Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What works?: what the research says

In the US, Congress and other educational policymakers have made some funding sources available only to schools that implement educational reforms with high-quality evidence of effectiveness. In an extensive meta-analysis, Borman et al (2003) reviewed research on the achievement effects of externally developed school improvement programs in the US known as whole-school or comprehensive school reforms (CSR). They also synthesised research on the effects of the 29 most widely implemented CSR. Borman et al identified three CSR models that met the highest standard of evidence to show that across varying contexts and varying study designs, their effects are relatively robust and, in general, can be expected to improve students’ test scores: Direct Instruction, School Development Program and Success for all.

Direct Instruction
Developer: Siegfried Engelmann (University of Oregon). Primary goal: Improve academic performance so that by fifth grade, students are at least a year and a half beyond grade level.
Main features:
1. Field-tested reading, language arts, and math curricula.
2. Highly scripted lesson strategies.
3. Extensive writing.
4. Highly interactive lessons presented to small groups of students, flexible grouping students by performance level, frequent assessment of student progress, no pull-out programs.

For Grades K-6. Detailed materials provide by publisher.

School Development Program

Developer: James Comer, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
Primary goal: Mobilize entire community of adult caretakers to support students' holistic development to bring about academic success.
Main features:
1. Three teams (school planning and management team, student and staff support team, parent team).
2. Three operations (comprehensive school plan, staff development plan, monitoring and assessment).
3. Three guiding principles (no-fault, consensus, collaboration).

For Grades K-12. Training and manual provided with teaching materials.

Success for All

Developer: Robert Slavin, Nancy Madden, and a team of developers from Johns Hopkins University. Now based at the Success for All Foundation in Baltimore.
Primary goal: Guarantee that every child will learn to read.
Main features:
1. Research-based, prescribed curriculum in the areas of reading, writing, and language arts.
2. One-to-one tutoring, family support team, cooperative learning, on-site facilitator, and building advisory team.

For Grades Pre-K-8. Usually, all materials are provided. Training required.
A number of schools in Australia belong to the National Schools Network which has strong links to the work of the Coalition of Essential Schools:
Developer: Ted Sizer, Brown University, Providence,RI. Now based in Oakland, CA.
Primary goal: Help create schools where students learn to use their minds well.
Main features:
1. Set of Ten Common Principles on which schools base their practice.
2. Personalized learning.
3. Mastery of a few essential subjects and skills.
4. Graduationb y exhibition.
5. Sense of community.
6. Instruction and organization depend on how each school interprets the Common Principles (may involve interdisciplinaryin struction, authentic projects, etc.).

For Grades K-12. No materials. Range of training options mostly provided by regional centers.


Comprehensive School Reform and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis Author(s): Geoffrey D. Borman, Gina M. Hewes, Laura T. Overman, Shelly Brown Source: Review of Educational Research, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Summer, 2003), pp. 125-230 Published by: American Educational Research Association

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Working Group forms three teams

Curriculum Design Team: The purpose of this team is to draw upon current research and best practice approaches to develop a curriculum that engages young people who are not well served by traditional educational pathways. It will draw upon Big Picture Education Australia Design Principles, small and urban schools research in the US, whole school change research and creative pathways projects in the UK, and research within the tradition of making a difference in Australia.

Community Engagement Team: The purpose of this team is to provide tangible and correct information about the Project to young people, their families and interested community members. The team will consult frequently with these groups, and work to ensure that their concerns, hopes and opinions are incorporated into the Pathways Project.

Strategic Planning Team: The purpose of this team is to liaise with key individuals and organisations external to the project. This team will consider matters such as funding, infrastructure, human resources, OH&S, etc

Members of the Pathways Project gathered at the University of Sydney on May 15

We acknowledged the importance of a personalised, localised response to young people that listens closely to their needs. We agreed to work together in the following ways:
  • Build a partnership with purpose
  • Recognise the importance of innovators and instigators with big ideas
  • Do what needs to be done to make it work
  • Turn failure into success
  • Commit to engaging young people and families
  • Bring together different perspectives
  • Involve community members and organisations
  • Build relationships of trust
  • Reject one-size-fits-all
  • Secure commitment and funding
  • Build consensus among partners
  • Support a two-way process
  • Sustainably