Title

School in challenging contexts: a case of a successful school in a challenging context

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Lilian Vikiru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Iffat Farah

Third Supervisor/Advisor

Michael Fertig

Department

Institute for Educational Development, East Africa

Abstract

Public expectations on how much a school should achieve in terms of quality teaching and learning has generally been very high and schools that for one reason or another may not measure to the stakeholder expectations are usually at constant controversy with the stakeholders. Most schools in more stable contextual settings have always been considered by education conscious parents as more appropriate learning environment where higher learner achievement would be reaped. However, some schools in challenging circumstances have posted higher learner achievement. The high achieving schools in challenging contexts that have registered such high learner achievements have been imagined to do so not through their normal capacities but through some dubious means such as exam leakage. However, as such schools consistently continue to stand out as higher achievers, public eye brows are raised in attempting to understand what makes them achieve so highly against the odds. This paper sought to investigate how a successful school in a challenging context promotes learners achievement. In doing so the study has identified the contextual challenges specific to this contextual challenges specific to this context and how they impact on learner achievement. It also investigates into the structures set up by both the school and the community to counter the contextual challenges for improved learner outcome and also explores if any form of external support has a contribution to the above average learner achievement. In order to understand how effective, the structures set ups enhance learner achievement in this school, the paper explores the various patterns of stakeholder involvement in the school, in dealing with the specific contextual challenges and if such levels of stakeholder involvement promotes learner achievement. In order to understand how effective, the structures set ups enhance learner achievement in this school, the paper explores the various patterns of stakeholder involvement in the school, in dealing with the specific contextual challenges and if such levels of stakeholder involvement promotes learner achievement. The findings reveal that in a challenging context, high learner achievement is promoted when all stakeholders acquire an understanding of their contextual difficulties and collectively craft structures that would best suit their contextual circumstances. From the study findings the paper has established and analyzed the implications to practice for improved learner outcomes in such contexts, most of which can be institutionalized in schools facing similar circumstance to promoting learner achievement.

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