The application of an educational planning model to the systematic development of a five-year plan for selected aspects of the educational program of an American school overseas

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

No evidence of the use of systematic educational planning models in the American schools overseas was found through either formal or informal search of available literature and material. The problem of the research was to apply a planning model to. the development of a five-year plan, which proposed a timetable for implementation and general guidelines for establishing evaluation procedures, for selected aspects of the educational program at Colegio Internacional de Caracas in Venezuela.

The purposes of the study were to use a rational model to provide a planning methodology by which an American school overseas could bring order, efficiency, and effectiveness to the total educational effort, and to provide examples of how this methodology could be used in situations drawn from a particular school overseas.

Information which served as input for making planning decisions was collected from such sources as the following to create an information base: (1) board policy, (2) school philosophy, (3) Ministry of Education directives, (4) demographic data, and (5) guidelines from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Questionnaires given to parents, students, teachers, and administrators also served as one source of information for the planning activities.

The questionnaires were used to assess parent, student, teacher, and administrator perceptions of the educational program. Responses were indicated on a Likert-type scale. A computer program of translation was utilized to translate this data into percentages of responses in each of the four categories. Equal consideration was given to the three groups of participants in the study and a 60 percent level was chosen as being significant for the study.

In developing the plan, factual and perceptual data were considered. Factual data received greater consideration than perceptual data from questionnaires and interviews because accuracy of facts could be cross-checked, facts came from established standards and documents, and facts were more representative of the total school population gathered over an extended period of time.

The model served as the framework to plan for improving teacher effectiveness, upgrading the Spanish Department, expanding the school's learning resources center, and developing the physical education/sports/co-curricular activities program. The components of the planning model included: (1) information base, (2) determination of targets, (3) determination of needs, (4) ranking needs in order of priority, (5) determination of objectives, (6) determination of alternative strategies, (7) determination of resources and limitations, (8) determination of strategies, (9) implementation, and (10) evaluation.

The inter-relationships of the components of the model and the available information integrated into the planning processes were illustrated by following step-by-step procedures for satisfying the established needs of the selected aspects of the educational program.

From the study the researcher determined that student, parent, teacher/administrator perceptions of certain aspects of the educational program were sometimes different from related factual data. The responses from the three groups were considered along with other available data to formalize information-based planning activities.

Also determined by the researcher was that a systematic model can be used to plan in an American school overseas and can provide increased knowledge about the variables affecting decision-making processes. Therefore, a school would benefit more from planned change than from haphazardly attempting change.