British educational research journal vol:33 issue:2 pages:179-206
This study examined effects of school context, student composition and school leadership on school practice and outcomes in secondary education in Flanders. The study reveals that relations between school characteristics do exist and that it is possible to explain an important part of the differences in mean effort and mathematics achievement of schools by means of these school characteristics. Furthermore, it was found that school size positively affects school outcomes and that its effect is mediated by school practice characteristics like the amount of cooperation between teachers, which affects school climate and outcomes. School leadership did not affect the school practice much, perhaps because of a lack of a strong educational leadership in most of the Flemish secondary schools. However, the student composition of schools seemed to be very important for school practice, as well as for school outcomes. Nevertheless, the study revealed that schools can affect the outcomes of their students independently of their student composition and context by means of school practice.