The effectiveness of four selected methods of administrator-to-student body communication as perceived by administrators and students
The study was based on examination of four selected methods of administrator-to-student body communication utilized in twenty central Indiana high schools. Student handbooks, school newspapers, special bulletins, and daily announcements were the methods examined. The study was designed to yield empirical data with regard to the effectiveness of the four selected methods as perceived by administrators and students.Parallel instruments were given to all administrators and to a sample of tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students in each of the twenty schools. Personal interviews were conducted with each of the principals.Findings in the study were based on data obtained from the administrator and student surveys and from the interviews with principals.1. On each of the survey items administrators and students generally agreed on which method was most effective to distribute a particular type of information.2. School newspapers were not a primary method of administrator-to-student body communication in any of the schools.3. Reading announcements twice daily rather than once made little or no difference in the amount of information received by students.4. Little or no difference existed in the reported amount of information received from daily announcements in schools where students did the reading compared to schools where administrators read.5. In the one school where daily announcements were read in the classrooms by teachers rather than over the public address system, the reported amount of information received was clearly less than in those schools using the public address system.6. No one method of communication produced student reports of information received which were clearly higher than the other methods.7. Administrator estimates of the amount of information received by students were consistently higher than the amounts actually reported by students.Conclusions1. No one method of communication is consistently more effective than the others.2. Administrators are inclined to overestimate the amount of information received by students.ImplicationsWhile conclusions based on empirical data were limited, several implications were generated as a result of conducting the study. In the course of visiting twenty schools and interviewing administrators in the twenty schools, several observations were made about situations and patterns which were present when students reported high amounts of information received. The patterns were consistent even when communication methods differed.The effectiveness of administrator-to-student body communication does not appear to be controlled by chance or luck. In schools where students reported high amounts of information received, the principals viewed the communication process as important to the success of the school. The principals, through planning and attention to detail, set a communication tone which was clear to teachers and students alike. The methods differed from school to school but in those schools where student responses indicated effective communication was being achieved, more attention to the process by administrators was observed as a general condition.In schools where student responses indicated that less information was received, principals often stated the position that communication was important but when the total process was studied, communication efforts lacked coordination and direction.In summary, planning commitment, and coordination appear to be necessary ingredients regardless of which communication method is used. Without such ingredients, none of the methods is likely to succeed.