The introduction of the National Philosophy of Education in 2000 in Malaysia resulted in rapid developments in education that called for fresh school effectiveness Research. This research will synthesize current and key characteristics of school effectiveness as well as a current definition of an effective school. The pilot sample consisted of principals from private secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur. The research sample consisted of 120 respondents consisting principals, heads of department and teachers from 40 national secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur. The selection was by random stratified sampling with pre-set criteria. The response rate was 84%. The instrument used was a questionnaire triangulated by interviews with respondents from two randomly selected schools and a Federal Inspectorate of Schools official. The five current characteristics selected were effective teaching and learning, principals’ leadership skills, student self-discipline, good behavior among students and greater cooperation between principal and teacher and among teachers. Five main qualities of an effective principal were also synthesized. The five key characteristics of school effectiveness selected are: A principal who is strong, purposeful and involved; effective teaching and learning; greater cooperation between principal and teacher and among teachers; greater collegiality between principal and teacher and among teachers and effective parental involvement. 22 additional characteristics of school effectiveness were suggested. The definition of an effective school synthesized in this research had one descriptor in line with the National Philosophy of Education and other descriptors in line with the selected current and key characteristics of school effectiveness. The interview with the Inspectorate official indicated that currently majority of the national secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur were effective. The interview with the respondents from two schools indicated that their item responses had a significant (p<0.05) convergent validity, test-retest and parallel-form reliability in responses and that the definition of an effective school synthesized was reliable
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