The article provides a rationale for the focus on assessment for learning, that is to assist and improve performance, as opposed to the prevalent approach of assessment of learning, focused on time constrained summative judgments. In the article, we also discuss the likely changes wrought by new and unstable knowledge, technology, and global competition, in the light of democratic educational approaches.
This paper considers future educational assessment in terms of principles of evidential reasoning, focusing the discussion on the changes to the claims our assessments must support, the types of evidence needed to support these claims, and the statistical tools available to evaluate our evidence vis-à-vis the claims. An expanded view of assessment is advanced in which assessments based on multiple evidence sources from contextually rich situated learning environments, including unconventional data regarding human competencies, improve our ability to make valid inferences and decisions all education stakeholders.
Informal, out-of-school education encompasses a variety of programs existing alongside the founding and growth of public schools. This chapter explores the history of the institutionalization of informal, out-of-school education, including programs offered by religious institutions, social service organizations, cultural institutions, special interest organizations, the media and universities. Access to these programs is neither uniformly offered nor guaranteed, a situation that potentially exacerbates existent inequities.
This chapter aims to extend the repertoire of understandings about place and policy in place-based education with a focus on ideas of space, mobility, and belonging. The view provided by this extended perspective leads to the question: How does mobility challenge and provide new ways of thinking about place-based education.
This paper analyzes the political strategies of the early OECD stakeholders in transforming schooling from a cultural to a technological system. In doing so it focuses on the specific rhetoric these stakeholders used and how they were in need of standardizing different existing patterns of thoughts or institutional behaviors in the member countries.
The article analyzes the ideological and political context and mechanisms which have allowed OECD to become a major unchecked power in global educational policy making.
Epitomized by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the U.S. government’s Race to the Top, “accountability” is becoming a pervasive normalizing discourse, legitimizing historic shifts from viewing education as a social and cultural to an economic project engendering usable skills and “competences.” The purpose of this special issue is to provide context and perspective on these momentous shifts. The papers point to historic antecedents, highlight core ideas, and identify changes in the balance of power between domestic and global policy makers.
This paper uses data from a diverse California school district to examine a multi-year effort to make high-level middle school mathematics courses more inclusive by placing nearly every 8th grader in Algebra I.
Using social network analysis, critical policy studies, and literacy theory, this study analyzes the network of policy actors involved in the campaign to pass a charter school initiative in the state of Washington. This study finds that through a combination individual donations and the support to key local organizations provided by their affiliated philanthropic organizations, a small group of wealthy individuals leveraged a disproportionate amount of influence over the direction and outcome of the charter school initiative in the state of Washington, particularly relative to the average Washington voter.
This study examines whether students’ enrollment in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program improves their ACT composite scores, probability of high school graduation, and probability of college enrollment. Using data on the IB enrollment status of 20,422 students attending thirteen 13 CPS high schools from 2002-2008, I estimate that IB enrollment increases students’ ACT scores by as much as 0.5 standard deviations and their probability of high school graduation and college enrollment by as much as 17 and 22 percentage points, respectively. Though selection bias may contribute to overstating the estimates, the conclusion from the sensitivity analyses is that it is unlikely that this internal-validity challenge negates the principal finding.
Engagement can prevent struggling students from dropping out, and re-engagement in learning can help struggling students who have dropped out return to school and graduate. This chapter presents a case study about a struggling student who dropped out and then came to Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, became engaged in her learning, and graduated. The authors provide policy and practice recommendations as well as a discussion of factors that affect engagement.
This chapter details an alternative high school’s implementation of choice theory and its influence on relational practices and student experience. Student narratives speak of how the school practices that are informed by choice theory promote engagement through a deliberate focus on developmental needs.
This paper points out that the most popular current school reforms offered have failed to accomplish their goal because they fail to understand the fundamental problem of American schools, namely, income inequality and the poverty that accompanies such inequality. Prescriptions to fix our schools cannot work if the diagnosis about what is wrong with them is in error.
Analysis suggests that value-added modeling (VAM) is not reliable or valid for the purpose of identifying and replacing low-performing teachers and is not cost-effective for the purpose of raising student achievement.
This chapter argues for the importance of design-based leadership research (DBLR) for advancing the research and practice of educational leadership, with a focus on school district central offices. DBLR, like other design-based research, calls on researchers to develop designs for practice. Unlike other such research in education that calls for designs for classrooms, DBLR focuses on designs for leaders. Researchers working in this mode develop designs for leadership practice that reflect the latest knowledge about how leaders matter for improved student results; they work alongside leaders to use that knowledge to design and engage in new forms of their own practice consistent with the knowledge and appropriate to their settings. Participants study the process to feed new knowledge into the partnership sites and the field. This chapter elaborates how such research differs from traditional scholarship on district central offices and forms of action research. Challenges to conducting DBLR include focusing practitioners on central offices (especially in tough budget times), capturing central office practice in DBLR knowledge-building activities, and growing and sustaining the work. Early experience illuminates how to address those challenges and advance DBLR partnerships that promise to significantly strengthen leadership practice in support of improved results for all students.
This article, part of a special issue of TCR, considers the political dimensions of validity questions as raised by a keynote address and panel discussion originally held at Teachers College in March 2012.
This study addresses the question: How do educators describe their responses to standards-based reform? We draw on interview data from 60 teachers in 32 schools, in 10 districts in 5 states. Our analysis addresses the following key debates that surround standards and accountability policy: 1) the extent to which previously “left behind” students are receiving better instruction, 2) whether teachers and principals feel accountable to student achievement in a way that fosters positive behavior change, 3) how teachers describe “teaching to the test,” and when and if this is good or bad for teachers and students, and 4) the extent to which educators describe standards-based reforms as fostering desirable changes in pedagogy and/or the content of instruction.
Many attempts to reform teaching fail to be enacted in most classrooms. The purpose of this paper is to present a bridging methodology for connecting pedagogical innovations to the practical demands of teaching.
This paper addresses the still-contested understanding of the relationship between teaching and mandated accountability testing. Based on two years of fieldwork and grounded in the narrative inquiry tradition, this paper presents a fine-grained analysis of the influence testing has on teaching in one social studies teacher’s classroom. Contrary to the position that mandated testing breeds “multiple-choice teaching” and a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to social studies, this study finds that deep and authentic teaching and learning are not incommensurable with mandated testing.
This study examines the effect of school absences on student achievement using a unique, comprehensive dataset of elementary school students in a large urban district. All findings indicate statistically significant, negative relationships between absences and achievement. Indeed, as the models become increasingly rigorous in an effort to derive causality, the negative effect of absences becomes more pronounced.
This article considers three movements across the 20th century that sought to reform schools through standards, tests, and accountability, identifies similarities in the ways in which higher status epistemic communities have been repeatedly able to purvey technocratic logics that overwhelm a weakly professionalized educational field, and suggests that educators need to organize themselves into a stronger profession if they want to improve outcomes and free themselves from the whims of external actors.
This study examines the genesis of a neighborhood educational opportunity zone: a geographically defined area where a disproportionately large population of traditionally marginalized children and families are clustered and resources are intensely focused to respond to the concomitant needs. Guided by sociocultural learning theory, we examine how communities of practice influence the learning among the adults in a neighborhood educational opportunity zone.
This article presents a case study of teacher bargaining contracts over a 30-year historical period. Examining several areas of current interest, including salary schedules, transfer and assignment policies, teacher evaluation, dismissal, and working conditions, the analysis reveals very little change in more than three decades.
From 2000 to 2002, the state of California attempted to expand access to Advanced Placement subjects for students attending public schools. This study shows this intervention succeeded in expanding the AP curricula and enrollments at disadvantaged schools; however, schools serving affluent communities broadened their AP offerings at the same (if not faster) rate, resulting in effectively maintained inequalities in AP access.
As California’s accountability system places great emphasis on annual school improvement in Academic Performance Index (API) scores, this study investigates the within school effects of changes in student demographics and school resources on API gains. A balanced panel data set of 5,750 schools in California over the period of 1999-2008 was analyzed using a fixed effects model.
The last few decades have seen many attempts to “reform” education across the world. Those reforms have been spurred on by the perceived low standards, by the number of young people who are seen to be educational failures, and by the need for a “skilled workforce” if our respective countries are to compete successfully in an ever more global and competitive economy.
This article examines high schools’ responses to exit testing policies through in-depth case studies of five low-performing high-poverty high schools across five school districts in Texas.
This article examines how the effects of institutions on teaching practices can be mediated by social networks within schools. The study focuses on teachers’ responses to policies developed from the National Reading Panel’s recommendations for teaching reading.
This article examines a reform effort initiated by a coalition of educational leaders and community-based organizations in Los Angeles as a means of providing high-quality public school options for students in an underserved community. Based on interviews with school district, community, union, and other educational leaders, this study explores how various political actors collaborated to bring about unprecedented education reform in the nation’s second largest school district, highlighting both the promise and challenge of community organizing for school reform.
This paper introduces the special issue, Horne v. Flores and the Future of Language Policy.