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Citation:Stevenson, D. L., & Schiller, K. S. (1999). State education policies and changing school practices: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Schools, 1980-1993. American Journal of Education, 107(4), 261-288.

The researchers in this study examine the relationship between three state policies and changes in school practices between the early 1980's and 1993. The three state policies that are analyzed are: 1) classification policies, 2) performance accountability policies, and 3) site-based management policies. Findings suggest that state policies influence school practices in policy-specific domains, rather than having diffuse effects on the organization of schools. These policy effects demonstrate the need for more theoretically grounded studies on the complex linkages between state policies and school practices. Researchers employed the data from the National Longitudinal Study of Schools (NLSS) to explore changes in schools' practices over approximately a decade. In their analyses, both the NLSS sample and the Administrator and Teachers Survey (ATS) sub-sample were weighted to allow generalization to high schools operating continually between the early 1980s and 1993. Although the state policies examined in this study may be more disconnected from each other than policy efforts enacted by Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994, and the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, all of the changes in school practices analyzed in this study are statistically significant. Although state reform policies provide directions for school change, overall schools do not appear to change their practices based on the performance of students in the school.

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