Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Paper presented at the 41th annual meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization, Portsmouth, NH May 2009.


This study investigates a resource-based methodology to assess district performance as an indicator of student achievement on standardized assessments. The problem that this investigation addresses is that performance measurement and the associated decision-making is indeterminate. There is a lack of empirical research that relates decision-making about resource utilization to performance.

The study utilizes structuralism to assess the relationship between the independent variable of resource utilization and the dependent variable performance. Complex Adaptive System theory is used as a framework for Concept Mapping methodology. The study is grounded in theories from Complex Adaptive Systems and Microeconomics that state that performance is a function of capacity. An adaptation of the generic value chain (Porter, 1985) is designed as a representation of the education delivery systems for N=7 districts. Previous sequences in this research project have established performance levels and variations from the independent variable of socioeconomic status (Simpson, Kite, & Gable, 2007).

The concept maps illustrate the nature, magnitude, strength and underlying relationships for thematic patterns of resource utilization for the N=7 districts. The concept maps provide an explanation for some of the variation in performance that does not relate to socioeconomic status. The explanation of variability in performance represented by the concept maps is intended for diagnostic applications, not to establish best-practices that can be transferred from high performing to low performing districts. The primary application of the methodology is for strategic or intervention planning.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Simpson, P., Gable, R.K., Kite, S.L. (2009). An investigation of a methodology to assess district performance. Paper presented at the 41th annual meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization, Portsmouth, NH.



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