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Large-Scale High School Reform Through School Improvement Networks: Exploring Possibilities for “Developmental Evaluation”


by Donald J. Peurach, Sarah Winchell Lenhoff & Joshua L. Glazer — 2016

Recognizing school improvement networks as a leading strategy for large-scale high school reform, this analysis explores developmental evaluation as an approach to examining school improvement networks as “learning systems” able to produce, use, and refine practical knowledge in large numbers of schools. Through a case study of one leading school improvement network (the New Tech Network), the analysis provides evidence of the potential power of developmental evaluation for generating formative feedback for network stakeholders regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their networks as distributed, collaborative learning systems. At the same time, it raises issues and questions to be addressed in advancing the practice of developmental evaluation, chief among them being constraints on stakeholders in leveraging feedback in productive ways.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 118 Number 13, 2016, p. 1-28
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 20622, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 6:51:04 PM

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About the Author
  • Donald Peurach
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    DONALD J. PEURACH is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on large-scale, network-based improvement initiatives. He is the author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011, Oxford University Press) and a co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press). With Joshua L. Glazer and Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, his most recent publication is “The Developmental Evaluation of School Improvement Networks” (Educational Policy).
  • Sarah Lenhoff
    Wayne State University
    E-mail Author
    SARAH WINCHELL LENHOFF is an Assistant Professor of educational leadership and policy studies in the College of Education at Wayne State University. Her research focuses on instructional improvement, externally supported school reform, and the intersections between accountability policy and practice. She has published numerous policy reports with The Education Trust-Midwest, including Accountability for All: The Need for Real Charter School Authorizer Accountability in Michigan and Michigan Achieves: Becoming a Top Ten Education State. With Donald J. Peurach and Joshua L. Glazer, she has also co-authored a series of articles on the developmental evaluation of school improvement networks. Lenhoff started her career as a middle school teacher in New York City Public Schools.
  • Joshua Glazer
    George Washington University
    E-mail Author
    JOSHUA L. GLAZER is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University. His research focuses on the design and implementation of school improvement networks, education reform initiatives for schools serving high-poverty communities, and the structure and function of the education profession. He is currently directing a four-year study of the Tennessee Achievement School District and a three-year study of research practice partnerships in New York City and Baltimore. With Donald J. Peurach, his most recent article, published in the Harvard Educational Review, uses the concept of “epistemic communities” to examine occupational control in education.
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