Introduction The characteristics of improving schools have been widely documented and disputed through years of school effectiveness and school improvement research. These studies have resulted in a number of factors that have found to support positive school change. However, despite a good deal of research describing effective schools once they have improved, there is surprisingly little known about how they get there. The existing literature provides a range of descriptions of different types of school improvement projects. However, there are few studies of successful school improvement projects in action and even fewer studies of a comparative nature.
The research evidence on the effectiveness of various school improvement projects is not well developed. Similarly, the program variables that impact on both organisational development and student achievement are not well articulated. Consequently, this paper analyses two fairly well-established school improvement projects with the main purpose of demonstrating how these projects assist school development and change in different cultural contexts. The paper focuses upon the Improving the Quality of All Project (IQEA) in the UK and the Manitoba School Improvement Project (MSIP) in Canada. Both projects would claim to have demonstrated considerable success in their work with schools (Earl and Lee, 1998; Hopkins and Harris, 1997) and are well known within the international research community.
The paper has four sections, sections one and two will focus upon IQEA and MSIP respectively. Within these sections each project will be discussed in terms of: origins; context; membership, participation and scope; funding; definitions of improvement, and design and measurement of improvement. Section three compares the relative strengths and limitations of both projects and, based on the proceeding analysis, section four lays out some suggestions as to what might constitute the core components of successful school improvement programs.
The Improving the Quality of Education For All Project (IQEA) The origins of any school improvement project are inevitably located within a particular educational and political context. While it is not possible to fully rehearse in detail the origins of each project, it is important to provide some background concerning their individual conception and subsequent development. Commencing with the IQEA project in the UK, it is possible to identify a number of changes in national policy that acted as a catalyst for the development of a range of quite different school improvement initiatives. This is not to suggest that IQEA was simply a result of political imperative but to acknowledge the particular educational climate in which the project evolved.
During the 1990s the English education system has been subject to more regulation, standardisation and school-based reform than during any other decade in its history. The net result of such change has been an increased emphasis upon "improving standards" and "school performance". The central theme of the current government's education policy as outlined in the White Paper Excellence in Schools (1997) is "the crusade for higher standards" for all. This dominant discourse, that represents in large part a continuance of the previous government's policies, has manifested itself in school based management, the National Curriculum, national targets, national tests and the OFSTED model of inspection. Most recently, Education Action Zones have emerged as a strategy for tackling social disadvantage. Within this climate, it has been suggested that a particular version of school improvement has become the orthodoxy. Hatcher (1998) has termed this 'official school improvement' largely characterised as a top down, instrumental means to school level change.
Within the UK there have been a range of school improvement initiatives that have been premised upon a centre-periphery model of change and guided by a commitment to using increased teacher accountability as the mechanism for school development. In addition, school improvement within the UK is taking place not in a period of expansion but in a climate of continuing financial stringency and reduction in resources to schools. Consequently, the dominant model of school improvement in the UK is not one that is centrally concerned with teacher development and school processes but is one that is primarily output driven.
The Improving the Quality of Education For All Project (IQEA) stands apart from this dominant model. The IQEA model is premised upon what it believes is the fundamental relationship between teacher and school development. Its firm belief is that without an equal focus on the development capacity, or internal conditions of the school, innovative work quickly becomes marginalised and ineffective. In the past six years, IQEA work has been taking place with forty schools in England, and more recently in Iceland, Puerto Rico and South Africa. In the UK, the project is currently led by two universities, Cambridge and Nottingham. Both these universities provide the academic leadership and vision for the program and represent the focal point for IQEA schools. The University led nature of the program locates school improvement within a specific research context. This serves both a symbolic and real purpose. Essentially, it is symbolic in signalling a different type of school improvement - one that is primarily research based and not politically driven - and real in the sense that it enables schools to delineate between a form of school improvement that is based upon a developmental model rather than an accountability model. In addition, the benefits of a university led school improvement project range from enhanced status for the project because of the university location, to formal accreditation for IQEA work. Most importantly, because the IQEA project is centred upon professional development, there are additional forms of support and training that the resources of the university can offer participating teachers.
The IQEA project within the East Midlands region of England is located within the University of Nottingham. The current project team comprises of a Project Co-ordinator, a Project Researcher, Project Evaluator, an academic support team, a seconded headteacher and local authority advisers.The team provides support to schools along with staff development and training. To date, in the East Midlands, there are 28 IQEA schools, 11 of which are from a previous phase of IQEA.They are all secondary schools but vary in terms of size, configuration and student characteristics. There are a few of schools within the project that are within "special measures" or have been within this category. Generally, the schools are urban schools. Most typically, the schools tend to be low to medium performing secondary schools that share a desire to raise standards.
The IQEA project is self-funding and therefore totally dependent upon schools joining the project. On average schools pay $3500 for a four term (sixteen month) project with the possibility of extending their involvement in IQEA at a reduced cost. Such amounts represent for most schools a large proportion, if not all, of their staff development budget. Consequently, some schools seek matched funding from their local education authority, or seek complete funding in the case of schools in particular circumstances.
Entry to the project is limited by the capacity of the Project Team and therefore, in addition to the funding schools have to agree to a set of conditions. First, they have to gain initial support from 80 per cent of the staff prior to entering the project. Second, they have to commit their staff development time to IQEA over the four terms. Third, they have to recruit a "cadre group" who will be charged with the responsibility of leading school change. Finally, schools have to be committed to a process of internal and external evaluations. On the other side of the equation, the university commits to providing a program of staff development activities, a link adviser for each school, networking arrangements with other educators within and outside of the project, and evaluation support and training. In addition, the local authority also provides training, support and consultancy to each school. The LEA adviser and University Link Adviser work together to provide maximum support for each of the IQEA schools.
When schools consider joining the project it is important that they are able to share the basic philosophical and value base of IQEA. These principles and values stem from a particular research tradition that has shaped and influenced the project. At the outset of the project, the IQEA team attempted to outline a vision of school improvement by articulating a set of principles or propositions that provided a philosophical and practical starting point. In short, the project was inviting schools to identify and work on their own core values about school improvement, which have within them significant implications for the way leadership is conceptualized within the school. These principles represent the expectations the project has of the way IQEA schools should both define and pursue school improvement. The propositions are summarised in Table 1.
Schools will not improve unless teachers, individually and collectively, develop. Whilst teachers can often develop their practice on an individual basis, if the whole school is to develop then there need to be many staff development opportunities for teachers to learn together.
Successful schools seem to have ways of working that encourage feelings of involvement from a number of stake-holder groups, especially students.
Schools that are successful at development establish a clear vision for themselves and regard leadership as a function to which many staff contribute, rather than a set of responsibilities vested in a single individual.
The co-ordination of activities is an important way of keeping people involved, particularly when changes of policy are being introduced. Communication within the school is an important aspect of co-ordination, as are the informal interactions that arise between teachers.
Schools which recognise that enquiry and reflection are important processes in school improvement find it easier to gain clarity and establish shared meanings around identified development priorities, and are better placed to monitor the extent to which policies actually deliver the intended outcomes for pupils.
Through the process of planning for development successful are school is able to link its educational aspirations to identifiable priorities, sequence those priorities over time, and maintain a focus on classroom practice.
Essentially, the IQEA project seeks to support school improvement efforts by developing a critical and self critical but supportive culture within each school. Much of the IQEA work is taken up in enhancing schools' "capacity for development". School improvement research has consistently shown that where this is ignored the opportunity for school development is greatly impeded (Hopkins et al 1994, 1996, Hopkins 1996) and the experience in IQEA schools has been that without an equal focus on the development capacity, or internal conditions of the school, innovative work quickly becomes marginalised. Consequently, the project works upon the internal conditions within each school with the principal aim of improving them and thus expanding the school's capacity for growth and development. These conditions are the internal features of the school - the 'arrangements' that enable it to function effectively. The IQEA project associates a number of 'conditions' within the school with a capacity for sustained improvement. These conditions provide a working definition of the development capacity of the school. The conditions which underpin improvement effort, and so therefore represent the key management arrangements or school level conditions, can be broadly stated as:
• a commitment to staff development
• practical efforts to involve staff, students and the community in school
policies and decisions
• 'transformational' leadership approaches
• effective co-ordination strategies
• proper attention to the potential benefits of enquiry and reflection
• a commitment to collaborative planning activity.
In addition, the project has identified classroom level conditions with the prime aim of encouraging schools to relate whole school development to classroom level change. (Hopkins et al 1997). Essentially IQEA is a model of school change that is premised upon facilitating cultural change within schools. It is not prescriptive in terms of what schools actually do, but does tightly define the parameters for development. It provides an over-arching model for school improvement which schools subsequently adapt for their own purposes and to fit their particular needs and context. In addition, the model is research driven and encourages schools not only to engage in their own internal enquiry but also to utilise the external research base concerning effective teaching and learning.
Typically, an IQEA school would focus upon an aspect of teacher development as the central focus for the project. Most recently, schools in the East Midland cohort have considered three models of teaching as the catalyst for change and development within schools. Following training input from the IQEA team, schools would select one or two models for exploration and piloting. Supported by staff development activities, teachers would be encouraged to try out different models of teaching and to partnership teach and/or observe this teaching in action. The net result of this activity is not just an expansion of the teachers' repertoire of models, but also a basis for establishing discussion, sharing and communication about teaching within the school.
The evaluation evidence from project schools consistently shows that for school improvement to occur both structural and cultural changes are necessary. Changes in teachers' awareness, knowledge and behaviour impact directly upon the culture of the school. Hence, teacher development has been shown to be an important pre-requisite of school development within the IQEA project. A commitment to evaluation is implicit within the IQEA model of school improvement and the program itself is currently involved in an external evaluation. The program is subject to rigorous internal evaluation processes and has used school level data to judge its impact and progress.
Each IQEA school is required to complete a self-diagnosis of its conditions at school and classroom level prior to the start of the project.  This is subsequently re-administered during and at the end of the four terms. This not only allows schools to judge their growth and development but it is also an important means of summative feedback concerning the impact of the project as a whole. In this respect, the IQEA evaluation processes are both formative and summative and utilise both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis to inform the overall direction of the project. (Beresford, 1998)
The Manitoba School Improvement Program (MSIP) Compared to the United Kingdom, government mandated education reform in Canada has generally been a more recent phenomenon of the 1990s, and, because education is a provincial and not federal responsibility, reforms and reform processes have taken on quite different forms across the country (Young and Levin, In Press). In Manitoba the provincial government laid out its agenda for school reform in three key policy documents released between July 1994 and June 1995. Framed in the language of "renewal" and "revitalization" these documents - Renewing Education: New Directions: The Blueprint; Renewing Education: New Directions: The Action Plan; and Renewing Education: New Directions: A Foundation for Excellence - declared six interrelated priority areas for government action: Essential Learnings (provincial curriculum frameworks and outcomes); Educational Standards and Evaluation; School Effectiveness; Parental and Community Involvement; Distance Education and Technology; and, Teacher Education (Manitoba Education and Training, 1994; 1995a; 1995b).
Since 1995 these documents have provided the basis for the rapid introduction of a number of measures aimed at improving the quality of public schooling through the adoption of provincially mandated curriculum frameworks that are accompanied by subject and grade-level outcomes and standards and which are subject to province-wide testing at grades 3, 6, 9 (Senior 1) and 12 (Senior 4). Couched within a language of "success for all learners", these reforms envision school improvement through a more rigorous and relevant curriculum and a more inclusive school system premised upon raising standards for all students.
The official government rhetoric of reform in Manitoba has been most often cast as "a timely response to a changing world" rather than as an explicit attack on the failures of teachers and schools (Levin and Young, 1998). Nevertheless, this substantial attempt at system change, undertaken within the context of a reduction of funding to education and driven by the political will and timeframes of government rather than those of the profession, has provoked substantial resistance from teachers and The Manitoba Teachers' Society (reference) as well as considerable public controversy.
In comparison to the Improving Quality of Education for All Students project, the Manitoba School Improvement Program (MSIP) is unique in a number of respects. First, it pre-dates government reform aimed at school renewal. Second, it originated from an independent charitable foundation and has not derived its leadership primarily from a university context. Third, it draws more upon the professional knowledge of teachers than on the expertise of academics. Fourth, its focus is exclusively on school reform in high school setting in the province.
The Manitoba School Improvement Project has been in existence since 1991 and has as its mission statement 'to improve the learning experiences and outcomes of secondary school students, particularly those at risk, by building schools' capacities to become transforming schools that engage students actively in their own learning' (MSIP Stategic Plan, 1995 p1). The program began as a result of the vision and support of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, a Canadian charitable foundation. The Foundation felt that a pilot program in Manitoba could provide the opportunity to develop and test a Canadian school improvement model. In particular, it chose Manitoba as a pilot site based upon a number of considerations : The Foundation Board was interested in enhancing education for students at risk; they were looking for a province with an educational community that would welcome and support their involvement; and they wanted to start in a location that was manageable within the constraints of its budget allocation. Manitoba met these three criteria and was willing to take part in the program.
The Foundation decided to support secondary schools with school based improvement projects that were designed by individual schools. The focus was to be on meeting the needs of all students with an emphasis on those students most "at risk" by means of inclusionary programming throughout the school. The central assumption underlying the Foundation's funding is that students in Canada can be best served if the conditions under which they learned were improved. The program was intended to link with and support existing initiatives rather than operate independently. Consequently, the first actions of the Foundation were to locate a co-ordinator for the project, contract with a part-time evaluator and establish an Education Advisory Committee. The Education Advisory Committee decided to follow the direction of the school change/school improvement literature and focus upon changing the situation and conditions for learning within the school (Fullan, 1992; Stoll and Fink, 1996).
The Education Advisory Committee of MSIP started the program by funding projects in individual schools. These were initially small and narrowly focused projects, but held the promise of expanding to influence the whole school. Over the years the focus of MSIP has evolved from assistance to groups of teachers in individual schools trying to find ways to help at risk students within a regular school program, to a broader focus on whole school change and systemic reform, as a way to help schools serve all students better.
The basic approach of MSIP has been to provide funding directly to schools for school improvement projects and then to provide ongoing pressure and support throughout the life of the projects.  With a budget of $5 million until the year 2000, the program has substantial funding power to individual schools. However, accessing the funding is procedurally simple but practically complex. Each school has to prepare a pre-application plan which includes developmental aims, objectives, resource implications, budget and evaluation methodology. This is undertaken in conjunction with the MSIP co-ordinator and evaluator who advise schools on their proposals. Prior to reaching the application stage, the MISP team work in conjunction with schools to ensure that their plans are coherent, robust and practicable.
Each MSIP school is assessed on a common set of criteria.
Projects have to:
* be school based and teacher initiated,
* focus on the needs of the adolescent students,
* address fundamental issues of educational improvement
and student learning for at risk students,
* have the potential for long term impact on the school,
* be designed or developed to incorporate a collaborative
and participatory approach within the school and include
an appropriate evaluation component.
Preference is given to projects that demonstrate a commitment to ensuring continuity of leadership and that are designed to be both collaborative with other institutions (e,g other schools) and the local community (including parents and students). Initially, the program involved mostly urban schools, although rural schools that can demonstrate their potential to have an impact on a significant number of students, or on their community are also given consideration.
Because of the focus on building an internal capacity for change, funding is also provided for professional development, shared planning, release time and some professional resources, but not for items such as equipment or furniture. As MSIP has evolved there has been an increased emphasis upon including students in decision making processes and on divisional support for, and involvement in, school improvement projects.
To date, MSIP has provided multi-year funds to 31 schools in 13 school districts across the province. Most of these schools located within metropolitan Winnipeg while two are located in rural school districts. Seven of the schools are middle schools, 12 are senior schools and three contain both middle and senior years students. One school is Francophone, another serves the Aboriginal community, four are vocational schools , one is an alternative school and four are suburban schools. The funding allocated to schools is dependent upon the nature and scope of their objectives. For example, one school could receive $25,000 for one year while other schools might receive much smaller sums. MSIP makes a multi-year commitment of up to five years of funding to each school that remains committed to their program and to inquiry, reflection and school improvement.
In 1998 the MSIP program commissioned an external evaluation of the project (Earl and Lee, 1998). Data concerning school success within the program was collected in four substantive areas: achievement of project goals, increased student learning, increased student engagement, successful school improvement. The overall success of MSIP was calculated using evidence from all four areas. While the evaluation did not report universally high levels of improvement across all schools - indeed, it noted "some MSIP schools were successful and others were much less so; some bustled with energy and enthusiasm; others were rigid and smug" (p.57) - it was concluded that for the majority of schools in the program the project had been successful in terms of demonstrable improvements in the four areas identified. Michael Fullan commented that "at secondary level, I know of no other strategy which has taken 20 or more schools and shown the level of success in this short amount of time. We can now show how secondary schools can move more quickly even more quickly than we thought possible and in a cost efficient way" (p. 8) The documented results include improved academic performance, increased student enrollment, improved class attendance, increased family and community involvement in schools, reduced disciplinary incidents and increased student graduations.
Comparing MSIP and IQEA It is notable that while the programs share a similar theoretical basis for their work, they differ in their origin and funding base. IQEA is a University led program into which schools opt while MSIP is a Foundation led initiative to which schools apply. There are some inevitable tensions within each model concerning power and control. On the one hand the MSIP has the power of selection of schools but takes more limited control over what schools actually do with the additional resources. On the other hand, IQEA has little power over the type of schools which select the program but does have some control over the way in which schools engage with the project.
There are also important issues of equity that are implicit in each project both in terms of their basic conceptions of school improvement and in the processes associated with becoming a participant in either network. MSIP's initial mandate was focused on changing high schools to better meet the needs of all students but with a particular concern for those most "at risk", while IQEA's focus has been on "success for all students". At the heart of this distinction is a question of the relative importance given to raising standards generally within the school system as distinct from improving the quality of schooling and educational outcomes of students who schools have traditionally served less well, and the relationship between these two agendas (Hatcher, 1998). Furthermore, within IQEA if schools cannot find the necessary resource they are unable to join the project. Similarly, if schools cannot present a "good case" for funding they are denied access to MSIP. This raises some questions concerning the 'open access' model of school improvement. If in principle both programs are open to all but in practice restrict entry, either overtly or covertly, there must be some questions asked about the type of schools that enter the programs and those who do not, as well as the potential for such programs to offer a system-wide model for improvement.
In terms of the support mechanisms on offer to schools, both projects are premised upon support and challenge. IQEA in contrast to MSIP offers a structured program of staff development and in service training delivered primarily by university-based educators. This generic program incorporates some differentiation for new and ongoing network schools but largely schools experience the same type of staff development as part of the project. In contrast, MSIP tailors staff development needs individually to schools and groups of schools and while it too will draw on university expertise it draws much more extensively on the professional expertise of teachers working within different network schools. There are no generic programs for schools to follow as each school is working on its own focus for development.
Differences emerge also in the nature and type of support each project offers. In IQEA schools have the benefit of the time of a researcher, a university link adviser and a local education adviser. Much of the developmental work is conducted on site with the assistance of external change agents. In contrast the MSIP schools receive support at the point of need and support is negotiated and distributed between schools. The IQEA project also differs from MSIP in the respect that it is more directly interventionist with schools. The purpose of the external change agents is to intervene when progress is 'non-existent', 'too pacy' or 'too cosy' In the MSIP project the role of the critical friend is chiefly to provide similar pressure and support although it is not expected that the project co-ordinator, or evaluator will directly intervene when schools are experiencing difficulty. The largely reactive nature of the MSIP means that sustained communication with schools is often not practicable, or possible. In contrast, the IQEA entitlement means that advisers can be pro-active and schools expect to be challenged and questioned if progress is not being made.
Both projects place a high premium upon the twin processes of internal and external evaluation. Evaluation is viewed as an integral activity within MSIP and IQEA and is considered to be a means of identifying what is working and not working so well. In this respect, both projects use evaluation in a formative and summative way, although as already noted the response to formative feedback from both projects might prove qualitatively different. Finally, both projects encourage enquiry and reflection. In MSIP action research is a pre-requisite of joining the projects and teachers are expected to engage in self-review on a regular basis. Similarly, within IQEA teachers are encouraged to reflect upon and enquire into their own practice and to become involved in collaborative investigation. This has been shown to be an important contributory factor to the success of each project.
The Process of Improvement: Lessons Learned The 1990s in both Canada and the United Kingdom have been a period in which schools and teachers have come under increased public scrutiny and political pressure to do their work differently and better. As is perhaps inevitable, our expectations of schools and of system-wide reforms exceed the knowledge and capacity of educators to meet these expectations - particularly when these expectations are often ambiguous or contradictory and when additional resources to support change have generally been unavailable.
Contained within this pressure for school improvement are two distinct, but not unrelated, elements. First are a set of philosophical, ideological and value-laden issues related to the purposes of public schooling, definitions of a "good school", of "school improvement", and questions of "improvement for whom"? Second are a set of technical issues related to the processes of organizational change in educational settings. Educational research over the last twenty years has significantly increased our knowledge of the complexities of the latter, while the same period of time has seen a heated debate over the former - a debate that has often pitted teachers and their professional associations against the government - and increased government prescriptions for public schooling.
School improvement projects such as MSIP and IQEA provide an important response to these pressures as well as illustrating some of the tensions inherent in them. Without standing outside of the politically mandated requirements of government-driven school reform, both projects seek to enhance schools' capacity for development by involving staff, students and the community in establishing a vision for the school and in the processes of school change.
The process of school improvement still remains a 'black box' for many school improvement projects. While there are ample descriptions of the "what" of school improvement there are fewer descriptions of the "how'. Clearly, this is a difficult area tto traverse as there are no universals, no recipes for success. However, both IQEA and MSIP are able to articulate the process of change and to provide concrete examples of what the improvement process looks like in action.
External Agency: An essential component of IQEA and MSIP is the emphasis upon pressure and support for school-based change. Both projects demonstrate that school improvement projects cannot progress very far on their own without "agency" both external and internal. External agency has two parts, of which the first is the invitational opportunity to get started. The MSIP strategy in this respect is not simply a "yes" or "no" proposition. Considerable negotiation and proposal development ensues between the interested school and MSIP staff before funding is secured. Similarly, within the IQEA project schools have to establish agreement with 80 per cent of staff and commit time, energy, resources and funding before commencing with the program. The second part and perhaps a more critical part of agency is the assistance and stimulus that occurs once the project is underway. As teachers become more knowledgeable and the direction that improvement is to take in their school becomes clearer, they come to see themselves as active players who have the necessary skills and authority to tackle the problem.
A focus upon specific teaching and learning goals:In both programs the emphasis is upon teaching and learning developmental goals. In the MSIP program teachers spend a great deal of time refining their goals and developing a related evaluation strategy. Each of the projects has a set of related goals that are directly related to improving student learning outcomes and have systems in place for recording change and progress in these areas. In IQEA also, the emphasis is upon teaching and learning. While there is an acknowledgement of the relationship between school level and classroom conditions, all schools are encouraged to move away from general goals such as 'to improve examination results' to specific and focused goals that are teaching and learning related. In addition, even though both IQEA and MSIP schools have a clear focus on student learning, their definition of learning is not limited to the academic but encompasses affective measures of learning outcomes.
A commitment to teacher development and professional growth:The schools in both projects demonstrate a high level of commitment to teacher development and professional growth. In the MSIP program staff development is guided by a 'just in time' principle of pressure and support. Attention is given to ensuring that training is offered in a timely fashion in relation to each school's specific needs and much of the training is not externally provided but rather sought from within the network of MSIP schools. Similarly, within IQEA staff development is one of the key conditions that schools are encouraged to develop as part of the program. Evaluation evidence suggests that in both programs teachers readily engage in their own development and the development of their colleagues.
Professional interchange, collaboration and networking:Both IQEA and MSIP establish professional communities through their work with schools. In MSIP schools are not just isolated entities but are part of a network of schools in Manitoba linked by a common requirement, a small infrastructure and shared professional development opportunities. The schools that make the most dramatic changes within the program have been shown to be those which learned how to use this framework to their advantage (Earl and Lee, 1998). Similarly, the IQEA network provides schools with the opportunity to learn from each other and to solve problems collectively. This professional trust has been shown to be fundamentally important for schools to move forward.
Devolved leadership and temporary systems: Schools in both programs put in place groups of teachers to act as catalysts for change within the school. Within MSIP there may be many such groups depending on the range and scope of the goals identified. In IQEA the cadre group is a new group deliberately established to lead innovation and change. In both cases, these groupings are temporary and do not reflect existing structures within the schools. In addition, the leadership within successful IQEA and MSIP schools is devolved and authority to act is given to those teachers who are responsible for directing change. Where this doesn't happen, teachers find themselves unable to make progress because of constantly having to refer back to the principal, or headteacher.
Formative and Summative evaluation:The twin processes of formative and summative evaluation are evident and transparent within IQEA and MSIP schools. The feedback loop provided by formative evaluation mechanisms enables teachers to take stock of innovation and development. This allows changes to be made using data to inform development. Similarly, external evaluation procedures allow for a check on the program as a whole and provide data that allows judgements to be made about the impact of the program as a whole. The emphasis placed on internal and external evaluation in both projects establishes enquiry and reflection as central to school development and growth.
The evaluation findings concerning IQEA and MSIP demonstrate the potency of their respective approaches to school improvement. As one dissects the core components of each approach similarities inevitably emerge. The area of greatest synergy between the two programs lies in a pattern of activity characterised by Earl and Lee (1998) as urgency, energy, agency and more energy. Both IQEA and MSIP have successfully prompted this chain reaction of improvement in many - but not all - of their schools. While some schools may have been more successful than others most MSIP and IQEA schools have begun the journey of school improvement. The challenge remaining for each program is to ensure that they can continue on that journey.
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Footnotes  School and Classroom Condition Scales are available in Hopkins et al (1996), Creating the Conditions for School Improvement, London: Fulton Press, and Hopkins et al. (1997), Creating the Conditions for Classroom Improvement, London: David Fulton Press.
 The Manitoba School Improvement Program described here was designed as a pilot project on school reform funded for a specific period of time by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. For the period of the pilot project external funding drove the project. With the ending of the pilot stage of the project MSIP has had to become self-financing. Some of this funding has come from the provincial government and some from private and charitable sources. In this new format MSIP has become less of a funding agency for individual schools and more of a source of professional support and a network of expertize. This new format is still in its infancy and while the transition hold considerable interest for our understanding of school improvement projects it lies outside of the scope of this paper.