Atlanta Schools: Measures to Improve Performance case study focuses on Beverly Hall implemented new measurement systems for a failing Atlanta public school (APS) system after becoming the superintendent. Many of the new measurements and incentive systems, including bonuses for teachers whose students performed well on standardized tests, drove the educators to take questionable steps in order to meet expectations. From the fear of termination and falling short of their goals, teachers helped and collaborated with students to ensure their success on their standardized tests. Hall was praised and thanked for her data-driven approach until the cheating scandal was exposed where teachers and principals began taking drastic steps, including collaborating to change students' test answers while intimidating colleagues who threatened to expose the deception. Test scores were also altered for students to get higher marks.
Robert L. Simons; Natalie Kindred
Harvard Business Review (114001-PDF-ENG)
December 02, 2013
Case questions answered:
- Identify the problem for the Atlanta Public School.
- Analyze and evaluate the situation.
- Provide a recommendation and alternatives.
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Atlanta Schools: Measures to Improve Performance Case Answers
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – Atlanta Schools: Measures to Improve Performance:
Beverly Hall implemented new measurement systems for a failing Atlanta Public School (APS) system after becoming the superintendent. Many of the new measurements and incentive systems, including bonuses for teachers whose students performed well on standardized tests, drove educators to take questionable steps in order to meet expectations.
From the fear of termination and falling short of their goals, teachers helped and collaborated with students to ensure their success on their standardized tests. Hall was praised and thanked for her data-driven approach until the cheating scandal was exposed.
IDENTIFICATION OF PROBLEM:
- Poverty-stricken, low-income homes and families resulted in below-standard and, at times, failing performance in school. Lack of resources, uninspired teachers, undisciplined students, and unsafe environments set a difficult learning environment. (Servaas van der Berg, 2008, p. 2)
- “Much of the district mired in poverty: two-thirds of Atlanta students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. Atlanta Public School students scored below state and national averages on the SAT; 14% of high school seniors failed tests for basic writing, math, science, and other skills required for graduation; and eighth-grade math and reading scores ranked in the 43rd and 35th national percentiles, respectively.
- Beverly Hall was appointed as superintendent of APS. During her tenure, she “adopted best business practices, including balanced scorecards, performance measures linked to compensation, and increased accountability for student test performance.” (Simons, Kindred, 2017, p. 1)
- While student performance and test scores were vastly improving, the ethical means by which this was being accomplished was going unchecked. Teachers and even principals were cheating. “Teacher Brook Atwood stated that Principal Rappaport ordered her to change certain students’ grades from Ds and Fs to Cs.” (Simons, Kindred, 2017, p. 8)
- Underperforming school system due to various external and internal influences. As the School Board of Atlanta Public Schools, we will focus on the issues that we have direct control over. Internal and external pressures that have caused APS to underperform include the lack of resources, motivating teachers and administration, and the student understanding of the importance of an education, which is negatively influenced by the individuals within the school system, the public, and the individual households.
- Ultimately, the members of the community and the students of the schools are affected the most. The students are not learning when their test scores are manipulated, and it will affect them negatively in the future. The community is affected by losing funding for their district.
- Students – Interests vary from wanting to receive a quality education in order to prepare for their future to doing as little as possible to get by.
- The Public at Large – Desires students to get the education necessary to acclimate themselves to life after school.
- Professionals working in the education system – Desire a school program that properly motivates and educates their students.
ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION:
Atlanta Public School needs to implement a three-legged approach that focuses on…
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