992). It is also used to diagnose deviations from policy, determine organizational strengths and weaknesses in accomplishing specific goals, and then launch remedial actions. What are the most- common classifications of monitoring systems?
Basically, this study adopts at least two classifications of monitoring systems according to purpose and stages.
Willms (1992) classified monitoring systems for trainings according to purpose expressed in the forms of compliance, performance and diagnostic monitoring systems. First, compliance, compliances monitoring is that if organizations meet their standards on various measures, adequate levels of performance will follow. For instance, in order for a manufacturing company to be ISO certified, it needs to make sure that their employees are given the right trainings to arrive at a target performance level in compliance with the standards. Also in most government institutions, there are provisions on the continuing education and skills enhancement of employees.
Institutions are being monitored whether they have satisfied trainings requirements pending the release of their annual budgets. Second, performance monitoring measures the significant change in performance or outcomes of any given intervention. Sales in particular, performance monitoring is used to observe the increase in performance after sales personnel were subjected to a series of trainings and workshops. On way of conducting performance monitoring system emphasizes the identification of the strengths and weak nesses of a training intervention. Importance of attendance
Government officials, teachers’ groups, and individual parents all have voiced their concerns over the need to develop policies and practices to counteract the problems facing our nation’s schools today such as the dropout rate, drug abuse, and declining education performance (Bernstein, 1990). Poor school attendance arouses strong feelings in teachers, parents, members of the educational support services, educational administrators, politicians, and pupils. These strong feelings are expressed in different and often
contradictory ways, depending on the individual’s own perspective (Galloway, 1985). The statistics related to school absenteeism are staggering. Each school day, 2,500,000 students are reported absent from school. The dropout rate is estimated at 27 percent nationally and over 45 percent in some cities. The 27 percent dropout rate equates to 65 busloads of students who leave United States schools each week and do not return. In a year’s time, 700,000 students will be lost. In two years, the number will exceed one million (Person, 1990). The Virginia Department of Education has created a system for better and more accountable schools through what is now called the Outcome Accountability Project (OAP).
This program establishes the criteria for how schools and school divisions will be held accountable for meeting the commitment of improving learning for all. The data from the OAP provides a framework for analyzing the school district by breaking the whole into some of its parts. The attendance data for secondary students provided by the OAP for the State of Virginia indicates that 66 percent of students in grades 9-12 during the school year ’95-’96 were absent 10 days or less from school. The OAP data further lists Newport News Public Schools as having 55 percent of its grades 9-12 students absent 10 days or less from school (OAP Report, 1997). The school philosophy, in general, is one that stresses to teachers, pupils, and parents the importance of regular school attendance. This is because it is the belief that only through regular school attendance can students progress academically at a successful rate (Jett & Platt, 1979). Attendance is part of a pupil’s cumulative record.
It is important that good school attendance habits be established for later years when pupils seek employment (Jett & Platt, 1979). Jett and Platt conclude that attendance and its importance should be taught to students. Basic to that philosophy is the belief that poor student attendance and truancy are some of the first signs of decay of a school and school system. Therefore, it is incumbent upon educators to do all they can to promote good school attendance habits among their pupils. Anyone who has skipped or had to repeat a grade, has been placed in or excluded from a special program, or has been denied academic credit because of absences knows the importance of local school policies. While scholarly attention has tended to focus on federal and state education policy, those who attend and work in schools realize that their lives can be affected greatly by policy made at the school and district level (Duke and Canady, 1991). Guba (1984) identifies eight distinct conceptions of policy. They include the following: Policy is an assertion of intents or goals.
Policy is the accumulated standing decisions of a governing body, by which it regulates, controls, promotes, services, and otherwise influences matters within its sphere of authority. Policy is guide to discretionary action.
Policyis a strategy undertaken to solve or ameliorate a problem. Policy is sanctioned behavior.
Policyis a norm of conduct characterized by consistency and regularity in some substantive action area. Policy is the output of the policy-making system. Policy is the effect of the policy-making and policy-implementing system as it is explained by the client. The researcher believes that each of the above conceptions by Guda has some value for the study of school district and school policy. Duke and Canady (1991) refer to school policy as any official action taken at the district or school level for the purpose of encouraging or requiring consistency and regularity. They further state that the definition implies intentionality on the part of those developing policy. Pizzo (1983) refers to school policy as fitting into an ecology of public policies. In other words, where the operation of pubic schools is concerned, a range of policy
sources can be identified. Pizzo further states that policies are derived from Congress, the Department of Education, the courts, state legislatures, intermediate agencies, school boards, and school-based personnel. To understand educational policy in the United States, it is necessary to understand each of these policymaking entities and the relationships among them. Duke and Canady (1991) identify three reasons to study policy. First, many of the education policies likely to have a direct effect on the lives of students, parents, and teachers are local school policies. A state legislature may pass legislation concerning the allocation of resources for education, but the legislation does not become meaningful for clients, patrons, and employees until local policy decisions determine how the available resources will be utilized. Second, schools serving similar groups of students can differ greatly in areas such as student achievement, attendance, dropped rate, teacher morale, and school climate.
The third reason to study school policies according to Duke and Canady (1991) is the fact that the number of locally developed policies is likely to increase in the future. Interest in shared decision making, teacher empowerment, school-site management, and the restructuring of schools suggests that the locus of educational policymaking may be shifting. Duke and Canady point out that ample justification exists for the systematic study of local school policy. Such study promises to shed light on school effectiveness, the process of school improvement, and local control of education. In addition, Duke and Canady state as interest in at-risk students grows, questions need to be raised regarding the extent to which local school policies enhance or impede these youngsters’ chances for success.
So frequent and so complicated have problems related to student attendance become that many school systems consider them to be separate from other discipline problems. This fact may be explained, in part, by the relationship between school attendance and state aid to education and the link between attendance and a student’s constitutional right to an education. Attendance rules include those pertaining to unexcused absence from school and class, tardiness, and leaving school without permission. Since, by law, students must attend school up to the state-mandated school-leaving age, attendance-related issues for local policymakers do not concern rules so much as the consequences for absenteeism and attendance practices (Duke and Canady, 1991). In recent years, school policymakers concerned about the relationship between the time spent in school and student learning have begun to condone denying course credit and awarding failing grades for chronic absenteeism. The number of absences resulting in denial of credit or a failing grade usually ranges from 10 to 24 in a semester (Sedlak et al, 1986). According to Eastwold (1989), the truant is likely to be
a boy and to be in the eleventh or twelfth grade. The student is truant more often as the year progresses, and skip some classes more often than others. He says he skips because he dislikes the classes or considers them to be too boring to attend. However, he does not necessarily intend to drop out of school. This student may have a job, or may have been asked by parents to work at home or care for children. Rood (1989) views absenteeism as a constant interruption of the learning process. The more absences a student accumulates, the less he or she can be expected to adequately participate in and understand classroom activities.
Rood continues by stating that it is no secret that the skill levels of many high school students have declined while absenteeism continues to increase. He writes that on an average Monday, many urban high schools have an absence rate of more than 30 percent. It is common for many secondary students to miss 20 to 90 days of school in an academic year. Rood (1989), Levanto (1975), and Hegner (1987) have identified the following characteristics of non-attenders: Age – absenteeism increases as a student progresses through high school. Gender – in the first three years of high school, girls will have higher rates of absenteeism than boys will.
Race – minority students are more likely to be absent than whites.
School success – students with higher grades and/or IQs have better attendance. Program – students in college preparatory programs are present more often than those in vocational, general, or business programs. Family setting – students from a one-parent family have poorer attendance rates than those from the more traditional family. School involvement – participants in a variety of co-curricularactivities will generally be in attendance more often than will non-participants. Eastwold (1989) indicates that some researchers believe that truancy problems can be blamed on ineffective school attendance policies.
In some cases the costs in time and energy to enforce compulsory education statutes seem to outweigh the benefits. As a result schools will develop policies that devote the most energy to those students expected to have the best chance of success. Eastwold (1989) indicates that the burden of reducing truancy rates rests primarily with schools, and a message that can be drawn from the research is that schools can affect truancy rate whenever they give high priority to effective attendance policies. Eastwold identified the most effective policies as those that have the following elements:
Expectations -and outcomes are clear and well publicized Policies are followed consistently by everyone Students are held responsible for their actions. Parents are involved. If revision of the district/building attendance policy seems a necessary part of the solution, there is no dearth of literature dealing with the subject. School authorities generally utilize one of these types of policies: Policies -that attempt to provide incentives for good attendance. Policies -that dispense punitive, administrative consequences, such as detentions or suspensions. Restrictiveand punitive policies that penalize studentsacademically by withholding credit or lowering grades when a number of predetermined absences is reached (Rood, 1989).