In the latest edition of Better: Evidence-based Education, Estelle Morris explores the interdependent relationship between education and politics. Looking forward, she describes the levers that are increasingly recognised as the way to ensure the education system delivers high standards for all pupils, with pedagogical change being the most important. She wants to see research brought to the fore, with better access to research for teachers and an improved relationship between politicians and education researchers.
Source: Managing change – The relationship between education and politics (2012), Better: Evidence-based Education, 4(2)
In a recent speech, and an article in The Times, Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg MP, has outlined his commitment to “evidence, evidence, evidence”.
He proposes the creation of an “Office for Educational Improvement, independent of ministers, along the lines of the Office for Budgetary Responsibility that was set up by this Government.”
Mentioning the Coalition for Evidence-based Education (CEBE), he notes that “Teachers rarely have time to look at research and academics don’t always see the relevance of their work to the classroom so I will look at how we can work with organisations such as [CEBE].”
CEBE is an alliance of researchers, policy makers, and practitioners who share an interest in reforming the way research evidence is used in policy and practice.
Source: Evidence, not dogma: a smart way to raise education standards (2012), Labour
The latest findings have been published of a rigorous study on the effectiveness of 105 “small schools of choice” (SSCs) in New York City. These academically nonselective schools, each with approximately 100 students per year in grades 9 to 12 (age 14–18), were created to serve some of the district’s most disadvantaged students. They are located mainly in areas where large failing high schools had been closed. According to MDRC, which carried out the research, the schools emphasise academic rigour and strong and sustained personal relationships among students and faculty. In addition, most were founded with community partners who offer additional teaching support and resources, and provide students with additional learning opportunities.
A 2010 study showed that SSCs are markedly improving academic progress and graduation prospects for their students. In this new policy brief, the analysis is extended by a year, and shows that SSCs have positive and sustained impacts on graduation rates, as well as a positive effect on a measure of college readiness.
Source: Transforming the high school experience: How New York City’s new small schools are boosting student achievement and graduation rates (2010), MDRC
In a recent blog post, the IEE’s Robert Slavin argues that there is something we should copy from Finland. An article by Pasi Sahlberg, of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, explains that Finland’s success is no miracle, but is based on studying the policies and practices of other countries, trying them out in Finland, and keeping those that work.
The willingness to find out what works, regardless of its source, and then try it out at home, is one Finnish innovation we should emulate, comments Professor Slavin.
Source: A Finnish model worth replicating (2012), Education Week (Sputnik Blog)