The effects of implementation of standards of quality policy on the quality of education in Virginia, 1972-1980

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The present investigation took place in the State of Virginia, where the instrument of Statewide change was the Standards of Quality (hereafter SOQ). For the first time in the history of Virginia, performance standards for education were prescribed by the State constitution. The State Board was directed, subject to the ultimate authority of the General Assembly, to prescribe Standards of quality for the Commonwealth's school divisions.

It was the goal of the study to define those SOQ factors and processes that affected quality education and to determine to what extent State policy influenced quality education. Inherent in the perception of improved quality of education was the assumption of the academic advancement of students.

Correlations and hierarchical (stepwise) analysis methods were used to analyze the effects of SOQ policy implementation school divisions in Virginia from 1972 to 1980. The composition of the total variance in the regression equation was examined to identify the effect of the independent variables, i.e., SOQ policy standards, SOQ financial policy - - per pupil cost and classroom teacher salary, the five year planning process and environmental factors on student achievement in reading, mathematics and language arts as measured by the State standardized testing program.

A summary of some significant conclusion of the study follows:

  1. State test score norms did improve substantially over the period of implementation of SOQ policy. There was some justification from research findings that SOQ policy contributed somewhat to improved achievement, but non-school factors such as percentage of minorities in the community, family income and student ability were found to have the greatest impact on student achievement.

  2. Implementation of SOQ policy did not promote equity in teacher salaries, operational cost per pupil and student achievement in local school divisions in Virginia.

If the intent of SOQ policy was the implementation of educational policy throughout Virginia, it must be judged to have been effective in getting localities to meet specific program and personnel quantity standards. Yet, SOQ policy fell far short of assuring equal opportunities for academic achievement for students among the school divisions in Virginia.