Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kansas City Public Schools: Utilization Analysis and Proposed Methods

Utilization Analysis
Having lost its accreditation on January 1, 2012, the Kansas City Missouri School District (KCMSD) changed name to Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS). This sudden loss of accreditation is attributed to the decline of student performance and dwindling grades, management squabbling, maladministration, misuse of funds, teacher tardiness, and lack of involvement from parents. An analysis of the impact assessment of KCPS shows that by using quasi-experiments, factors such as student cognitive ability, behavioral adaptations, social and emotional behaviors have to be comprehended to understand factors that limit achievements and downgrade student performance. While there is little literature on student grades and performance online, a few data owned by the school district exist for scholarly research and academic use.

With the state average for money spent on students standing at $9,338 in 2008, money spent on KCMSD stood alone at $15,142 (Lindsey, 2009). According to Lindsay (2009), in 2009, the school district spent $280 million on only 16,800 students on its annual budget. This is a waste of money and the absolute absence of accountability, bookkeeping, and accounts. According to Rossi, Lipsey, and Freeman (2004), questions focusing on evaluations come with concerns especially when the program being evaluated is dealing with the needs of the target population. Even high school students joining universities in the state have academic concerns. Matriculating KCMSD students joining the University Of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) have an average ACT score of 16.8 while the minimum score required securing a place in the University of Missouri; Columbia is 24 points (Lindsay, 2009).

An analysis of teacher evaluation will require teachers to be offered incentives should they achieve success in student growth and improved student academic achievement; there has to be enhanced professional growth that include additional responsibilities like volunteering in schools that are hard to staff and partaking in professional developments that increase teacher teaching effectiveness; performance will be measured in accordance with teacher and student attendance; and student regulation, parental attachment, and the health and safety of students observed without any hindrance. The top three schools leading in test scores will have to be awarded extra financial incentives and teachers promoted to boost their confidence.
This analysis will help answer the various burning questions of evaluations that include the effectiveness of KCPS since switching name, the amount of money spent on each student, the number of teachers per school and per class; whether extra effort is given to students whose mother tongue is not English, the effectiveness of the school district curriculum, the type of services needed to reach success and the impact these services will have on students’ performance, and how parents will react to these new services.

        Proposed Methods
The proposed method of research will require the effective use of both quantitative and qualitative methods while utilizing both summative and formative processes of evaluations. Summative and formative evaluations are being used here because, the programs under evaluation, the KCMSD and the KCPS, have been in existence for a long time only to start from scratch after losing accreditation at the beginning of this year. The target population for this evaluation will include teachers and their students, parents and community groups such as Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA), administrators and state officials dealing directly with the school district. Upon completion, the evaluation will be shared with concerned authorities for formal discussion.

The primary data will be the original evaluative procedures utilized by the evaluator that have not been shared with management. The secondary data could come from others who are not part of the evaluation but have a stake in knowing the outcome and effectiveness of the school district programs. Since KCPS is a state-funded program, continued assessment is required to make effective the outcome and impact evaluations. In the case of the KCPS, existing staff may be utilized to avoid mistrust and unnecessary future interventions. Staff will be better informed when their input is utilized and their views recognized. It is vital to understand the relationships that exist between program costs and effectiveness. In this case, cost-effectiveness analysis to tailor the needs of the program will have to be executed. Conducting cost-benefit analysis requires the hiring of an accounting professional. When conducting cost-benefit analysis, it will be crucial to include typical issues like intervention, effectiveness of delivery system, and also, if benefits can be delivered at a lower cost. An econometric estimation envisages the gain or impact of cost-benefit analysis has on the school programs (Rossi et al., 2004). Though tentative in nature, observing political choices requires legislatures appropriate funds for the most needy children and schools. Teachers who are not performing to the required standards may be displaced by new breed so that a vacuum effect can be realized.

The statistical part of the evaluation will deal with teacher-student ratio, whether student grades have been elevated or diminished, evaluation and assessment scores, and comparative analysis of pre/post test scores for the various schools in the district. The logic model will serve as a useful tool in developing the research questions and deciding upon the research method. Students having cognitive problems will have to be evaluated and assessed and therapy provided when necessary; there has to be training for teachers in social competence on an individual and group basis; teachers will require to grasp the significance of social competence training so as to control students who are aggressive; use of tokens will be a priority to enhance rewards for good behavior; and there will be a need to create multimodal programs to increase competence, training, and counseling (Rossi et al., 2004). Data collection will entail face-to face interviews with teachers, administrators, and students; voice to voice interviews also called telephone interviews, and mailed survey instruments that are self-administered will be my preferred data collection method. The questionnaire construction criteria, according to Rossi et al (2004) will be done as such:
§         Step 1 will establish the information to be gathered
§         In Step 2 appropriate data to be gathered will be specified
§         In Step 3 procedure analyzing data gathering will be specified
§         In Step 4 structure and question will be selected
§         In Step 5 the best wordings for each individual question will be selected
§         In Step 6 questions will be organized into a logical order
§         In Step 7 questionnaires will retested and revised for clarity


Lindsay, O. (2009). KCMSD facts you should know. Retrieved from http://www.dotherightthingforkids.org/ksmsd-facts-you-should-know/


Rossi, P.H., Lipsey, M.W. & Freeman, H.E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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