Superintendents' perceptions of curriculum management audits

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Hinojosa, Eliu Misael

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School reform efforts and the resulting outcomes are dependent on the stability of the leadership (McAdams, 2000). Superintendents are expected to improve the academic performance of all students. The curriculum management audit is a high-powered method for unlocking the potential of a school district in an effort to make a direct and immediate impact on improving pupil achievement under any assessment system (Frase, 1995). Curriculum management audits are deficit audits, providing recommendations without commendations. The purpose of the study was to determine the perspectives of superintendents as they related to conducting curriculum management audits. Three research questions guided the study to determine the critical factors that superintendents identified as emerging from a curriculum management audit, the superintendents’ perception of the effects of the audits and to determine if superintendents who remained in school districts after curriculum management vii audits had differing perspectives than superintendents who separated employment from the district after the curriculum management audit. The study utilized primarily a qualitative methodology. An Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) process was used to collect and analyze data from a focus group of superintendents and interviews with twenty individual superintendents who had participated in a curriculum management audit. Data from the focus group was used to establish the interview protocol. The twenty interviews were transcribed and coded in an effort to validate, refute and/or elaborate on the emerging factors (affinities) from the focus group activity. The findings of the study revealed that superintendents perceive the critical factors that emerged, and their influence on each other, from conducting a curriculum management audit in different ways. Conclusions included that a curriculum management audit must take place early in the tenure of the superintendent and the approaches taken by the superintendents will have an impact as to whether the result of the audit. Superintendents who exert proactive leadership skills by researching, preparing and communicating about the process and products of the curriculum management audit will have a much greater opportunity to have the audit reform the school system they lead. Based on the findings and conclusions, a set of recommendations were proposed for superintendent preparation programs and administrator professional organizations to provide full disclosure and preparation for superintendents and aspiring administrators who may be considering a curriculum management audit



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