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As the facilitators use the Guidance System for Transforming Education (GSTE) or the School System Tranformation model (SST) in Decatur, they conduct formative research (a kind of developmental research, action research, and case-study research) to improve the guidance system.


The study described below is a dissertation on attendance at the Decatur Leadership Team by Sari Pascoe:

This dissertation describes the formation and practices of the Leadership Team (LT) in the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township (MSDDT), focusing on the attendance patterns of its members (e.g., arriving late, leaving early, not attending). The purpose of this dissertation was to improve the guidance offered by the Guidance System for Transforming Education (GSTE) to the MSDDT (i.e., guidance on the implementation of their district-wide systemic change efforts) by prescribing preventive measures that could reduce attendance problems
of members in their LT.

This dissertation presents a brief summary of an extensive literature review on the importance of the problem studied, as well as what is currently known about the problem (i.e., existing design theories and empirical research studies on attendance for similar teams). The research questions that guided this dissertation focus on what happened (LT member attendance history – trends and patterns), why it happened (factors that impacted LT attendance), and how it could be improved (what changes in activities and practices could have a positive impact on LT member attendance).

The methodology followed a Formative Research design (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999), which for this research study consisted of the [1] selection of a design theory (i.e., GSTE), [2] selection of an instance (i.e., aspects of the systemic change effort in MSDDT that influenced attendance at LT meetings over an eight-month period), [3] collection and analysis of data (i.e., observations and interviews, and categorization, coding, member checking and triangulation), and finally [4] offering of tentative revisions to the theory (i.e., possible enhancements to the GSTE and practices implemented at MSDDT).

Results indicated that personal emergencies, meeting design practices, and not forming an attendance task-force are factors that influenced attendance rate over time. The LT members‘ suggestions to improve their attendance at LT meetings were found to be of merit by the researcher, though some suggestions were identified as limited or out of scope for the current systemic change effort. The researcher also made several suggestions to supplement the ones offered by LT members, with the advice that all recommendations offered in this research study should be considered for implementation in combination with each other, for they are complementary.

This dissertation is available by clicking the link below:

Pascoe, S. (2007). Factors influencing attendance for a leadership team in a school district. Unpublished Dissertation. Indiana University.

For further information, contact Sari Pascoe (spascoe@indiana.edu)


The study described below is a dissertation completed by Kurt Richter:

The Guidance System for Transforming Education (GSTE) is a design theory used to facilitate systemic transformation in public school districts. This study sought to improve some of the process guidelines described in the GSTE by using the qualitative research methodology described as formative research (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999). This methodology asked what worked well, what did not work as well as it could have, and what could be done to improve the process. The current study examined the application of the GSTE in the middle stages of the systemic transformation process with a Leadership Team of 20-25 stakeholders in a public school district that consists of 5,954 students in a semi-urban, Midwestern setting. The researcher, working as a co-facilitator in the systemic transformation process, studied the processes of team learning and of decision making while creating a Framework of Vision, Mission , and Beliefs to guide a transformation effort.

Specifically, the researcher investigated critical learnings, decisions, and observations made by Leadership Team members between the time of the team's creation through the completion of the Framework of Vision, Mission , and Beliefs. In critical learnings, the researcher described the learning activities in which the Leadership Team engaged, including a description of reading selections, discussion techniques, comprehension strategies, stakeholder involvement, article dissemination, and the use of worksheet activities. In critical decisions, the researcher described decisions such as the rejection of an organizing retreat, holding a Vision-Mission-Beliefs retreat, organizing community presentations, and editing the Framework. In additional findings, the researcher described a variety of observations, including a description of the process of building and maintaining strong stakeholder representation, a proposed contract to guide facilitators, timeline issues, transformative leadership, and financial commitment to the transformation process by the participating school district.

This dissertation is available by clicking the link below:

Richter, K. (2007). Integration of a decision-making process and a learning process in a newly formed leadership team for systemic transformation of a school district. Unpublished Dissertation. Indiana University.

For further information, contact Kurt Richter (kurichte@indiana.edu).


The study described below is a dissertation completed by Bill Watson:

An increasing number of researchers have acknowledged the deficiencies of current instructional approaches by turning to educational video games. Proponents of educational video games believe that they are the future of instruction, and the number of proponents is increasing as well. The Federation of American Scientists recently touted video games as having the potential to transform education and called for federal support for research on educational games, including how to best design them. However, the number of quality research studies on educational video games is limited. Perhaps one reason for this is the lack of educational video games for researchers to implement in classrooms as well as the challenge of creating video games that are both engaging and educational.

This study describes formative research conducted on the Games for Activating Thematic Engagement (GATE) instructional design theory, which was developed to guide both the design and implementation of educational video games. Formative research seeks to identify improvements for an instructional design theory based on a designed instance of this theory, in this case Lifecycle, an educational video game designed for use in an undergraduate course on systems analysis and design. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the GATE theory by answering the following questions: 1.) what GATE methods and recommendations work well? 2.) Which ones do not work well? and 3.) What improvements can be made?

Formative evaluation was conducted on the video game representing the designed instance of the GATE theory, using semi-structured interviews, a focus group interview, written participant reflections, and document analysis of the video game‟s design documents. The results showed that it is feasible for a single instructional designer to design and develop an educational video game with limited resources. Student responses to the game were largely positive, but a number of specific improvements for the GATE theory were identified.

This dissertation is available by clicking the link below:

Watson, W. (2007). Formative research on an instructional design theory for educational video games. Unpublished Dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

For further information, contact Bill Watson (brwatson@purdue.edu)


The study described below was authored by Roberto Joseph and explores the literature on systemic change and student voice, and makes several arguments in support of student voice.

First, I argue that the systemic change process is weakened in the absence of student voice and stands a great chance of failing. Second, I argue that engaging students in student-voice activities strengthens their developmental and social skills, hence preparing them for the real world. Third, when students are engaged in student-voice activities, they feel empowered. Lastly, new teachers can benefit from listening to students by gaining deeper insight into their learning needs. The article offers important questions and practical strategies and activities for working with students in an educational change process.

Joseph, R. (2006). The excluded stakeholder: In search of student voice in the systemic change process. Educational Technology, 2006 (March-April).

For further information, contact Roberto Joseph (Roberto.Joseph@hofstra.edu).


The study described below was done on Events 5-7 of the GSTE in fulfillment of the requirements for Roberto Joseph's Doctorate:

5. Select participants for the Core Team.
6. Create the Core Team dynamic.
7. Train the Core Team in systems design.

Dissertation available by clicking the link below (913 Kb .pdf)

Joseph, R. (2003). Formative Research on a Design Theory to Facilitate Systemic Change in Public School Districts. Unpublished Dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

For further information, contact Roberto Joseph (Roberto.Joseph@hofstra.edu).


The study described below was done on Events 1-3 of the GSTE by Roberto Joseph:

1. Assess and enhance your readiness to be a facilitator.
2. Establish or redefine your relationship with a school district.
3. Assess the district's readiness for change and negotiate a formal agreement.

Joseph, R., & Reigeluth, C. (2005). Formative research on an early stage of the systemic change process in a small school district. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36 (6), 937-956.

For further information, contact Roberto Joseph (Roberto.Joseph@hofstra.edu).


Additional studies are being done on:

Information about these studies will be posted when available.


©2010 by Charles Reigeluth
Last updated: October 21, 2010
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