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Institutional theories sometimes characterize the normative influence of institutions as diffusing like waves and as exerting uniform pressures on individuals. This article contributes to a growing literature on the microfoundations of institutions, investigating how intra-organizational networks mediate the diffusion of institutions on teachers’ instructional practices.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study:
This study focused on the normative influence of reading policy on teaching practice in the early 2000s. We chose to focus on reading during this period, which was marked by an unusual level of policy coherence. Federal and state agencies, as well as school districts, implemented a number of policies and programs to encourage teachers to follow the National Reading Panel’s (2000) recommendations to emphasize basic skills development in reading instructional practices.
The research took place in 11 elementary schools. An important note is that the pressure teachers experienced in these schools to adopt the practices recommended by the National Reading Panel was indirect. The schools in the study did include three Title I schools, but no schools in programs that required them to adopt these practices. All schools used stateadopted curricula in reading that were aligned with recommended practices.
All faculty members in the 11 schools were part of the study from 2004 to 2008. The sample in the final analysis (n = 136) included teachers with direct responsibilities for teaching reading in a single school over these 4 years. This figure represents 84.47% of our original sample (N = 161). […]