oversight

DOD Overseas Schools: Additional Assurances of Educational Quality Needed

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               United   States   General   Accounting   Office

“GAO           Report to the Committee on Armed
               Services, House of Representatives



March   1990
               DOD OVERSEAS
               SCHOOLS
               Additional Assurances
               of Educational Quality i:7
               Needed
G-0   i$f%%&iiI”;iF
            ..
      Human Resources    Division

      B-235288

      March 15,199O

      The Honorable Beverly B. Byron
      Chairman, Subcommittee on Military
        Personnel and Compensation
      Committee on Armed Services
      House of Representatives

      Dear Madam Chairman:

      This report responds to the House Armed Services Committee’s request-included       in its
      report, which accompanied the fiscal year 1989 National Defense Authorization    Act-that
      we review schools operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) for the dependents of
      military and WD civili;tn personnel located overseas. The major issues discussed in the report
      are the adequacy of information on the quality of education provided by the schools and the
      responsiveness of the school system to parental concerns.

      We are recommending that the school system (1) use measures in addition to test scores to
      assess education quality; (2) maintain better evidence that teachers are qualified and
      waivers of high school graduation requirements are proper; and (3) ensure that school
      advisory committees, which are comprised of parents and teachers, have the opportunity to
      advise principals on school policy issues.

      We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Office of
      Management and Budget; appropriate congressional committees; and other interested parties.

      If you have questions concerning this report,, please call me on (202) 275-1793. Other major
      contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV.

      Sincerely yours,




      Franklin Frazier
      Director, Education and
         Employment Issues
                           Executive   Summary




                           quality and should be supplemented with other indicators-such      as pro-
                           motion rates and measures of the variety of course offerings-for     a
                           more comprehensive assessment of the quality of the schools. This is
                           particularly relevant for the DOD system because its students are highly
                           mobile, often attending these schools for only a few years, and their test
                           scores may reflect education received elsewhere. (See ch. 2.)

                           DODalso needs better procedures for documenting that the schools have
                           quality teachers and that students meet graduation standards. Files fre-
                           quently lacked the required documentation that (1) teachers met, mini-
                           mum employment requirements, and (2) high-school students were
                           properly granted exceptions when permitted to graduate without mcet-
                           ing minimum course requirements. (See ch. 2.)

                           While school advisory c*ommittees have been established to provide par-
                           ents and teachers with a forum for expressing their views on school
                           operations, they seldom exercised their specific authority to advise
                           school principals on budgets and course curricula. Some parent members
                           believed that they lacked sufficient influence in committee meetings to
                           direct attention to thr,sc! matters and were unaware that they could elc-
                           va(e concerns that a~‘()unrc>solvcd at the school level to DOI)manage-
                           ment. (Set ch. 3.)

                           LXIL)has implemented widely used drug and alcohol abuse programs in
                           its schools and has generally corrected facilities’ shortcomings, such as
                           inadequate space and Itbaky roofs, which were identified by its accredit-
                           ing organization. (See VI-I.4.)



Principal Findings

DOD Students Score Above   IWI) students have c*onsistcntly scored above average on nationally   rec-
Average on Standardized    ognized standardized ac*hievement and aptitude tests. For example, dur-
                           ing the 1987-88 school yea]‘, DOD students took t.he Comprehensive Test
Tests                      of Basic Skills and on average scored above the 50th percentile for all
                           sub,jects. Similarly. ov(‘r the past 4 years, DOD’Sstudents exceeded the
                           national average on all sub,jccts on the American College Testing exam
                           and on the verbal part of the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Also the students
                           lucre near or slightly abovcl the national average on the mathematics
                           piW of the Scholastic .Ipt il ude Test. (See pp. 12-l 6.)




                           Page d                                      GAO/HRD-90.13   DOD 0wrsras   Schools
                               .   while there are equal numbers of parents and teachers on the commit-
                                   tees, the meetings arc often attended by nonvoting school administra-
                                   tors and teacher union representatives who many parents believed
                                   strongly influence the members. (See pp. 21-23.)


Drug Prevention     Programs       DODhas implemented drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs for
                                   elementary and secondary students in all of its schools. These programs
Established
                                   are widely used in I1.S. school systems to help reduce student drug and
                                   alcohol abuse. (See pp. 2526.)


Most Facilities   Problems         School facilities problems, such as inadequate space and emergency
                                   lighting, leaky roofs, and unattractive landscaping, have been cited in
Corrected
                                   accreditation survey rcaports by non’s independent school accrediting
                                   association. GM’s rcvit%w of the most recent accrediting reports and its
                                   inspection of the facilities at 30 schools with problems identified by the
                                   accrediting association indicated that (1) the association did not con-
                                   sider most of thra probklms serious enough to detract from the quality of
                                   education and (2) INHI had cx)rrccted over 70 percent of the reported
                                   problems. (See pp. 2627. I


                                   To provide parents and school system management additional indicators
Recommendations                    that, their schools are providing students with high-quality education,
                                   (;.A()recommends that I xx):

                                 l!se, in addition to tchst scores, other measures to assess education qual-
                                 ity. (See p. 20.)
                               . Ensure adequate documentation is maintained for (1) teachers’ qualifi-
                                 cations, and (2) the basis for granting waivers of high-school graduation
                                 requirements. (See p. 20.)
                               . Ensure that advisory committees are provided the opportunity to
                                 review and advise school principals on school policy issues, specifically
                                 curricula and budget issues, by requiring the committees to document
                                 that they have been given that opportunity, and are aware that they can
                                 elevate unresolved c’onccrns to school system management above the
                                 principal level. (SW p. 23.)


                                   DOD   agreed with   GAOk   recommendations.   (See app. III.)
Agency Comments


                                   Page 5                                         GAO/HRD-90.13    DOD Oversras   Schools
Tables    Table 2.1: Documentation of Teacher Employment                               18
               Qualifications in Personnel Files
          Table 2.2: Teachers Lacking Required Certifications, and                     19
               Resulting Action (Germany and Pacific Regions)
          Table 4.1: Schools With Facilities Problems Identified by                    27
               NC4
          Table 4.2: Facilities Problems Identified by NCA                             27
          Table II. 1: DOD High-School Graduates at Schools in                         29
               GAO’s Analysis
          Table 11.2: Teacher 1Universes                                               30

Figures   Figure 1.1: DOD Dependents Schools Organizational                              9
               Structure
          Figure 2.1: DOD Students in Grades 1 - 6 Score Well on                        13
               Achievement Tests (School Year 1987-88)
          Figure 2.2: DOD Students in Grades 7 - 11 Score Well on                       14
               Achievement Tests (School Year 1987-88)
          Figure 2.3: DOD Students’ SAT Scores Are at or Above                          15
               Average (School Years 1985-88)
          Figure 2.4: DOD Students’ ACT Scores Are Above Average                        16
               (School Year 1987-88)




          Abbreviations

          ACT       American College Testing Exam
          CTl3S     Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills
          DARE      Drug Abuse Resistance Education
          DOD       Department of Defense
          GAO       General Accounting Office
          NCA       North Central Association
          SAT       Scholastic, Aptitude Test


          Page 7                                     GAO/HRD-9043   DOD Overseas   Schools
                                               Chapter 1
                                               Introduction




Figure 1.1: DOD Dependents     Schools Organizational            Structure


                                            Offlce of Dependents

                                             Alexandria.    Virginia




                                                                                                                    \
                         Germany                                                                       Panama
 Atlantic   Region                             Mediterranean                     Paclflc Region        Region
                          Flegkm
      E.%tCOte.                                   Region                         Okinawa,    Japan   Albrook AFS,
                        Wiesbaden,
      England                                   Madrid.    Spain                                        Panama
                       West Germany
                                                                             \




     4 Districts         8 Districts               3 Districts                      4 Dlstrlcts




                                               The DODschool system has over 13,500 employees, 9,800 of whom arc
                                               teachers. The system performs most of its own budget, supply, and
                                               teacher recruitment activities, although it relies on the military depart-
                                               ments for some logist ical. financial, and personnel support on a reim-
                                               bursable basis.

                                               DODuses the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (~4) to
                                               evaluate and accredit I he educational quality of its schools. The XC:\,
                                               founded in 1895, is that largest and oldest of the six regional accrediting
                                               associations. It accredits annually over 6,000 elementary schools, mid-
                                               dle/junior high schools, high schools, and institutions of higher educa-
                                               tion in 19 states and overseas.

                                               The 1978 act requirt>s noI) to establish school and installation advisory
                                               committees to pro\id~~ communication links between t,he school systems
                                               and the communititxs they serve. Each school’s advisory committee



                                               Page 9                                                        GAQ/HRD-W-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
Chapter 2

Additional Assurances of Educational
Quality Needed

                       DOD needs to provide its management and parents with more assurances
                       that it is providing high-quality education to its students. Although LX)II
                       arranges for periodic evaluations of its schools by an independent
                       accrediting agency and reports students’ performance on standardized
                       achievement and aptitude tests, additional measures of school effective-
                       ness-such      as promotion rates and the variety of courses students
                       take-are      needed to better assess educational quality. Such additional
                       measures are particularly      important for the DOD system because the
                       standardized test scores of its students-who       tend to be highly
                       mobile-likely      reflect the education they received in other school
                       systems.

                       DOD also needs to better assure that its teachers are fully qualified   and
                       that high-school graduates meet graduation requirements.


                       DOD  assesses the quality of education it provides through (1) its school
How DOD Assesses Its   accreditation process, (2) a periodic curricula review and improvement
Schools                effort, and (3) standardized achievement and aptitude tests.


School Accreditation   DODcontracts with s( .Afor accreditation reviews of its schools. To be
                       accredited, a school must meet NCA standards for its educational pro-
                       gram, teacher qualifications,    school facilities, school supplies, and
                       administrative     servrces. The primary objectives of the accreditation pro-
                       cess are to (1) ensure t hat schools provide educational programs of high
                       quality for all students, (2) encourage continuous appraisal and
                       improvement of the school program, (3) foster public confidence. and (4)
                       assist in identifying educat,ionally deficient schools, Schools are accred-
                       ited by the association if they pass an on-site review every 5 years, The
                       schools review and report on their operations annually and prepare a
                       school improvement plan, based on an internal evaluation, before the
                       review. As of school year 1987-88, NCZ had approved all DOD schools.

                                                                                                     .-.
Curricula Review and   DOD  uses a 7-year curricula development cycle to keep current with the
                       latest trends and ensure the appropriateness of its programs. The pro-
Development
                       cess uses educational specialists from the regional offices and headquar-
                       ters who survey teachers regarding the effectiveness of each of their
                       curricula, such as social studies, science, and mathematics. The special-
                       ists spend the first 2 years of a cycle reviewing, selecting, and ordering
                       instructional  materials. Teachers begin using the new materials at the
                       beginning of the thnd year. In the fourth and fifth years, the specialists
                                                                                ~~~ --
                                                   Chapter 2
                                                   Additional Assurances   of Educational
                                                   Quality Needed




Figure 2.1: DOD Students         in Grades l-6 Score Well on Achievement        Tests (School Year 1987-88)




70


65


60


55


50

     Grade 1                   Grade 2           Grade 3              Grade 4               Grade 5              Grade 6
     r----Y
     u         Reading
               Language Arts
               Math




                                                   Page 13                                                    GAO/HRD90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                                        Chapter 2
                                        Additional Assurances    of Educational
                                        Quality Nreded




Figure 2.3: DOD Students’ SAT Scores
Are at or Above Average (School Years
1985~88)                                500   Score

                                        490

                                        480

                                        470

                                        460

                                        450

                                        440

                                        430

                                        420

                                        410

                                        400

                                          1985
                                          School Year

                                                 -      Math . Nation
                                                 ----   Math-Dal
                                                 -      VerW - Nation
                                                 ..s.   Verbal-DOD


                                        Similarly, as shown in figure 2.4, for school year 1987-88, the average
                                        performance of DOI) students on ACT exceeded the national average in all
                                        subject areas.




                                        Page 15                                    GAO/HRD90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                          Chapter 2
                          Additional Assurances   of Educational
                          Quality Nerded




                          requirements; and (4) participation of students in the arts and extracur-
                          ricular activities. Similarly, in an August 1987 report,’ the Congressional
                          Budget Office noted that test scores alone are an unreliable measure of
                          the quality of an educational program because many educational, socie-
                          tal, and other factors can influence the scores.

                          According to DOD, it collects much of the data needed to report addi-
                          tional indicators of educational quality, including records of each stu-
                          dent’s attendance, academic progress, and grades. IIowever, this kind of
                          information is not routinely included in its annual report to the
                          Congress.


                          r)ou often lacks documentation that student.s meet its minimum requirc-
DOD Needs Better          ments for graduation and t,hat teachers are fully qualified to teach their
Procedures to             grade levels and sul),jects. Hctter documentation could help L)OD’S man-
                          agement and students‘ parents determine whether students are rcceiv-
Document That             ing a high-quality edllc,at,ion.
Students Meet
Graduation
Requirements and
Teachers Are
Qualified

Somcl Students Graduate   DODrequires students to complete a minimum of 20 credits (16 in
                          required subject areas and 6 electives) in order to graduate from high
Wit hut Meeting Minimum
                          school. However, DOI)permits school principals to waive certain require-
Requirements              ments-or      substitute alternative courses-if they believe it would br in
                          the student’s best interest. In such instances, school principals are
                          required to maintain a record of the rationale for the waiver or
                          substitution.

                          We reviewed transcripts of all students who graduated from the Korea
                          district in 1988, and samples of those who graduated from the larger
                          Frankfurt and Philippines districts. All but 1 of 96 students WC reviewed
                          in Frankfurt met minimum graduation requirements. On the other hand,
                          25 percent of those, in Korea and 10 percent of those in the Philippines
                          did not meet the wyl~trements.   For example, some students were




                          Pagr 17                                      GAO/HRD-90.13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                                           Chapter 2
                                           Additional Assurances   of Educational
                                           Quality Needed




Most Teachers Are                          DOD requires its teachers to be certified to teach their grade levels and
                                           subjects. As part of its accreditation process, KCA assesses the creden-
Properly Certified                         tials of all newly hired teachers.

                                           xx reviewed the files of 1,401 teachers in the Germany and Pacific
                                           regions for school year 198687, and 1,743 for school year 1987-88. As
                                           summarized in table 2.2, it found that few teachers (only about 1 per-
                                           cent) were teaching subjects for which they were uncertified. Subse-
                                           quently, all of these either made up their deficiencies and were certified,
                                           were reassigned to teach a subject for which they were certified, volun-
                                           tarily left the school system, or were removed from their positions.

Table 2.2: Teachers Lacking Required
Certifications, and Resulting Action                                  Teacher                           Subsequently   met
(Germany and Paclflc Regtons)                                              files            Lacked        requirements   or
                                           School year               reviewed       certifications       were reassigned      Terminated
                                           1986-87                        1,401                    16                     9                7
                                           1987-88                        1 74.1                   19                    14                5


                                           Our review of a sample of 225 teachers’ files showed that most con-
                                           tained evidence that teachers were certified. Certifications that teachers
                                           were qualified to teach were missing for:

                                       .   1 of the 60 files (less than 2 percent) in Korea.
                                       l   1 of the 100 files ( 1 percent) in Frankfurt.
                                       l   None of the 65 files in the Philippines.

                                           DOD officials gave various reasons for the lack of evidence of certifica-
                                           tion, including that local shortages of teachers in certain subjects
                                           required hiring teachers without full certifications, new teacher arrivals
                                           sometimes did not have their certificates with them, and certificates
                                           were lost.


                                           Students who attend i)oD schools score well on standardized achieve-
Conclusions                                ment and aptitude tests. However, these scores are only one measure of
                                           education quality and should be supplemented with other indicators to
                                           provide a better assessment of the schools. Also, although students who
                                           graduate without meeting minimum requirements may have been
                                           granted valid waivers by their principals and teachers may be fully
                                           qualified, DOD files often lacked required documentation. To provide for
                                           a more comprehensive assessment of the school system, DOD should (1)
                                           develop additional measures of education quality and (2) ensure that



                                           Page 19                                                 GAO/HRD-90.13    DOD Overwas    Schools
Chapter 3

Advisory Committees Can Be More Effective                                                                 -


                        Advisory committees are required by law and are intended to provide
                        parents and teachers a means for raising and resolving their concerns
                        about school operations. DOD established advisory committees at each
                        school and installation we visited. However, these committees have gen-
                        erally focused on school support issues, such as transportation  and
                        school lunch programs. and have seldom exercised their authorit,y to
                        advise school principals on curricula and budget matters. In addition,
                        some parents believe that their influence on advisory committees is lim-
                        ited by the requirement that there be equal numbers of parent and
                        teacher members because nonvoting participants, particularly    principals
                        and teacher union representatives, often attend the meetings and influ-
                        ence the positions taken by teachers on issues.

                        Assurances are needed that advisory committees are provided the
                        opportunity  to review and report their views on the entire spectrum of
                        school plans and operations.

                                                                                                     -~
                        The Defense Dependents’ Education Act of 1978 requires DOD to estab-
Advisory Committee      lish school advisory committees to provide advice to school principals
Functions               and installation commanders on school affairs. As specified in the law,
                        these committees are composed of an equal number of parents whose
                        students are enrolled in the schools and full-time professional school
                        employees (usually teachers). They are authorized to provide advice and
                        make recommendations on almost any school-related issue, specifically
                        recommendations on curricula and budgets and on installation-provided
                        support, such as transportation,    maintenance, and school meals. Where
                        there is more than one school on an installation, the latter function is
                        performed by an “installation”     advisory committee comprised of mem-
                        bers from the school advisory committees. DOD procedures provide that
                        when a committee is unable to resolve an issue with a principal or com-
                        mander, it can put its concerns in writing and refer them to successively
                        higher levels-up    to the Director of the Office of Dependents Schools-
                        until resolution is reached.

                                                                                                    .__
                        Advisory committees for the schools we visited have tended to focus on
Committees’ Influence   such school operat,ions issues as lunch programs and pedestrian safety,
on Curricula and        rather than on revit\ving and making recommendations on school curric-
Budget Issues Limited   ula and budgets. IGcause DOD is not required to document what issues
                        advisory committees have considered, we could not determine how
                        many committees wart given the opportunity to review and comment on
                        thcsc matt,ers. Howc~\ er. available documentation showed that during


                        Page 21                                     GAO/HRD-90.13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                        Chapter 3
                        Advisory Committees   Can Be More Effective




                        Legislation requires that school advisory committees include an equal
Composition of School   number of parents and professional school employees (usually teachers)
Advisory Committees     and a nonvoting teacher union representative. This requirement is
                        intended to encourage family members and school employees to partici-
                        pate in school operations, but some members believe it limits parental
                        influence. Parent and teacher members from 8 of the 18 school advisory
                        committees that we interviewed believed that these committees would
                        be more effective if parent representation was increased. These mem-
                        bers indicated that-even    though the committee membership is com-
                        prised of an equal number of parents and professional school
                        employees-the     parents often felt they had little influence at meetings
                        because of the presence of nonvoting participants (such as school princi-
                        pals and teacher union representatives) who they perceive can exert
                        influence over the teacher members.

                        Similarly, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management and
                        Personnel indicated during the same October 5, 1988, hearing at which
                        we testified, that some school community members believe that having
                        an equal number of parents and professional school employees moves
                        the focus of school advisory committees away from community issues to
                        teachers’ concerns. The Assistant Secretary added that this has led to a
                        commonly held notion that the school advisory committees are not fully
                        responsive to parental concerns.


                        Some advisory committee members believe they have little influence on
Conclusions             their schools. The members felt that school principals often limited their
                        opportunity to discuss curricula and budget issues at their meetings, and
                        many were unaware that they could elevate unresolved concerns and
                        complaints to higher levels of management in the school system. Conse-
                        quently, DOD should tnakc sure that advisory committees have been pro-
                        vided the opportunity to comment on such issues as school curricula and
                        budgets. Such assurances, combined with DOD'S current initiatives,
                        should help to improve communications between the schools and the
                        communities they strvc.


                        We recommend that the Secretary of Defense require the Office of
Recommendation          Dependents Schools to ensure that advisory committees are provided
                        the opportunity to review school policy issues and to advise school prin-
                        cipals on them, specifically curricula and budget issues. This can be
                        assured by requiring the committees to document that they have been



                        Page 23                                       GAO/HRD-90.13   DOD Overseas   Schools
Chapter 4

DOD Has Been Responsiveto SubstanceAbuse
and Facilities Problems

                      In response to drug and alcohol use by its students, MID has implcmcnt~ctl
                      substance abuse prevention programs that are used by other school sys-
                      tems for elementary and secondary students in all its schools. I)(N) also is
                      implementing a pilot drug abuse prevention program for fift,h and sist h
                      grade students.

                      In addition, DOL) corrects most problems with its physical faciliticls noted
                      by its accrediting agenc’y.

                     -.~
                      A 1987 drug and akohol survey, conducted by the lJniversit,y of Mich-
Drug and Alcohol      gan for the Kational lnst it utc of Drug Abuse, indicated that, about 53
Abuse Prevention      percent of I)oL)‘s 1987 high-school seniors have used marijuana, c.ocaine.
                      or other illicit drugs at some point in their lives. Among statesid<\ high-
Programs Have Been    school seniors, ac.cotdmg to the survey, 57 percent reported having used
Implemented           an illicit drug. The stutly also estimated that about 9,s percent 01’ MN)
                      high-school seniors had usc>dakohol at least once in their lifetimc,s. uxw
                      pared with about O:! ~x-rcx~nl of stateside seniors.

                      ISec-auseof conc(lrns ;Iljont drug and alcohol use in its schools, I)OI) has
                      implemented drug an(l al~)hol abuse prevention programs for all grades.
                      One program, rc,ferrcxtl to as “Ilere’s Looking at You, 2000.” is for stu-
                      dents in kindcrgart cbnthrough grade eight. The program provides infor-
                      mation on drugs and ;~lcohol. gives opportunitic,s for peer teaching and
                      parental involvcmc*nl and is designed to assist students in making
                      responsible decisions. .Inothcr program, called “Together,” is used in
                      grades 9 through 12. and is an alcohol and drug education program that
                      includes developing shills in making decisions, managing stress, solving
                      problems, and de\xslcq)in g a positive self image. The “Togcthcr” program
                      also includes a con\potlcM for kindergarten through gradr ($$t calltxtl
                      “Choosing for Yout5t,Il’.”

                      The Pacific rrgion Itul ~Iemcnt.ed the two programs primarily by training
                      sc*hool staff mcmbr\rs ;tnd t,caehing the programs in the classrooms. Dur-
                      ing school year 1987-X8. the developers of “Here’s Looking at YOII,
                      2000” trained teams 01’ three to five teachers. counselors, nurses, and
                      administrators    from c~lr elementary and junior high school in the
                      region. Thcsc teams t Ilcln returned to their schools, trained othtxr school
                      cmployet~s, and UNI~~II~T~YI parent and community awareness prtscnta-
                      tions. For the “‘l’ogc,l trtlr” program. consultants trained the region’s
                      high-school health toach(~rs. counselors, nurses, and administrators in
                      school year 198G 1!M;.
                                     Chapter 4
                                     DOD Has Been Responsive to Substance
                                     Abuse and Facilities Problems




Table 4.1: Schools With Facilities
Problems Identified by NCA                                                                          District
                                     Number of schools                   Korea       Okinawa       Philippines          Frankfurt       Totals
                                     With problems                            5                7                 IO                 8        30
                                     That had corrected all problems           1               3                  a                 1        13
                                     That had some uncorrected
                                       oroblems                                 4              4                  2                 7        17


                                     As shown in table 4.2, non corrected most of the 165 problems (about 70
                                     percent) identified by its accrediting agency. Other than the deficiencies
                                     identified at the one school that did not meet standards, NC4 did not con-
                                     sider the remaining uncorrected problems serious enough to detract
                                     from the quality of education at the schools.


by NCA                                                                                              District
                                     Number of problems                     Korea    Okinawa       Philippines          Frankfurt       Totals
                                     All schools                                52         26                    39             46         165
                                        For schools that had corrected
                                           all problems                          6             8                 31                 4        49
                                        For schools wtth some
                                           uncorrected problems                46          20                     8             42          116
                                           Corrected                           32          13                     3             20           68
                                           Uncorrected                         14           7                     5             22           48


                                     School principals cited various reasons why some problems were uncor-
                                     rected at their schools. The reasons included plans to replace some facil-
                                     ities (which takes longer than making repairs), slow action on schools’
                                     repair requests, and difficulty in identifying ways to fix the problems.
                                     The principals plan to continue their efforts to follow up on repair
                                     requests and to identify ways to correct the problems.




                                     Page 27                                                   GAO/HRD-90-13          DOD Overseas      Schools
Appendix    II

Scopeand Methodology ~


                                              We reviewed pertinent legislation and DOD documents and interviewed
                                              Office of Dependents Schools officials, including the director, deputy
                                              director, and their staffs.

                                              To address educational quality, we interviewed DOD and Department of
                                              Education officials and obtained and analyzed information, such as (1)
                                              the results of periodic evaluations of DOD schools by &CA,(2) annual cur-
                                              ricula evaluation plans, (3) standardized achievement and college apti-
                                              tude test scores, (4) parent attitude surveys, and (5) DOD assessments of
                                              educational quality.

                                              In addition, to see if non was enforcing its minimum high-school gradua-
                                              tion requirements, we reviewed 193 student transcripts randomly
                                              selected from students who graduated from six schools in the Frankfurt,
                                              Philippines, and Korea dist,ricts during the 1987-88 school year. To per-
                                              form our analyses, we designed a structured data collection instrument
                                              to ascertain, among other things, evidence of education, such as courses
                                              taken and credits earned. The following table identifies the district
                                              offices, student graduate universes in each district, and the sample size
                                              of the student transcripts reviewed.

Table 11.1:DOD High-School   Graduates   at
Schools in GAO’s Analysis                                                           Universe   of graduated
                                              Germany region                                        students            Sample size
                                              Frankfurt dlstrlct                                          457                     96
                                                                                                                                .~~
                                              Pacific Region
                                              Korea dlstrlct                                               28                        28
                                              Phlllpplnes district                                        198                       -69
                                              Total                                                       683                      193


                                              Since there were only 28 high-school students who graduated at the two
                                              schools in Korea, we reviewed all students’ transcripts and related docu-
                                              mentation. We randomly sampled the universe of graduated students
                                              from the Frankfurt and Philippines districts by using a computer-gener-
                                              ated list of random numbers.

                                              To determine if proper documentation was available on teacher qualifi-
                                              cations, we randomly selected 225 teachers’ files from the 934 classroom
                                              teachers at 33 schools in the Frankfurt, Korea, and Philippines districts.
                                              We then reviewed their personnel files at civilian personnel offices to
                                              determine whether the files were complete and provided an adequate
                                              basis for assuring that teachers are properly qualified to perform their
                                              duties. WC also designed a structured data collection instrument for use


                                              Page 29                                      GAO/HRD90.13         DOD Overseas   Schools
Appendix II
Scope and Methodology




To address the status of DOD'S drug and alcohol abuse prevention pro-
grams, we interviewed program and fiscal officials at the headquarters
and regional levels and reviewed available documents and reports
describing DOD'S drug and alcohol prevention activities.

To evaluate the physical condition of school facilities, we relied on the
results of NCA’S most recent evaluation reports to determine the prob-
lems attributed to school facilities and observe the conditions related to
those problems. We visited 30 schools in the Frankfurt, Korea, Okinawa,
and Philippines districts to follow up on the facilities problems NCA had
identified in its reports.




Page 31                                     GAO/HRD90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                                         -
               Appendix ID
               Comments From the Department    of Defense




-
    r

                                                                                            2
        asking their    opinion   on school effectiveness     overall.   Fifty-five
        percent or 75,426 parents      responded.     The survey results     for the
        system have been published      widely,    and each school will   receive
        its own results     which will   be used to develop school improvement
        plans.
                The need to build       confidence     among parents that they have a
        significant      role in the DOD schools comes through clearly                   in the
        report.       The Director    of DoDDS has identified         effective
        communication       with parents      as a major organizational           goal.    The
        concerns that emerge in the report              are a reminder      that the DOD
        efforts     must be untiring       as parents and other members of the
        community are informed          about the schools,      especially        about how
        parents      can be most effective       in serving   on School Advisory            *
        Committees.       A newly developed video tape and study guide for use
        in training      Committee members received         generally      favorable
        evaluations      at the end of the 1988-1989 school year.                   The fact
        that confusion        still  exists    in the minds of some parents about
        how the Committees work, despite             these training      efforts,       means
        that the DOD must and will            do more to assist     parents       in
        participating       in the governance of its schools.
             Detailed    DOD comments on the findings      and recommendations               of
        this report   are enclosed.     The DOD appreciates    the opportunity               to
        comment on the draft    report.
                                                      Sincerelv.




        Enclosures:
        As Stated




                 Page 33                                             GAO/HRD-90-13   DOD Overseas Schools
                                       Appendix III
                                       Comments From      the Departmrnt    of Defense




                                                                                                                                      L

                                       Student performance   on standardized     tests:  The DOD students
                                       participate   in the Comprehensive    Test of Basic Skills,   the
                                       Scholastic  Attitude  Test, and the American Collese Testino
                                       programs.     -
                                The GAO reported         that,    as of 1987-1988 school year, the North
                                Central     Association       of Schools and Colleges            had approved all the
                                DOD schools.        The GAO further          reported    that,    during school year
                                1987-1988,      DOD students        scored higher than the 50th percentile            in
                                all curriculum        areas at all grade levels,              as measured by the
                                Comprehensive       Test of Basic Skills.             The GAO noted that DOD
                                students     scored higher        than the national          average on the verbal
                                section     of the Scholastic         Aptitude      Test for school years 1985
                                through     1988, while in the math section                the test scores
                                varied--but      they were still         above the national          average in 1988.
                                According     to the GAO, the average performance                   of DOD students  on
                                the American College Testing                for the 1987-1988 school year
                                exceeded the national            average in all subject           areas.    The GAO
                                concluded     that,     although     the students       scored well on the
                                standardized       achievement       and aptitude       tests,    the scores are only
Nowon pp 11~17                  one measure of education             quality.       (pp. 15-19/GAO Draft Report)
                            I
                                DOD Response:          Concur.
                                FINDING C: The DOD Should Develop More Measures of Educational
                                Quality.         The GAO reported          that the DOD annual report                 to the
                                Congress on the quality                of the education           provided       to its students
                                is based primarily             on student       scores on the standardized
                                achievement         and aptitude        tests      (See Finding       B).      The GAO
                                acknowledged         that DOD students           have scored well on these tests,
                                but again emphasized that test scores alone do not provide                                   a
                                comprehensive          measure of educational              quality      because, for
                                example, military            personnel       are frequently          reassigned       during
                                their    careers.         The GAO observed,            therefore,       that the test scores
                                of students         who attended        the DOD schools can be expected to
                                reflect      the education          received      in other school systems, as well.
                                The GAO concluded            that,     because of the influence                of a variety      of
                                factors,       the scores should be supplemented                     with indicators         such
                                as attendance          rates,     information        on the courses taken by the
                                students,        promotion       and drop-out        rates,     proportions         of students
                                meeting college           and university          entrance      requirements,         and student
                                participation          in the arts and extracurricular                    activities.        The
                                GAO pointed         out that the DOD collects                much of the data needed to
                                develop additional             indicators       of educational          quality--including
                                attendance,         academic progress,            and grades.          The GAO observed,
                                however, that such available                  information         is not routinely
Now on pp 3-4. 16-17, and       included       in the annual report             to the Congress.              (pp. 3-4,
19                              PP. 20-21,        pp. 24-25/GAO Draft Report)
                                DOD Response:   Concur.              The Dc3DS uses several methods and
                                measures in its internal              assessment of school effectiveness.




                                        Page 35                                                      GAOjHRD-9tX13     DOD Overseas       Schools
                                    Appendix III
                                    Comments From the Department        of Defense




                                                                                                                              4
                            FINDING E: The DOD Needs Better Procedures                             To Document That
                            ?;eachers Are Qualified.             The GAO reported              that a review of 225
                            teacher     files     showed that official           collese         transcriuts         and
                            complete Federal employment applications-were                             frequently
                            missing--even         though Federal personnel              regulations           require      that
                            these documents be maintained.                 For example, the GAO sampled
                            teacher     files     in Korea; Frankfurt,           Germany: and the Philippines.
                            The GAO reported           finding   that all of the teacher                  files      sampled in
                            Korea;    58 percent of the teacher             files       sampled in Frankfurt,
                            Germany; and 83 percent of the teacher                       files       sampled in the
                            Philippines         were missing official          transcripts.              The GAO reported
                            that the reason most cited by school and personnel                                office
                            officials        for the missing       documentation           was delays in receiving
                            employment documentation             for newly hired or recently                      transferred
                            teachers.          The GAO also observed that the DOD requires                           teachers
                            to be certified          to teach their      grade levels              and subjects.           The
                            GAO did find that most of the teacher                     files        it reviewed contained
Now on p 4 and pp 18-20     evidence       that teachers       were certified.              (p. 5, pp. 22-25/GAO
                            Draft Report)
                            DOD Response:          concur.
                            FINDING F: Advisory        Committee Functions.         The GAO reported        that
                            the Defense Dependents'        Education    Act of 1978 requires         the DOD to
                            establish   school advisory       committees     to provide     advice to school
                            principals   and installation        commanders on school affairs.            The
                            GAO observed that these committees           are   composed of an equal
                            number of parents,       whose students     are enrolled      in the DOD
                            schools,   and full-time      professional     employees.       The GAO further
                            observed that these committees           are authorized     to provide      advice
                            and make recommendations         on almost any school-related          issue.
Now on pp 4-5, 21, and 23    (p.5, pp. 26-27, p. 29/GAO Draft Report)
                            DOD Response:          Concur.
                            FINDING G: Committee Influence             On Curricula     And Budgets Limited.
                            The GAO reoorted       that advisorv      committees     had been established
                            for all of-the      schools it visited.          The GAO found, however, that
                            the committees      had tended to focus on school operational                issues,
                            such as lunch programs and pedestrian              safety rather      than
                            reviewing     and making recommendations          on school curricula        and
                            budgets.      The GAO noted that those issues which advisory
                            committees     have considered        were not documented--so       a
                            determination      could not be made on how many of the committees
                            wese given the opportunity            to comment on these matters.           The GAO
                            reported    that available        documentation    showed that,     during     school
                            year 1987-1988,      only two of the advisory          committees     for schools
                            in the Frankfurt,        Philippines,     and Korean districts       made
                            recommendations      or advised school principals           of budget matters.
                            The GAO attributed        the limited     involvement     by advisory      committee




                                     Page 37                                                     GAO/HRD-90.13     DOD Overs.x.s   Schools
                               Appendix   III
                               tbmmmts      From the Depart mrnt of Defensr




                                                                                                             6
                        FINDING El: Composition         of School Advisory         Committees.   The GAO
                        reported     that parent and teacher members from 8 of the 18 school
                        advisory     commlttees    it interviewed       indicated    that they had
                        little   influence     at advisory      committee meetings because of the
                        presence of noncommittee         participants--such         as school principals
                        and teacher union representatives.                According    to the GAO, this
                        resulted     in the perception       that influence       was exerted over the
Nowon pp 5 and23        teacher members.         (P. 5. PP. 28-29/GAO Draft Report)
                        DOD Response:       Partially     Concur.     The DOD concurs that some
                        school advisory      committee members perceive           that they have limited
                        influence     on school programs.         School advisory      committee meetings
                        are open to the public.           Since open meetings are the normal
                        condition     of school advisory       committee meetings in the United
                        States,    the DOD does not concur in the GAO finding               that the
                        influence     of committee members is limited            by the forum in which
                        the meetings     are held.       The composition       of school advisory
                        committees     is established      by statute     (i.e.,    Section   1410 of
                        Public    Law 95-561 (19781, 20 U.S.C. 5 928) and includes                equal
                        representation      of parents     and school employees plus the teacher
                        union representative          as a non-voting    member. The DOD does not
                        concur that the influence          of school advisory        committee members is
                        limited    by the presence of teacher union representatives.
                        FINDING I:   Drug And Alcohol      Abuse Prevention     Programs Have Been
                        Implemented.     The GAO reported     that, because of concerns about
                        drug and alcohol    use in its schools,     the DOD has implemented      drug
                        and alcohol  abuse prevention      programs for elementary      and
                        secondary students    in all of its schools.        The GAO also noted
                        that the DOD is implementing       a pilot  drug abuse prevention
Now on pp 5 and 25~26   program for fifth    and sixth    grade students.      (p. 6, pp. 31-33/
                        GAO Draft Report)
                        DOD Response:      Concur.    The DoDDS has implemented         drug abuse
                        prevention    programs in all of its overseas schools.              In a recent
                        survey of parents,      they reported    very high levels       of confidence
                        in DoDDS ability     to deal with drug and alcohol           abuse problems and
                        very low levels     of concern about drug abuse in the schools              (i.e.,
                        about 7 percent     of parents   reported     concern with drug abuse in
                        DoDDS as compared to approximately          30 percent of parents        in the
                        U.S. who reported      concern with drug abuse in their           schools on
                        "The Annual Gallop Poll of the Public's            Attitudes    Toward the
                        Public    Schools"  which was reported      in September of 1988).
                        FINDING J: Most Facilities           Problems Corrected.          The GAO reported
                        that school facilities      problems--such         as inadequate     space and
                        emergency lighting,     leaking      roofs,     and unattractive     landscaping.
                        have been cited     in accreditation         survey reports      by DOD'S
                        independent   school accrediting         association.        The GAO review of
                        the most recent accrediting          reports     and its inspection      of the




                               Page 39                                            GAO/HRDYO-13   DOD Overseas    Schools
                          Appendix ID
                          Comments From the Departmrnt       of Defense




                                                                                                                  8
                  DOD Response:      concur.   The DOD concurs in the need for greater
                  assurance    that (1) graduates    meet minimum graduation
                  requirements     and (2) teachers    meet DOD requirements to teach
                  their   subjects   and grade levels.
                              - Graduation        Requirements.    The DOD concurs that high
                  school principals     should document their       rationale       for granting
                  waivers   in students   files.      This is already      required    by
                  Dependents Schools Regulation           2000.1, paragraph F.l.d,        in order
                  to ensure that such waivers          are in the best interests        of
                  students.    In February      1990, the Director,      DoDDS, will      send a
                  memorandum to all DoDDS high school principals               reminding       them
                  that they are required        to document waivers      in students'       files.
                                - Teacher Files.                 Teacher files       are reviewed
                  periodically         by DOD personnel           during their       employment.         Teacher
                  records are screened prior                to hiring        and prior     to reassignment         to
                  positions     within       the DoDDS in order to ensure that teachers                         meet
                  the requirements           to teach specific            subjects     and/or grade levels
                  to which they are assigned.                   While employed with the DoDDS, the
                  teacher official           personnel      files      are maintained        by civilian
                  personnel     offices        of the various         Military      Departments.
                  Apparently,        these official         personnel        files   were not as complete
                  as they could be.             The GAO drd report,              however, that the file
                  management deficiency             had not resulted             in any teachers       being
                  improperly       assigned to sublects              and/or grade levels          for which
                  they were unqualified.               By April        15, 1990, the Assistant
                  Secretary     of Defense for Force Management and Personnel                            will
                  issue a memorandum to all Military                      Departments      requesting        that
                  they initiate          appropriate       action to ensure that official
                  personnel      files     of teachers         include     Standard Form 171s and
                  college/university            transcripts         as evidence      that teachers        meet DOD
                  requirements         to teach the subjects              and/or grade levels          to which
                  they are assigned.
                  RECOMMENDATION3: The GAO recommended that the Secretary                      of
                  Defense require      the Office    of Dependents Schools to ensure that
                  advisory  committees     are provided     the opportunity        to review and
                  advise school principals        on school policy       issues--specifically
                  including  curricula     and budgets--by      requiring     the committees      to
                  document that they have been given that opportunity                   and are aware
                  that they can elevate       unresolved    concerns to school system
Now on pp 23-24   management above the principal         level.     (p. 30/GAO Draft Report)
                  DOD Response:      Concur.       The Director,    DoDDS, will   revise      school
                  advisory    committee guidelines        to have school advisory        committee
                  chairpersons    certify     that the committee has been informed that
                  they have the opportunity           to advise on policy    issues,     including
                  curriculum    and budgets,       and that they can elevate      unresolved
                  concerns to school system management above the principal                    level.
                  School advisory       committee guidelines       will be revised     to include
                  this provislon      for certification       in the 1990-1991 school year.



                                                                                                                   -



                          Pagr 41                                                    GAO/HRD90-13     DOD Overseas      Schools
Appendix   IV

Major Contributors to This Report


                  Joseph J. Eglin, Jr., Assistant Director, (202).245-9623
Human Resources   William A. Schmidt. Assignment Manager
Division,         Wayne M. Dow, Operations Research Analyst
Washington D.C.

                  Elliott C. Smith, Evaluator-in-Charge
Far East Office   Darryl L. Lee, Site Senior
                  Elizabeth M. Guran, Evaluator
                  Linda K. Willard, Evaluator


                  Kurt W. Kcrshow, Site Senior
European Office   Kirk R. Boyer, Eval~lato~




                  Page 42                                      GAO/HKDYO-I3   DOD CNerseas Schools
                               Appendix III
                               C’ommmts From the Depart mrnt of Defense




                                                                                                                            7

                        facilities     at 30 schools with problems identified        by the
                        accrediting     association  indicated   that the association      did not
                        consider     most of the problems serious     enough to detract      from the
                        quality     of education.   The GAO further    found that the DOD had
Now on pp 5 and 26-27   corrected     over 70 percent of the reported      problems.     (P. 6, PP.
                        33-35/GAO Draft Report1
                        DOD Response:       concur.    The DoDDS has attempted           to correct,       as
                        soon as possible,       any deficiencies      that might detract         from the
                        quality    of education.      Unfortunately,       there are still       some
                        instances    where the DoDDS has not been able to provide                  totally
                        adequate facilities,        due to inadequate        resources,    unforeseen
                        changes in student enrollments,            and time constraints        involved       in
                        completing    major/minor     construction      projects     overseas.
                                                              RECOMMENDATIONS
                        RECOMMENDATION1: The GAO recommended that,             in addition    to
                        standardized    test scores,     the Secretary   of Defense require      the
                        Office    of Dependents Schools to use other measures of education
                        quality    to assess its schools--such       as (1) attendance,    promotion,
                        and drop-out    rates;    (2) the ranyes of courses students       take; and
                         (3) how successful     students    are in meeting college    entrance
Now on p 20             requirements.       (p. 25lGAQ Draft Report)
                        DOD Response:           concur.          In addition     to standardized       test scores,
                        the Office       of Dependents Schools will                 use additional        measures of
                        educational         quality       to assess its schools.             In its next annual
                        assessment report,             the Offlce        of Dependents Schools will            provide
                        additional        information          to the Congress on measures of educational
                        quality     such as (1) attendance                 rates and (2) enrollments           in and
                        types of courses offered.                     Specific   additional     measures are
                        currently       being      identified.          On January 25, 1989, the Deputy
                        Secretary       of Defense requested               that the DoDDS be included            in the
                        U.S. Department of Education's                     State Education      Performance        Chart.
                        Representatives            of the Office         of Dependents Schools provided
                        additional        information          on this request        to representatives         of the
                        Office     of Planning         and Evaluation          Services     and the National
                        Center for Education                Statistics       and are presently       waiting     for a
                        final     decision      as to whether the DoDDS will                 be included     in the
                        Chart.
                        RECOMMENDATION2: The GAO recommended that the Secretary                    of
                        Defense require      the Office     of Dependents Schools to ensure the
                        implementation      of procedures      that require     (1) school principals
                        to document in a student        file     the rationale     for each exception
                        granted to minimum graduation            requirements    and (2) teacher     files
                        to include     all documents needed to demonstrate             they meet DOD
Nowonp    20            requirements      to teach their      subjects    and grade levels.      (p. 25/
                        GAO Draft Report)




                                page40                                                     GAO/HRD-9013 DOD 0wrsea.s Schools
                                  Appendix III
                                  Comments From the Department         of Defense




                                                                                                                               5

                          members in critiquing       curriculum     and budget matters     to a tendency
                          by principals     to discourage      committee discussions    of these
                          matters--and     a lack of awareness by members that they had
                          authority     to address such issues.        The GAO further    reported      that
                          representatives      of 8 of the 18 school advisory        committees      it
                          interviewed     were unaware of the formal process for elevating
                          concerns that could not be resolved           with school principals.           The
                          GAO did acknowledge      that the DOD has initiated        several    actions      to
Now on pp 4-5 and 21-24   improve communications       within    the school community.        (P. 5, PP.
                          26-27,    p. 29/GAO Draft    Report)
                          DOD Response:           Partially        Concur.        The DOD concurs that parents
                          often perceive          that they lack influence                  in the schooling           provided
                          their    children       overseas.          The DOD has initiated               efforts     to
                          increase      communications            between school personnel                and members of
                          the communities           which they serve.               In the previously-cited               school
                          report     card, parents           indicated        that communications             between
                          schools and parents had improved during the period of the GAO
                          review.       The DOD has established                  school advisory          committees
                          at each school and installation                       where the DOD operates              schools
                          overseas.         The composition            of these committees             is outlined        in
                          statute      (i.e.,      Section      1410 of Public Law 95-561 (1978),
                          20 U.S.C. cj 928) and their                  functions       clearly      include      providing
                          advice to school principals                    on all aspects of school operations,
                          including        school curriculum             and budgets.          Training       for school
                          advisory       committee members has been conducted and school prin-
                          cipals     are required         to consult          with their       advisory       committees       on
                          all aspects of school operations.                         School advisory           committee
                          audio visual         training        materials        were prepared by the DoDDS and
                          are being used in ongoing school advisory                            committee training
                          efforts.        These materials            identify       school curriculum            and budget
                          as appropriate           issues for discussion               at committee meetings and
                          include     an overview         of the DOD procedures                to elevate        unresolved
                          issues.        The effectiveness             of these training            tapes and related
                          materials       was evaluated           by surveying         all school advisory
                          committees at the end of school year 1988-89.                                The Defense
                          Manpower Data Center analyzed                     the school advisory             committee
                          responses to the survey and reported                         that these materials             were
                          effective.          Where school advisory               committees        perceive      that they
                          are unable to influence                 school policy,          these DOD procedures
                          provide      for review by DoDDS management and advisory                              committees at
                          successively         higher      levels      within     the DOD. At the end of each
                          school year, school advisory                     committees are expected to submit an
                          annual report          of their       activities        and DoDDS management officials
                          review these reports               to ensure that the advice of school advisory
                          committees on all aspects of school operations                               has been carefully
                          considered.          In these reports,              "curriculum"        is consistently
                          mentioned as an item the Committees have discussed                                  even though
                          the school curriculum                was given very high ratings                  by parents       in
                          the DoDDS school report                 card.




                                                                                                                                        -   1

                                   Page 38                                                       GAO/HRD-90-13     DOD Overseas     Schools
                                                                                                                   3

                        In addition        to those methods and measures outlined              in the
                        Findings,       (1) a "parent      report    card" has been initiated         and
                         (2) participation        in the Department of Education's             "Wall Chart"
                        which compares educational             performance     data among the various
                        States has been requested,             and (3) the kind of school/student
                        performance        data suggested in this finding             is being collected.
                        The parent report         card is a survey among parents that asks for
                        their     opinion    of school effectiveness          overall    and in several
                        specific      areas.     System-wide      and local    school survey findings
                        were published         in each school community and are being used
                        extensively        by school management in the development               of local
                        school improvement plans.              In its annual assessment report,           the
                        DoDDS has primarily          provided     information     on student achievement,
                        because that information             is traditionally      reported    by school
                        districts       in the United States.
                        FINDING D: The DOD Needs Better Procedures                  To Document That
                        Students Meet Graduation           Requirements.       The GAO reported             that a
                        review of the transcripts           for all students,       who graduated             from
                        the Korea district        in 1988, as well as samples of those who
                        graduated    from the Frankfurt         and Philippines        districts,         indicated
                        that all but 1 of 96 students             from the Frankfurt          district       met
                        minimum graduation        requirements;       however, 25 percent of the 1988
                        DOD high school graduates           in Korea and 10 percent of the
                        graduates    in the Philippines         did not meet the DOD minimum
                        graduation     requirements.        The GAO explained        that a school
                        principal   can grant waivers or permit students                  to substitute
                        elective   courses for required           courses,   thus qualifying            a student
                        for graduation.        The GAO found, however, that the student                       file
                        often lacked documentation            to support the rationale              for the
                        waiver actions.        The GAO commented that,          while the exceptions               may
                        have been justified,          in the absence of documentation                 supporting
                        the waivers      or substitutions,       parents and DOD management have no
                        assurance that the exceptions            were justified        and in the students'
NW on pp 17 18 and 19   best interests.        (p. 4, pp. 21-22, pp. 24-25/GAO Draft Report)
20
                        DOD Response:           Partially      Concur.      The DOD concurs with the GAO
                        observation        that the absence of documentation               for waivers      in
                        student      files    limits      management's ability       to ensure that such
                        waivers      are in the best interest             of students.       The GAO reported
                        that students         graduated      from the DOD schools in Korea and the
                        Philippines,         after    having completed required           and elective      courses
                        which were evaluated              as meeting DODDS graduation           requirements      by
                        the school principals.               These principals'       actions     were authorized
                        by the DoD policy            guidance,     which is intended       to ensure that
                        school programs meet the individual                    needs of students.        For
                        example, in Korea the GAO report                  indicates    that a large number of
                        graduates        had remedial       English     as one of their      required    language
                        arts courses.           These language arts courses were appropriate                   to
                        the individual          needs of students         and were appropriately         used to
                        satisfy      the DOD graduation           requirements.




                                I’agr   36                                               GAO,‘HRD-90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                               Appendix III
                               Comments From the Department          of Defense




                                          GAO DRAFT REPORT - DATED DECEMBER8, 1989
                                             (GAO CODE 104617) - OSD CASE 7807-A
                                          "DOD OVERSEAS SCHOOLS: BETTER ASSURANCES OF
                                                  EDUCATIONAL QUALITY NEEDED"
                                                 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS
                                                                 *     l   *    *   t


                                                                 FINDINGS

                        FINDING A: Background:                  DOD Overseas School System.               The GAO
                        reported      that the DOD overseas school system was established                          by
                        the Defense Dependents Education                    Act of 1978 to provide          high
                        quality     elementary           and secondary education           to dependent children
                        of military          and civilian       personnel      in overseas areas.          According
                        to the GAO, the Department                  funds and operates         271 schools--which
                        enroll    151,000 students.               The GAO observed that the Department
                        budgeted $665 million                in FY 1987, and $755 million            in FY 1988,
                        for the operation              of the overseas school system.               The GAO
                        explained       that the DOD school system employs more than 13,000
                        employees,        of    which 9,500 are teachers.               The GAO noted that the
                        system performs most of its own budget,                        supply,    and teacher
                        recruitment          activities,       although     it relies      on the Military
                        Departments          for some logistical,           financial,       and personnel     support
                        on a reimbursable              basis.     The GAO testified          on October 5, 1988,
                        before the Subcommittee                on Military       Personnel     and Compensation,
                        House Armed Services               Committee,      on the DOD school system.             The
Now on p 2 and pp 8-9   current     report        expands on that testimony.             L/     (PP. l-2,
                        PP. 12-13/GAO Draft Report)
                        DOD Response:         Concur.
                        FINDING B: How the DOD Assesses                        Its Schools.        The GAO reported
                        that the DOD assesses the quality                        of education      provided  to its
                        students in the following ways:
                               School accreditation:             The DOD contracts  with the North
                               Central   Association         of Schools and Colleges    which conducts
                               periodic   accreditation          reviews to ensure that the schools
                               provide   educational         programs of high quality    for all
                               students.
                               Curriculum     review and development:     The DOD uses a 7-year
                               curriculum     development  cycle to keep current   with the
                               latest    trends in education    and ensure the appropriateness                           of
                               its programs.

                        L/     GAO/T-HRD-89-1,   "GAO Testimony on Overseas                         Department of
                               Defense Dependents Schools,"    Dated October                        5, 1988, (OSD
                               Case 7807)




                                Page 34                                                         GAO/HRD-90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
Appendix   III

Comments From the Department of Defense




                                          ASSISTANT   SECRETARY      OF DEFENSE

                                                WASCIINCTON   Dc   201014000

                                                      0 8 FEE 1993




                 MI. Franklin    Frazier
                 Director    of Education  and
                    Employment Issues
                 Human Resources Division
                 U.S. General Accounting     Office
                 Washington,    D.C. 20548
                 Dear Mr. Frazier:
                       This is the Department of Defense (DOD) response to the
                 General Accounting  Office  (GAO) Draft Report,    "DOD OVERSEAS
                 SCHOOLS: Better Assurances    of Educational   Quality  Needed," dated
                 December 8, 1989, (GAO Code 104617, OSD Case 7807-A).       The DOD
                 generally  concurs with the findings   and recommendations.
                         The DoD recognizes           the importance       of the GAO findings        and
                 recommendations         and appreciates        the assistance       that the GAO has
                 provided      to the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS).
                 In noting       the need for additional           measures of quality         in
                 education,        the GAO has acknowledged            that DoDDS students        perform
                 above the national          averages on standardized            achievement      tests and
                 on the Scholastic         Aptitude      Tests.     The DOD would add that the
                 most recent report          of Scholastic        Aptitude    Test data shows that
                 60 percent of the DoDDS seniors                took the tests,        placing    the DoDDS
                 in the top 10 in the ranking               of States in the Nation in
                 percentage        of students      tested.     In relation      to those high
                 participation        States,     the DoDDS ranked third           in mathematics       and
                 second in verbal         skills.
                         The DOD concurs with the GAO recommendations                   that the
                 DoDDS provide       parents and school system management with
                 additional     indicators       that their      schools are providing          students a
                 high quality      education.         To meet this need, in January 1989, the
                 Deputy Secretary        of Defense requested           that the Secretary         of
                 Education    include      the DoDDS on the State Education               Performance
                 Chart, which includes           several      measures of student performance.
                 The DoDDS has provided            the Department of Education            staff    with
                 data and other information              the Department requires          to decide the
                 feasibility      of including        the DoDDS in the Chart.           In the mean-
                 time, the DOD will          pursue the objective          of reporting      additional
                 indicators     of educational          quality.
                       The most noteworthy  effort            to provide  additional   indicators
                 of quality  during the past year             has been the "Parent Report
                 Card," a survey mailed to every              parent with a child    in the DoDDS,
                                                                                                              J



                    page32                                                     GAO/HRD-BO-13DODOv~neasSchools
                                 Appendix II
                                 Scope and Method&@




                                 in analyzing teacher files to ascertain, among other things, evidence of
                                 education, training, and certification. The districts included in our
                                 review, the teacher universes in each district at the time of our review,
                                 and the sample size of the teacher files reviewed are shown in table 11.2.

Table 11.2:Teacher   Universes
                                                                                 Universe of
                                 Germany region                                     teachers           Sample size
                                 Frankfurt dlstmt                                         595                  100
                                 Pacific Region
                                 Korea district                                           60                       60
                                 Phlllppmes dlstrlct                                     279                       65
                                 T&al                                                    934                      225


                                 Because our work in Korea was limited to the two small schools and two
                                 unit schools, we reviewed all of the teachers’ files. We randomly sam-
                                 pled the universe of teachers’ files at the Frankfurt and Philippines dis-
                                 tricts using a computer-generated list of random numbers. Our
                                 Frankfurt district sample consisted of 19 of the 23 schools in the district
                                 because the DOD Germany region inadvertently       excluded 4 schools from
                                 the list of full-time teachers. The universe from which our sample was
                                 selected covers 83 percent of the schools and 85 percent of the full-time
                                 teachers.

                                 We used the results of our review of student and teacher records to esti-
                                 mate for each district the percentage of students not meeting graduation
                                 requirements and the percentage of incomplete teacher files. Because
                                 our estimates for Frankfurt and the Philippines districts are based on
                                 samples, each estimate has a sampling error associated with it. The sam-
                                 pling error for each estimate is at the 95-percent confidence level.

                                 To address DOD’S responsiveness to parental concerns, we interviewed 18
                                 groups of parents and teachers who are members of the school advisory
                                 committees for the schools visited to obtain their views and concerns on
                                 the effectiveness of the committees. Although this was not a statistically
                                 representative sample, their remarks are examples of the views and con-
                                 cerns of parent and teacher school advisory committee members in these
                                 locations. We also met with military installation commanders or their
                                 representatives and local school officials to discuss their views on the
                                 committees’ effectiveness. We reviewed the minutes of school and instal-
                                 lation advisory committee meetings to determine the issues discussed
                                 and attendance at committee meetings.



                                 Page 30                                      GAO/HRD90-13      DOD Overseas   Schools
Appendix   I

Office of Dependents Schools:Schoolsand
l3nrollments by Region

                                                                 Number        Number      Enrollment as
                                      Responsibility  by                  of          of   of September
               Region/location        country                    districts     schools               1980
               Atlanttc               Unrted Krngdom,                      4         42             16,187
               (Eastcote, England)    Norway, Bermuda,
                                      Iceland, Cuba, Belgrum,
                                      Netherlands, Canada
                                      (tncludtng
                                      Newfoundland), and
                                      West Indies
               Germany                West Germany                        8         141            87,861
               (Wtesbaden, Germany)
               Medrterranean          Spatn, Greece, Turkey,              3          35            13,296
               (Madnd, Spatn)         Bahratn, Italy, and
                                      Portugal (rncludtng
                                      Azores)
               Pacrfrc                Japan, Oktnawa, Korea,              4          41            27,702
               (Oktnawa. Japan)       and the Philippines
                                                    __~.        ..--~~
               Panama                 Panama                              0          12             6,058
               (Albrook Atr Force
               Statton, Panama)
               Total                                                     19         271           151,184




               Page 28                                             GAO/HRD9013      DOD Overseas Schools
                         Chapter 4
                         DOD Has Been Responsive to Substance
                         Abuse and Facilities Problems




                         The Germany region also implemented the “Together” program, includ-
                         ing “Choosing for Yourself,” by arranging training for teams of teachers,
                         counselors, nurses, and principals. For example, during school year
                          1985-86, the developers of the “Together” program trained teams from
                         all of the region’s junior and senior high schools.

                         While the Germany region was not selected for initial implementation of
                         “Here’s Looking at You, 2000,” it is piloting “Drug Abuse Resistance
                         Education” (DARE) in the fifth and sixth grades. DARE is widely used in
                         I J.S. school systems and was developed by the Los Angeles Police
                         Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The program
                         uses law enforcement personnel to instruct students on how to resist
                         peer pressure to use drugs, exploring ways to say “no” when confronted
                         or encouraged to use drugs, and practicing appropriate decision-making
                         skills. Thirteen Germany region schools completed the pilot program in
                         school year 1987-88. As a result of the pilot’s success, DOI)extended DAMS
                         to 42 additional Germany region schools and 14 Atlantic region schools
                         in 1988-89. DOD plans to implement D.~KEin all its schools by school year
                          1990-1991. if funds are available.


                         Our review of NCA’Sevaluations of school facilities and our observation
Most School Facilities   of the facilities showed that I)ODgenerally corrects problems brought to
Problems Were            its attention.
Corrected                We visited 30 schools with facilities problems identified by the accredit-
                         ing agency-22     in the Korea. Okinawa, and Philippines districts and 8 in
                         the Frankfurt district. Of the 30 schools, 29 met the NM’s facilities stan-
                         dards in spite of the noted problems. One failed because the problems,
                         including inadequate cafeteria and physical education facilities, were
                         considered by NCA to be serious enough to detract from the quality of
                         education. IIOD is taking actions to correct these problems

                         The types of problems identified at the 29 schools that met the stan-
                         dards included unattractive landscaping, limited storage space, leaky
                         roofs, and inadequate emergency lighting. During our school visits, we
                         determined if DOD had taken actions to correct the facilities problems
                         noted in the reports.

                         DOD had corrected all the identified problems at 13 of the 30 schools and
                         over one-half of those at the remaining 17 schools. The following tables
                         show, by district, the number of schools with facilities problems and the
                         member of their problrms corrected and uncorrected. (See t,able 4.1,)


                         Page 26                                     GAO/HRD-SO-13   DOD Overseas Schools
                      Chapter 3
                      Advisory Committees   Can Be More Effective




                      given that opportunity  and are aware that they can elevate unresolved
                      concerns to school system management above the principal level.


                      DODagreed with our recommendation. It noted that the Office of Depen-
Agency Comments and   dents Schools plans to issue guidelines before the 1990-91 school year
Our Evaluation        requiring the committees to document that they have been informed
                      that they have the opportunity to review and advise on school policy
                      issues, and that they are aware of the formal complaint process. (See p.
                      41.)




                      Page 24                                       GAO/HRD-90.13   DOD Overseas   Schools
    Chapter 3
    Advisory Committees   Can Be Mom Effective




    school year 1987-88, only 2 of the 37 advisory committees for schools in
    the Frankfurt, Philippines, and Korea districts made recommendations
    or advised school principals on budget matters. In addition, committee
    members we spoke with had concerns that were not resolved with
    school principals, but they did not raise them in writing to higher levels.

    Among the reasons cited by advisory committee members for their lim-
    ited involvement in critiquing curricula and budget matters were (1) a
    tendency by principals to discourage committee discussions of such mat-
    ters and (2) a lack of awareness by members that they had the authority
    to address curricula and budgets. Representatives from 8 of the 18
    school advisory committees we interviewed said they were unaware of
    the formal process whereby they can express in writing their concerns,
    which they have been unable to resolve with school principals, and ele-
    vate them to higher 1~~1s in the school system for consideration and
    resolution.

    DOD has initiated several actions intended to improve communications
    with the school community, including:

. Requiring regional directors to conduct regular meetings with the lead-
  ership of parent, teacher, and student associations in their regions.
l Disseminating audiovisual training materials that describe committee
  responsibilities  and the process for elevating concerns to schools for
  advisory committee members.
. Requiring district superintendents to meet annually with parent and
  military representatives from each school and command in their district.
. Requiring the Office of Dependents Schools to establish community
  panels-consisting     of parents, teachers, military command representa-
  tives, and administrators-to      provide advice and participate in inter-
  viewing and selecting superintendents and principals.

    In addition, after our October 5, 1988, testimony, in which we stated
    that military commanders or their representatives often failed to attend
    required installation advisory committee meetings, the Secretary of
    Defense reemphasized the need for commanders or their representatives
    to attend and participate in these meetings.




    Page 22                                      GAO/HRD90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                          Chapter 2
                          Additional Assurances   of Educational
                          Quality Needed




 -
                          files contain current and complete documentation that students meet
                          graduation requirements and teachers are qualified.


                          We recommend that the Secretary of Defense require the Office of
Recommendations           Dependents Schools to:

                      l Use, in addition to standardized test scores, other measures of education
                        quality to assess its schools, such as attendance, promotion, and drop-
                        out rates; the ranges of courses students take; and how successful stu-
                        dents are in meeting college entrance requirements.
                      . Ensure that procedures are implemented requiring school principals to
                        document in students’ files the rationale for each exception granted to
                        minimum graduation requirements.

                          We also recommend i hat the Secretary of Defense ensure that teachers’
                          files include all documents needed to demonstrate that they meet DOI)
                          requirements to teach their subjects and grade levels.


                          DOD  agreed with our recommendations and noted that it plans to (1)
Agency Comments and       include such other quality measures as attendance rates and types of
Our Evaluation            courses offered in its next annual report to the Congress, (2) send a
                          reminder to principals that they are required to document all waivers of
                          graduation requirements, and (3) request the military departments to
                          ensure that personnel files contain evidence that teachers meet r)or)
                          teaching requiremtants (See pp. 40-41.)




                          Page 20                                   GAO/HRD-9s19   DOD Overseas   Schools
                                           Chapter 2
                                           Additional Assurances   of Educational
                                           Quality Needed




                                           allowed to substitute remedial English courses for the required language
                                           arts (English, reading, speech, and journalism) courses, and others were
                                           allowed to substitute foreign language courses, which are electives, for
                                           the required courses in such subjects as art, music, humanities, drama,
                                           and dance. In two cases, students were permitted to graduate after they
                                           were inadvertently   granted full credit for partially completed required
                                           courses.

                                           According to school principals, in most cases they granted waivers from
                                           or substitutions for the graduation requirements because they believed
                                           graduation was in the best interest of these students. While these excep-
                                           tions may have been justified, the files contained no documentation of
                                           the rationale for the actions. Documentation for the exceptions would
                                           provide management and parents better assurance that students were
                                           granted proper waivers of minimum graduation requirements.


Documentation Missing on                   Our review of a sample of 225 teachers’ files showed that the files fre-
                                           quently lacked documentation that teachers were fully qualified. As
Some Teachers’                             shown in table 2.1, official college transcripts and complete federal
Qualifications                             employment applications were frequently missing.

Table 2.1: Documentation  of Teacher
Employment Qualifications   in Personnel                                                              Percentage     of files missing
Files                                                                                                                               Complete
                                                                                         Files       Official                    employment
                                           District                                 reviewed      transcript                      application
                                           Frankfurt                                       100              58                              48
                                           Korea                                             60            100                              27
                                           Ph~lbppmes                                       6i             83                               40



                                            Federal personnel regulations require DOD to maintain official records
                                            documenting employees’ qualifications and employment history and
                                            specify that the official personnel folders be maintained by the appro-
                                            priate civilian personnel office-usually   a centralized office servicing a
                                            military installation. Among the required documents are an official col-
                                            lege transcript and a caomplete federal employment application with evi-
                                            dence that the application has been reviewed in determining that the
                                            applicant has the ncc~ssary experience.

                                            The reason most often cited by school and personnel office officials for
                                            the missing documentation was delays in receiving employment docu-
                                            mentation for newly llired or recently transferred teachers.



                                            Page 18                                                  GAO/HRD-90-13     DOD Overseas    Srhools
                                          Chapter 2
                                          Additional Assurances    of Educational
                                          Quality Needed




Figure 2.4: DOD Students’ ACT Scores
Are Above Average (School Year 1987-88)
                                          25   Score

                                          24

                                          23

                                          22




                                          16



                                                English              Math           Social Studies         Natural Science      Reading

                                                Subject

                                                u         Nation
                                                          Dal


                                          DODis required to annually assess and report to the Congress its per-
DOD Should Report                         formance in providing a high-quality education to its students. DOD cur-
More Measures of                          rently meets the requirement by reporting student test scores on CTBS.
                                          S.4T, and ACT. While I)OI) students have scored well on these tests, the test
Educational Quality                       scores alone do not provide a comprehensive measure of educational
                                          quality. For example. military personnel are reassigned frequently dur-
                                          ing their careers, and the test scores of their children who attend DOD
                                          schools can be expcct,ed to reflect, in part, the education they received in
                                          other school systems.

                                           In a 1988 report on improving school system accountability,    the Depart-
                                           ment of Education recommended that school systems supplement the
                                           results of student test scores with other indicators to better assess
                                           school effectiveness.’ These indicators would include information on (1)
                                           the courses students take; (2) attendance, promotion and dropout rates;
                                           (3) proportions of students meeting college and university entrance




                                           Page 16                                                   GAO/HRD-90.13     WD    Overseas   Schools
                                            Chapter 2
                                            Additional Assurances        of Educational
                                            Quality Needed




Figure 2.2: DOD Students in Grades 7-11
Score Well on Achievement   Tests (School
                                            60    Percentile
Year 1987-88)




                                            65




                                                  Grade 7                  Grade 8        Grade g        Grade 10           Grade 11

                                                  u            Reading
                                                  m            LanguageArts
                                                               Math




                                            SAT  and ACT are used to help predict high-school students’ success in col-
                                            lege. SAT measures verbal and mathematical abilities, and is used by
                                            many colleges and universities to assess students for admission. The
                                            scores on each test are reported separately on a scale of 200-800 points.
                                            ~\CT tests students in five academic areas: English, mathematics,  social
                                            studies, reading, and natural science. i\CT scores are reported on a scale
                                            from 1 to 36 points.

                                             nor) students scored higher than the national average on the verbal sec-
                                             tion of the SAT for school years 1985 through 1988. (See fig. 2.3.) In the
                                             math section of the test, eon students’ scores varied, from higher than
                                             the national average in the 1985 school year to slightly below the
                                             national average in school year 1987, and again above the national aver-
                                             age in 1988.




                                             Page 14                                                GAO/HRD90-13    DOD Overseas Schools
                      ____---        ~-                                                              -.__-     .~__-
                                      Chapter 2
                                      Additional Assurances   of Educational
                                      Quality Needed




                                      identify and consider teacher concerns. They evaluate the effectiveness
                                      of the curricula in the sixth and seventh years.

                                .~                                                                           .--       .~
Student Performance     on            not) students participate in the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills
                                      (CTIM), a nationally rec@nized standardized achievement test, and t hc
Standardized Tests                    Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (;\(‘.I‘) pro-
                                      gram aptitude tests.

                                      The ~1‘~s assesses student proficiency in five curricula areas: reading,
                                      mathematics, languag(t arts, social studies, and science. The results arc
                                      used to identify student strengths and weaknesses and improve instrllc’-
                                      tional programs. The scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 99 with t ht,
                                      national median--th(> point above which one-half and below wlric+ on+
                                      half of all students taking the test scores-being   the 50th percentilr.

                                      During school year 1X37-88, DODadministered the YIW to more than
                                      117,000 students in grades 1 through 11, although IXJDstudent,s do not
                                      participate in t.he social studies and science exams until grade 7. As
                                      shown in figures 2. I and 2.2, r)oo students scored highrr than thr, 50th
                                      percentile in all curric,ldum areas at all grade levels.




                                          Paye 12                                  GAO,‘HRD-90-13   DOD Ovrrsras   Schools
                             Chapter 1
                             Introduction




                             advises the principal on school policies and programs. At each military
                             installation, the advisory committee raises school-level concerns regard-
                             ing administrative   and logistical matters to the installation commander.


                             In response to the House Armed Services Committee report accompany-
Objectives, Scope, and       ing the 1989 National Defense Authorization   Act that requested our
Methodology                  study, and subsequent discussions with its office, our objectives were to
                             determine

                         l the adequacy of information used by WD to assess the quality of educa-
                           tion provided by the DOD schools, including such indicators as school
                           accreditation, curricula, achievement and aptitude test scores, gradua-
                           tion requirements and rates, and teacher qualifications:
                         l the responsiveness of the school system to parental concerns;
                         . the status of drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs; and
                         . the physical condition of school facilities.

                             We performed work at the Office of Dependents’ Schools headquarters
                             in Alexandria, Virginia, and at its Germany and Pacific regions. We
                             focused our efforts on these two regions because (1) they include 67 per-
                             cent of the schools and 76 percent of the students in the system, and (2)
                             the concerns that led to the Committee’s interest were first raised by
                             parents in the Pacific Region.

                             We obtained information and interviewed officials at the Philippines and
                             Korea districts in the Pacific region, the Frankfurt district in the Ger-
                             many region, and at 33 selected schools in these three districts. In the
                             Pacific Region, we also observed the physical condition of school facili-
                             ties in the Okinawa district.

                             We interviewed the military commanders and other supporting military
                             personnel at installations served by the schools and parent and teacher
                             members of school advisory committees. We also reviewed teacher and
                             student records at the installations and schools we visited. Appendix II
                             provides more detail on our scope and methodology.

                              Our work was conducted between July 1988 and May 1989 in accord-
                              ance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




                              Page 10                                    GAO/HRD-90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
Chapter 1

Introduction


               The Department of Defense (DOD) funds and operates 271 schools for the
               education of military and civilian dependents located overseas. DOD'S
               budgets for operating and maintaining these schools-which       enroll
               about 151,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12-was $665
               million in fiscal year 1987 and $755 million in fiscal year 1988.

               In letters to the House Armed Services Committee and in hearings held
               by the Committee at military installations in the Pacific in November
               1987, parents expressed concerns about the quality of education pro-
               vided by the DODschools and the parents’ inability to have meaningful
               impact on the policies and operation of the schools. Subsequently, the
               Committee-in      its report accompanying the fiscal year 1989 National
               Defense Authorization      Act-directed  GAOto study the strengths and
               weaknesses of the schools.

               In October 5, 1988, testimony before the Subcommittee on Military Per-
               sonnel and Compensation, House Armed Services Committee, we pro-
               vided preliminary information on, among other things, the DODsystem's
               quality of education, teacher evaluation systems, and responsiveness to
               parental concerns.’ We reported that, in general, teachers were being
               certified and evaluated as required, and that drug and alcohol abuse
               programs were being implemented. However, we also reported that some
               students were graduating from high school without meeting DOD-estab-
               lished minimum graduation requirements, teachers’ qualifications files
               were often incomplete, and the system for responding to parental con-
               cerns may not be fully effective. This report expands on the testimony
               and includes the results of our subsequent work in Germany.


               The school system was established by the Defense Dependents Educa-
Background     tion Act of 1978 to provide a high-quality elementary and secondary
               education to dependent children of military and civilian personnel in
               overseas areas. The system is administered by DOD'SOffice of Depen-
               dents Schools through five regional offices and 19 districts (see fig. 1.1).




               ‘GAO Testimony   on Oversras Ik~partmcnt   of   Defense
                                                                     Dependents
                                                                             Schools (GAO/T-HKD-89-1,
                                                                                                   Ott       6,
               1988)




               Page 8                                                    GAO/HRD-W-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
Contents


Executive Summary                                                                                        2

Chapter 1                                                                                               8
Introduction              13wkground                                                                    8
                          Objectives. Swpc. wcl Ivlc~thodology                                         10

Chapter 2                                                                                              I1
Additional Assurances
of Educational Qua1it.y
Needed                    I)OD Needs lkttcr I’~~o~~durt~sto Document That St,udents                    17
                              Meet Graduatiotl lit~quircments and Ttwhers Arc
                              Qualifit~d
                          Conclusions                                                                  19
                          Recommendations                                                              20
                          Agency Comments ant1 Our Evaluation                                          20
                                                                    -
Chapter 3                                                                                              21
Advisory Committees       Advisory Committw Functions                                                  21
                          Committees’ Influence on Curricula and Budget Issues                         21
Can Be More Effective          Limited
                          Composition of School Advisory Committees                                    23
                          Conclusions                                                                  23
                          Recommendation                                                               23
                          Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                           24

Chapter 4                                                                                              25
DOD Has Been              Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Programs Ifave Been                        25
                              Implemented
Responsive to             Most School Facilities Problems Were Corrected                               26
Substance Abuse and
Facilities Problems
Appendixes                Appendix I: Office of Dependents Schools: Schools and                        28
                              Enrollments by Rc,gion
                          Appendix II: Scope and Methodology                                           29
                          Appendix III: Comments From the Department of Defense                        32
                          Appendix IV: Mz#r (‘ontributors to This Report                               42




                          Page 6                                    GAO/HRD-90-13   DOD Overseas   Schools
                          Executive   Summary




DOD Should Use            DOD'S  annual assessment of educational quality in its schools is based
                          primarily on these test scores. But standardized test scores alone are an
Additional Measures of
                          unreliable measure of the education quality provided by particular
School Effectiveness      schools. Such scores can be influenced by a variety of educational, socie-
                          tal, and other factors, and should be supplemented with indicators, such
                          as attendance rates, range of courses students take, and drop-out rates.
                          These additional measures would provide a better assessment of the
                          quality of the DOD system whose students are very transient and, thus,
                          may have test scores that are strongly influenced by their prior educa-
                          tional experiences in other school systems. (See pp. 16-17.)

                                                                                                   -
Some Principals Fail to   Twenty-five percent of the 1988 DOD high-school graduates in Korea and
Document Waivers of        10 percent of such graduates in the Philippines did not meet the DOD
                          minimum graduation requirements. School principals can grant waivers
Graduation Requirements   or permit students to substitute elective for required courses, and thus
                          qualify for graduation. However, students’ files often lacked evidence of
                          the reasons for these actions. Without documentation of the reasons for
                          the waivers or substitutions, parents and DOD management have no
                          assurance that the exceptions were justified and in the students’ best
                          interests. (See pp. 17- 18. )


Evidence Often Missing    Similarly, teachers’ files often lacked the documents required by DOD to
                          confirm that they are qualified to teach their grade levels and subjects.
That Teachers Are
                          For example, all of the teachers’ files in the Korea district, 58 percent of
Qualified                 those in Frankfurt, and 83 percent of those in the Philippines were miss-
                          ing official transcripts, and many files in the three districts were missing
                          official federal employment applications needed to verify qualifications.
                          (See pp. 18-19,)


Advisory Committees       Although UOL) has established required school advisory committees at
Often Lacked Influence    each school and installation GAO visited, the committees have seldom
                          exercised their statmory authority to advise school principals on curric-
                          ula and budget issues. Members of many of the advisory committees GAO
                          interviewed said that their influence on school operations was limited
                          because

                          school principals limited discussion of such matters at committee
                          meetings;
                          members were unaware that t.hcre was a mechanism for elevating
                          unresolved concerns to management above the local school level, such as
                          to district or rcgi(~nal offices; and


                          page4                                       GAO/HRDYO-I3DOD   Overseas Schools
Executive Summary


                     In 1988, the Departmc,nt, of Defense (DOD) spent about $755 million to
Purpose              operate 271 oversc’as schools attended by over 150,000 students who
                     arc’ dependents of milit,ary and DOD civilian personnel located overseas.
                     Although the system generally has well-qualified teachers and good
                     facilities, in recent ytlwrs parents have raised a variety of concerns
                     about the quality ot’ clducation provided to their children, and parents’
                     pcrceivcd lack of influcncc over school policies and operations. In
                     response, the House llrmed Services Committee directed GAO to study
                     the strengths and weaknesses of these schools.

                     GAO  was to determine ( 1) the adequacy of information used by DOD to
                     assess the quality of education provided by the DOD schools, (2) the
                     responsiveness of the system to parental concerns, (3) the status of drug
                     and alcohol abuse prevention efforts, and (4) the status of efforts to cor-
                     rect physical deficiencies in school facilities.


                     The DOD overseas school system was established to provide high-quality
Background           education to students from kindergarten through grade 12. To help
                     ensure that it meets its educational responsibilities, DOD is required by
                     law to:

                   . Assess the quality of education it provides to its students each year. It
                     does so principally by comparing the scores of its students with state-
                     side students on standardized achievement and college aptitude tests.
                   . Establish school advisory committees to provide a forum for communi-
                     cations between the school system and the many military communities it
                     serves. These committ,ees are comprised of equal numbers of parents
                     and teachers, and are established to advise and make recommendations
                     to school principals on school operations, particularly  curriculum and
                     budget matters.

                     GAO    studied DOD schools in the Pacific region, where parents’ concerns
                     initially surfaced, and the Germany region, which is the system’s larg-
                     est. Together, they contain two-thirds of the system’s 271 schools and
                     serve three-fourths of its students. Within these regions, GAO reviewed
                     33 schools in three dist.ricts--the  Philippines, Korea, and Frankfurt.


                     While DOD schools art’ accredited and their students tend to score well on
Results in Brief     standardized tests, MN) school management and parents should have
                     additional assurances that the schools are providing students with high-
                     quality education. These scores provide only one measure of education


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