Granby Elementary: Improving Minority Students’ SOL Test Scores

The role of collective efficacy in closing student achievement gaps: A mixed-methods study of school leadership for excellence and equity.


The two articles under analysis have several aspects that they share. First, both articles address the same broad topic, which is the achievement gap between minority students and their white counterparts. Moreover, both studies explore factors that affect the achievement gap in public schools. Goddard et al. (2017) evaluate how collective efficacy affects the achievement of K-8 students paying special attention to the achievement gap. Pearman et al. (2019) assess how the achievement gap between minority students and their white counterparts is affected by the discipline gap. However, even though the broad topics of the two articles are similar, it should be acknowledged that there are significant differences between the articles, as researchers selected different factors that affected the achievement gap.


Second, studies utilize similar methods to identify if the achievement gap is affected by the proposed factors. Goddard et al. (2017) employ a mixed-method approach, which included statistical analysis of data from public school students. In particular, the researchers utilize multi-level linear regressions to analyze the collected data. Goddard et al. (2017) used SPSS to create a multi-level model that included eight variables. As for Pearman et al. (2019), multiple linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables. In particular, the authors created six regression models that included different combinations of dependent and control variables. In total, the authors discussed the effect of 21 variables. However, even though the methods utilized by the authors were somewhat similar, there are crucial differences in the methods that should be acknowledged. For instance, Goddard et al. (2017) use primary data, while Pearman et al. (2019) utilize secondary data. Additionally, Goddard et al. (2017) have a quantitative part of the research, while Pearman et al. (2019) do not have it. Thus, the similarity in methods is only partial.


Finally, the research type for both studies was basic. This implies that the scholars did not plan to solve a particular problem. Instead, they aimed at closing an identified knowledge gap. Thus, the results of the research cannot be translated directly into practice, as both studies provide only general recommendations about the further usability of the research findings. Therefore, the limitation in the applicability of the results of the two studies is a point of similarity.


Even though both studies found significant support for their hypotheses, there are evident differences in the research results. Goddard et al. (2017) concluded that collective efficacy improved the achievements of all students and decreased the achievement gap between African American students and their White counterparts in mathematics by 50%. At the same time, empowering leaders, peer observations, and sustained press for instructional improvement had a positive impact on collective efficacy. Pearman et al. (2019) study revealed that there was a significant correlation between Hispanic-White discipline gaps and Hispanic-White achievement gaps. At the same time, larger Black-White discipline gaps were found to have larger Black-White achievement gaps.


The results achieved by Pearman et al. (2019) have an increased level of generalizability in comparison with results by Goddard et al. (2017), as Pearman et al. (2019) utilize a large sample of respondents. In particular, Pearman et al. (2019) used nationwide data gathered by the government, which implies that the results of the study apply to all public schools in the US. Goddard et al. (2017), on the other hand, used a comparatively small sample size, as respondents were recruited from one school county. This implies that the results of the research by Goddard et al. (2017) are more limited in comparison with those of Pearman et al. (2019).


t should also be mentioned that, in the case of Goddard et al. (2017), the results are somewhat applicable to resolving the problem of the achievement gap. In particular, the researchers provided evidence that collective efficacy had a positive impact on the reduction of the achievement gap and gave some suggestions about how efficacy can be improved. However, Pearman et al. (2019) did give any practical recommendations about how the research results can be used in the future. Moreover, the research left it unclear if a reduction of the disciplinary gap can decrease the achievement gap or vice versa. Thus, the results of research by Pearman et al. (2019) are less valuable from a practical viewpoint.


The information provided above can be used for my study in several ways. First, the comparison of methods demonstrated that a mixed-method approach is more applicable to my study. My research aims at providing recommendations for improving the situation in one school. Goddard et al. (2017) gave relevant recommendations based on the results of the mixed-method approach, while Pearman et al. (2019) failed to provide any specific suggestions about how the results of the research can be used due to the limitations of the method. Thus, the comparison of the two studies generated evidence for supporting the selected method for my study.


Second, the information provided above showed that I should not try to include participants from other schools to answer my research question. While using large samples can improve the generalizability of findings, it is not always associated with immediate applicability. I should not try to aim to increase generalizability by including students and teachers from other schools, as it does not mean that I can translate the knowledge into practice.


Finally, the results of research by Goddard et al. (2017) suggest that I should try to improve collective efficacy in Granby Elementary School to improve SOL scores. In particular, I may choose to assess if empowering leaders, peer observations, and sustained press for instructional improvement can improve the current situation with SOL scores.




Goddard, R. D., Skrla, L., & Salloum, S. J. (2017). The role of collective efficacy in closing student achievement gaps: A mixed methods study of school leadership for excellence and equity. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR)22(4), 220-236.


Pearman, F. A., Curran, F. C., Fisher, B., & Gardella, J. (2019). Are achievement gaps related to discipline gaps? Evidence from national data. Aera Open, 5(4), 1-18.


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