Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms

Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms: Perspectives from Leaders in the Scale-Up of Educational Interventions

Thomas K. Glennan
Susan J. Bodilly
Jolene R. Galegher
Kerri A. Kerr
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 746
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  • Book Info
    Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms
    Book Description:

    How does one spread a successful educational reform? The essays here recount the authors' experiences with the scale-up process. Among their lessons are the importance of building the capacity to implement and sustain the reforms, adjusting for local culture and policy, ensuring quality control, providing the necessary infrastructure, and fostering a sense of ownership. The process is iterative and complex and requires cooperation among many actors who must ensure that the results align with goals.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4065-7
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Dedication
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  5. Figures
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Tables
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Framing the Problem
    (pp. 1-40)
    Susan J. Bodilly, Thomas K. Glennan Jr., Kerri A. Kerr and Jolene R. Galegher

    Fifty years ago,Brown v. Board of Educationset in motion a series of legislative and judicial efforts to undo the effects of racial segregation, providing opportunities and support for children who had been denied both. Twenty years ago, the publication ofA Nation at Risk(National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) drew attention to the need for reform in all of America’s schools to ensure the nation’s ability to compete in the international economy. These two forces—pressure to improve the quality of schools for all students and pressure to reduce gaps in access and performance of students—...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Cognitively Guided Instruction: Challenging the Core of Educational Practice
    (pp. 41-80)
    Thomas P. Carpenter and Megan L. Franke

    Carpenter and Franke emphasize the idea that the scale-up of cognitively guided instruction (CGI), a distinctive approach to teaching mathematics in elementary schools, has come about by focusing on changing the practices of communities of teachers rather than on developing organizational infrastructure. Drawing on four case studies, they identify mechanisms that have helped to promote the spread of CGI, all of which emphasize “growth from within,” relying primarily on teachers’ observations of the success of CGI methods as a motivator for changing practices and on the influence of a cadre of expert teachers who, as their expertise grows, assume responsibility...

  11. CHAPTER THREE The National Writing Project: Scaling Up and Scaling Down
    (pp. 81-106)
    Joseph P. McDonald, Judy Buchanan and Richard Sterling

    McDonald, Buchanan, and Sterling introduce the interesting notion of “scaling up by scaling down,” by which they mean that, to succeed in a new environment, a reform that is spreading geographically must also challenge and, eventually, penetrate habitual practice in new contexts. To achieve this penetration, the National Writing Project (NWP) focuses on professional development and professional networks for writing teachers. NWP promoted both spread and depth of change through its “improvement infrastructure,” a system made up of three elements: an annual review process, the development of specialized cross-site networks, and a commitment to both internal, site-based, practitioner-directed research and...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Impediments to Scaling Up Effective Comprehensive School Reform Models
    (pp. 107-134)
    Siegfried E. Engelmann and Kurt E. Engelmann

    Siegfried and Kurt Engelmann describe organizational obstacles that often arise in efforts to scale up educational reforms, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of models for diffusing innovations throughout a school system. They also offer an important distinction between minimal- and extensive-requirements models of school reform, observing that models that specify numerous requirements are likely to be more difficult to implement but are also more likely to be effective in improving student performance. They challenge school districts to treat reform efforts as information-gathering enterprises, honoring the specifications of extensive-requirements models of change as a means of obtaining an accurate...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Scaling Up Success For All: Lessons for Policy and Practice
    (pp. 135-174)
    Robert E. Slavin and Nancy A. Madden

    As Success For All (SFA) increased the number of schools and districts served, it found ensuring high-quality implementation to be a major challenge. Thus, it shifted its reliance on part-time trainers to introduce and oversee the implementation of its program to full-time, regionally based trainers recruited from outstanding SFA schools, as such individuals can more effectively communicate SFA’s goals and methods and can provide more-detailed, comprehensive support to teachers and schools. These staffing requirements are costly, however, and require substantial administrative oversight. Thus, this move and other efforts to expand and improve services prompted SFA to restructure itself, shifting from...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Taking Education Programs to Scale: Lessons from the Field
    (pp. 175-196)
    James L. Ketelsen

    Although Project GRAD is supported, in part, by philanthropic organizations, one of its distinctive features is its focus on community involvement as an important component of successful school reform. Now working in more than a dozen cities, Project GRAD requires each new location to form a not-for-profit organization and a board made up of community leaders to provide continuing support for its programs. In the early years of Project GRAD’s involvement in a new community, up to 30 percent of operating funds are expected to come from the private sector, individuals, corporations, and foundations. Ketelsen describes the challenges of this...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Reaching for Coherence in School Reform: The Case of America’s Choice
    (pp. 197-258)
    Marc Tucker

    Marc Tucker describes the long history of his organization’s efforts to develop, implement, expand, and evaluate educational interventions—informed by observations of the superior performance of schools in other countries, by models of organizational change drawn from corporate experience, and by experience. At the heart of his essay—and his ideas about scaling up reform—is the concept of coherence. He argues that scaling up school reform involves a systematic approach, beginning with the establishment of standards and aligning teacher training and professional development, curriculum frameworks designed to help students meet standards, and assessments that determine whether they have done...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT A Different Way of Growing
    (pp. 259-302)
    Linda A. Johannesen

    The origins and growth of Different Ways of Knowing reflect an unusual mix of idealism and hard-headed business experience on the part of its founders; substantial growth in a single state over a five-year period; and, more recently, efforts to respond to market opportunities created by the availability of Comprehensive School Reform funds. The author notes that its current scale-up strategy, developed over many years of practical experience, relies on introducing a three-phase strategy to potential client schools. Focused on planning, implementation, and evaluation, this model is intended to help schools become more-effective consumers of professional development services. More generally,...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Co-nect at the Crossroads: Four Considerations on Getting to Scale
    (pp. 303-350)
    Bruce Goldberg

    In his chapter, Goldberg identifies four features of school reform programs that, he argues, make them worthy of being taken to scale: the capacity to improve student performance in a measurable way, the moral desirability of what is taught, the feasibility of implementing an effective and desirable program, and the sustainability of institutional change. Against this backdrop, he discusses recent changes in the environment that governs the supply and demand for school reform services, as well as changes likely to occur in the near future. He describes the efforts of his organization to respond to these environmental shifts, including moves...

  18. CHAPTER TEN Scaling Up Turning Points Through Autonomous Regional Centers
    (pp. 351-378)
    Dan French and Leah Rugen

    The authors describe a move by the Turning Points organization to ensure successful scale-up of the practices they advocate: the development of a network of regional centers to guide implementation of its program in diverse parts of the nation. Although these centers differ in terms of funding sources, institutional affiliation, and the specific focus of their activities, all have adopted the Turning Points design as part of their respective missions. The network has created systems for shared governance, with accountability based in a system of annual assessments against established benchmarks, national network meetings, regional site visits, and quality reviews of...

  19. CHAPTER ELEVEN Scaling Up Talent Development High Schools: Lessons Learned from Comprehensive High School Reform
    (pp. 379-432)
    Nettie E. Legters, James M. McPartland and Robert Balfanz

    In this chapter, the authors identify three factors that affect the success of high school reform efforts in individual schools, as well as efforts to scale up these reforms: the features of the reform model, the arrangements with local schools and districts, and the capabilities of the external design team. The Talent Development High School reform model, they argue, provides a well-defined reform framework, supported by extensive planning before implementation, highly specified materials and processes, and technical assistance. The authors discuss strategies for making constructive arrangements with schools and districts, such as requiring buy-in from teachers at new sites, defining...

  20. CHAPTER TWELVE Taking High Schools That Work to Scale: The Evolution of a High School Reform Program
    (pp. 433-486)
    Gene Bottoms

    As with many school reform programs, the scale-up of High Schools That Work (HSTW) has occurred partly as a result of demand—cities and school districts have invited the organization to work in their schools—and partly as a result of funding increases that have enabled it to expand both the reach and the range of its services. With growth have come refinement and expansion of program elements, diversification of services, and strengthening of organizational capacity. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of HSTW’s growth, however, is its early and continuing focus on influencing state education policies. In addition to dramatically...

  21. CHAPTER THIRTEEN The First Few Years of Edison Schools: Ten Lessons in Getting to Scale
    (pp. 487-516)
    John E. Chubb

    Edison Schools is unique among the models discussed in this volume in that it has always been a public company that markets school reform services to schools and districts. Thus, its scale-up strategy is, essentially, a business model for attracting and satisfying its customers—a strategy that reflects its key business practices. The elements of the model include standardizing its product; controlling the recruitment and management of personnel; developing systems by providing professional development and support to enable customers to take advantage of its services; establishing accountability systems that permit evaluation of its services and their use in schools; determining...

  22. CHAPTER FOURTEEN School Districts as Learning Organizations: Strategy for Scaling Education Reform
    (pp. 517-564)
    Thomas K. Glennan Jr. and Lauren B. Resnick

    Unlike comprehensive school reform models that begin with a single school or even a small set of schools, the work of the Institute for Learning, according to the authors, begins at scale. That is, it begins with the assumption that school districts are both the seat of accountability for school reform and the organizational entities that can control what happens in large numbers of schools—by influencing curriculum, providing professional development opportunities, and establishing performance standards. Thus, the institute’s approach to scale-up is both “top down,” in that it requires the engagement of high-level school officials, and “bottom up,” in...

  23. CHAPTER FIFTEEN Choices and Consequences in the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative: Building the Capacity to Scale Up Whole-School Improvement
    (pp. 565-602)
    Merrill Vargo

    Vargo identifies three dimensions of scale: breadth, or broad involvement in and ownership of school reform efforts within the program’s ethnically diverse and administratively complex region; depth, or changes in classroom-level teaching and learning; and sustainability, or maintenance of both specific changes and the understanding of school reform as a continuous improvement process. It is, primarily, a focus on the last dimension that has driven the activities of the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative. Recognizing the imperviousness of school culture to deep change and the unreliability of funding for institutional change, the collaborative has focused on building organizational capacity—the...

  24. CHAPTER SIXTEEN Leveraging the Market to Scale Up School Improvement Programs: A Fee-for-Service Primer for Foundations and Nonprofits
    (pp. 603-646)
    Marc Dean Millot

    In this chapter, Dean Millot draws on his experience as a senior staff member at New American Schools—the business-led, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provided at least part of the funding for several of the innovations described in previous chapters—to argue that foundations and nonprofits that have funded educational reforms must shift their emphasis from funding the development and preliminary testing of innovations to funding the implementation and long-term operation of reform enterprises now operating in a fee-for-service environment. This shift, he claims, is needed to create sustainable change on a broad scale and will require significant changes in...

  25. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Summary: Toward a More Systematic Approach to Expanding the Reach of Educational Interventions
    (pp. 647-686)
    Thomas K. Glennan Jr., Susan J. Bodilly, Jolene R. Galegher and Kerri A. Kerr

    The contributors to this volume—developers of designs to improve teaching and learning—have described their goals, their methods, and what they learned while trying to scale up their programs. Despite the heterogeneity of the interventions, the diversity in the sites implementing them, and variations in the length of developers’ experiences, it is possible to distill some general lessons for producing widespread, deep, and lasting education reform. In this chapter, we identify and describe the lessons derived from our analysis.

    First, we return to the conceptualization of scale-up we presented in Chapter One and offer a fuller description of that...

  26. APPENDIX A Contributors
    (pp. 687-700)
  27. APPENDIX B Program Descriptions and Contact Information
    (pp. 701-724)