#JourneystoScale: Documenting efforts to scale up education innovations

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-3-34-26-pmOn October 10th, the Center for Education Innovations (CEI) and UNICEF published Journeys to Scale, a report that documents the innovative efforts of five organizations as they aim to increase their impact. The organizations profiled in the report include Accelerated School Readiness, Can’t Wait to Learn, EduTrac Peru, Lively Minds, and Palavra de Criança. These are organizations that have been identified as having “high disruption potential,” and the report describes the journey each has taken to scale up their programs.
As CEI and UNICEF explain, in May 2014 they began designing and testing strategies to systematically select and support innovative education models. They received over 150 nominations but selected only 5 finalists. The finalists received funding from UNICEF and support from CEI as they tested and strengthened their scale-up models while collecting evidence on effectivenes. The report, Journeys to Scale, describes the challenges and strategies of these innovations from Brazil, Ehtiopia, Ghana, Peru, and Sudan, and lays out clear recommendations for implementers, donors, policymakers and researchers who want to support innovation.
One category of key findings from the report points to the importance of defining what is meant by both “innovation” and “scaling up.”  As the report explains,
The five innovations challenged ideas about what it means to scale an innovation, highlighting the reality that scaling does not happen in a straightforward manner and that progress is often accompanied by setbacks. They revealed that the conventional idea of scaling as simply the process of reaching more beneficiaries does not account for steps like the inclusion of new services to an existing package of interventions, the formation of new alliances with government and donor partners, and team capacity building.
Therefore, the authors find that scaling is about more than simply increasing the numbers of beneficiaries, and innovation is about more than the intervention itself. Innovation is about a broader and deeper spread of new norms and beliefs.
In addition to the publication of this report, CEI and UNICEF hosted a Twitter chat (#JourneystoScale) to keep the conversation going. See below for a Storify recap of the conversation.


Learning From and Beyond PISA: Toward Achievement with Integrity

In this latest post in the Leading Futures Series, edited by Alma Harris and Michelle Jones, Dennis Shirley describes how “imperial” and “insular” imperatives may limit learning about educational policies across countries. Drawing from his new book, The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity, Shirley argues for more sophisticated comparative approaches that support learning from and beyond PISA. Dennis Shirley is Professor Education at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, and a Visiting Professor in Venice International University in the fall semester of 2016.  

In a world of ever-increasing big data, the upcoming release in December of the latest rankings on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) should be cause for celebration. An abundance of international evidence should give policy makers, educational professionals, and the public a treasure trove of new findings about how well students are learning in reading, mathematics and science. With this information we can learn from those systems that excel. We can adapt some of their proven strategies to our own schools. In the process we can ensure that all children are enabled to reach their full potential.

It’s an entirely rational vision for a perfect world.  But we live in an imperfect world.  Policies are not made through careful studies of the available evidence or mindful interpretation when the evidence is ambiguous. In the real world policy is made through a crazy-quilt pattern of conjectures, hyperbole, and sound-bites. Only every now and then, is there reference to actual research.

Consider Australia and the adaptation in some of its states of policies piloted in England and the US. Under the slogan of increasing school autonomy, schools in Western Australia are becoming detached from democratically-elected local authorities. Teacher education throughout the country increasingly is disconnected from higher education and research capacity, with for-profit providers moving into new openings for service provision. International publishers that are located in England and the US such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill are among those taking advantage of increased standardized testing and new digital technologies to expand their market share. “Because of Australia’s close links with England the USA and their influence,” Stephen Dinham has observed in an article entitled The worst of both worlds, “it is not surprising that the myths and beliefs underpinning these developments have been accepted almost without evidence or questioning in Australia.”

The irony is that Australia has done better than either England or the US on PISA. Australia also does far better than the US on many international quality of life indicators, including life expectancy.  Australia is not in the position of developing countries that were compelled for many years to adopt testing and accountability strategies exported from the US to receive education funding from the World Bank.  Yet there seems to have been an imperial imperative at work that has led even some states in more successful countries on PISA like Australia to adopt policies from England and the US, even when there is broad agreement that those policies have led to disappointing results.

A century ago, one could have understood such policy borrowing.  Australia was part of what was unapologetically called the British Empire.  Ever since the London Declaration of 1949, however, Australia has been a free and independent nation.  While there still is an emotional attachment to England, England can no more compel Australia to change its education policies than it can any other nation.

For some critics, the OECD is responsible for spreading marketplace competition, test-based accountability, and curricular narrowing in education.  But matters are not so simple.  In a study on The policy impact of PISA, Simon Breakspear has shown that “Finland was the most commonly listed influential country/economy” in the wake of PISA. As Pasi Sahlberg and Andy Hargreaves and I have shown elsewhere, Finnish education is the opposite of the policies that have been adapted in Australia from England and the US.

So can we do a global scan and produce a slew of countries that have adopted Finnish-style reforms that emphasize collective responsibility, pervasive equity, and a gentle, child-centered philosophy of education? Not really. Right next door to Finland stands Sweden, which has suffered from a humiliating plunge in PISA results and shares a common border and history with Finland. But what Finnish policies have the Swedes taken over thus far? None to date.

A similar situation of a curious insular imperative can be found in Scotland, which rests on the northern border with England.  While it shares any number of similar policies with England as part of the United Kingdom, in education Scotland has endeavored to pursue different policies. As an aggregate, these have led to higher results on PISA. It would seem obvious that the English would be curious about what is going on with their northern neighbors, and would send delegations up to adapt elements from Scotland for their own schools. What independent Scottish educational policies have the English tried out? None so far.

Extending 5,525 miles, the United States has the world’s longest border with Canada, another country that has done well on PISA, especially in the four most populated provinces of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec. Over 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US, making the overwhelming majority of their schools easily accessible for visitors from south of the border. What Canadian policies have been transferred into the US?  Zilch.

For all of the chatter about data-driven decision-making that has gone on for years now, an anachronistic insular imperative has characterized many nations when it comes to policy borrowing. Their policy makers have been tone deaf. Such policy makers have failed to learn from nations that have performed better, even when they share geographical proximity, a common language, and cultural similarities.

Why is this?  Long-standing and deeply ingrained attitudes of one country towards another play a role. The Swedish economy is larger than the Finnish one. The same can be said of the English in regard to Scotland or the US in relation to Canada.  Countries that lead in economic clout appear to have a hard time admitting that they might learn from others who do better in education.  It’s easier to be insular.

The insular imperative has been related to the imperial imperative in paradoxical ways. How can an imperious stance be connected with insularity at one and the same time? This is possible if a nation projects its own policies and practices abroad for others to learn from while failing to model the position of a curious and open-minded learner in its own conduct. It is possible if a nation assumes that the answers to change all lie on one side, and that others, perhaps smaller and less powerful, have little to impart. It’s hard not to connect a certain arrogance to the ways that the imperial and insular imperatives have interacted over the years. This would not matter so much at a purely political level, if students were not the ones who pay the price in terms of lost learning opportunities. It would not matter on the level of theory if teachers did not suffer from a sense of diminished professionalism in practice.

For these reasons we should welcome the publication of the new PISA results in December. We should be honest about the many factors that make for a given country’s educational policies, and shouldn’t overstate the significance of PISA in this regard. In part the lack of response could be a good thing, since PISA doesn’t measure important aspects of a country’s national cultural heritage. I am a Visiting Professor at Venice International University in Italy this fall, and many of my students studied ancient Greek and Latin in the country’s classical secondary schools. These are popular and precious parts of Italy’s identity. Simply because they don’t fit neatly into economic quests to maximize human capital does not mean that they do not have their own disciplinary integrity and should not be passed on to future generations. That we should learn from PISA does not mean that we should not also think beyond it.

When the new PISA results are published in December, let’s examine the evidence anew to see what we can learn. Let’s pass from an obsolete imperial imperative to a more balanced interpretive one that sustains education as an enterprise that is both deep and wide. Let’s abandon the insular imperative to look only within and replace it with a global imperative to learn from schools and systems wherever they may be. If we can do these things wisely and with sensitivity, we can combine achievement with integrity.  We can, and we must, create an enduring and sustainable legacy of all that we hold most dear.


Educational testing in the UK and around the world

This week we are sharing two articles focusing on issues related to educational change and testing.

First, we share Melanie Ehren’s latest IOE Blog post, “As ‘Show Your Working’ test replaces mental maths at 11, what kind of learning are we valuing?”  In this post, Ehren describes recent changes to math exams. The new exams, which were ushered in along with a new National Curriculum, require students to show their math work on paper. While students had been assessed on their ability to do math “in their heads,” the new exam poses more difficult questions to students and requires that they show their calculations on paper. As Ehren explains,

The change in types of arithmetic questions, which clearly favour traditional methods to carry out complex calculations more quickly, begs the question of the kind of mathematics we want our children to master and how appropriate these complex context-free calculations are for children in Year 6 of primary school.

The new exams are emblematic of a “more ambitious” curriculum that raises the bar for children’s learning, particularly in the areas of “maths, English, computing and science.” However, recent articles point out that with the higher standards comes a period of lower outcomes, which many have expressed concern about. Additional concerns have been raised about the quality of these assessments. Further concerns have been raised about new UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to raise standards and introduce more grammar schools, which accept only the strongest academic students. The concern, expressed by Andreas Schleicher of the OECD, is that schools need to improve the quality of education for all students, not only the select few. As Schleicher argues, “The fact that too many students fall through the cracks in too many schools is a far bigger problem than not having enough schools which are selective. The issue lies within schools, not between schools.”

The latest Lead the Change interview with Wiel Veugelers, professor of education at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, the Netherlands, serves as an interesting read in juxtaposition to the Ehren post. Veugelers, a long time scholar of education change issues around the world, argues that we need to pay attention to the socializing function of education and the role education plays in the development of citizens. Veugelers explains, “I think a socially just global world needs to develop a strong unyielding bond between autonomy and social concern. The Western world should become more social, many other parts of the world more autonomous. Therefore, it is important that we pay attention to the purpose of educational change.”  Towards the end of the interview, Veugeler shares what excites him about educational change:

…educational change is, in actual fact, thinking about what kind of world we want and how we can contribute to making it happen…it is also important to make our research really international; to make our knowledge multipolar, to paraphrase Chantal Mouffe. This means that we recognize different ideas and practices and give more credits to other visions.

To that end, we share a few recent news reports on issues related to educational testing from around the world in an effort to explore however briefly how the issue of standard, testing, and access might pop up in various education reform efforts and what we might be able to learn from them.


Schools prepare for testing times ahead – Times of India http://buff.ly/2ddbNWY

Continuous tests an obstacle to learning? – Times of India http://buff.ly/2dCZjvg


Vietnam education ministry’s plan for multiple-choice math test sparks debate http://buff.ly/2ddb6xb


Pen and paper tests may stay http://buff.ly/2ddcX54

South Africa

South Africa: Western Cape Education On Writing of Systemic Tests http://buff.ly/2dQTS9L


Classroom concerns over new national tests http://buff.ly/2dQW4Oz

Recent Observations on Finnish Education from Elizabeth Green

This post can also be found on IEN Founding Editor, Thomas Hatch‘s new blog focused on school improvement, educational change and innovation.  

This past week Elizabeth Green, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Chalkbeat, shared a number of tweets from a recent visit to schools and day care centers in Finland.  She made telling observations, noting students’ use of slippers and the raised tables in daycares that make it easier for teachers to “get on students’ level”, that hint at the Finnish attention to detail and design.  She also pointed to key aspects of the Finnish education system that connected to some of the experiences that I had when spending a month in Finland with my family 2 years ago.  At that time, two of my daughters spent the end of the school year in Finnish classrooms, and my wife, Karen Hammerness, and I got to talk with a number of policymakers, educators, and researchers.  As Green indicates in tweets showing a graphic of the new Finnish Core Curriculum and noting that schools were given considerable time to prepare for implementation, the Finnish approach to developing a coherent national curriculum is totally different from the development of the Common Core in the US. While Green points to teachers who generally support the new Finnish Core Curriculum, the roll-out has included controversy over the extent to which the new curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary work.  Interestingly, Green also found that some teachers also dislike an emphasis on learning to code, an emphasis which seems to be embraced in many quarters in the US. Nonetheless, Green cited a new teacher gushing about her lesson plan as one of the best moments of a visit to a school as well as a teacher who commented that even with a “core” curriculum she still felt considerable autonomy.  We found that same kind of enthusiasm and sense of autonomy among teachers again and again, perhaps reflecting the extensive preparation and support that new teachers in Finland receive.  At the same time, during my visit, it seemed that autonomy also depends on a level of interdependence and collective commitment that often goes unmentioned. Green’s comment that she “Never considered proximity to Russia, geographic and cultural, when considering Finnish educational success” struck a chord with me as well.  The pressure and urgency that might have contributed to a commitment to centralize and transform the Finnish education system in the 1970’s (as Pasi Sahlberg describes in Finnish Lessons) came through to me when a Finnish educator told me that she grew up near the border in Finland knowing that Soviet tanks could be in her front yard in twenty minutes…

— Thomas Hatch


The iZone: The Evolution of a Central Office’s Approach to Fostering Innovations in Personalized Learning

As part of a series of posts on the evolution of organizations in New York City, the US, and other parts of the world including India and parts of Africa, this post explores the evolution of the iZone, a unit within the New York City Department of Education dedicated to “inspiring innovation in in NYC public education.” The iZone’s goals include designing “schools around the unique strengths, interests and needs of each student.” In order gain a better understanding of the possibilities and challenges for educational innovation iZone has encountered, we recently spoke with several former and current leaders of the iZone. They talked about the development of iZone’s work and vision as well as the constantly changing conditions in which organizations like iZone have to operate and adapt. 

What if the possibilities of technology could be harnessed to solve the organizational challenges of designing schools around the interests, needs, and strengths of students? This question animates the work of the Office of Innovation (iZone) within the NYC Department of Education. From its creation in 2009, iZone set out to create conditions that would enable associated schools to develop and achieve their own visions of personalized learning.  Positioning itself as an incubator of innovative educational practices, the office was organized around three main projects: iLearnNYC, iZone360, and InnovateNYC Schools. Through these projects, iZone has evolved from an organization that primarily strove to launch and replicate new schools designed around innovative practices in personalized learning to an organization that facilitates the adoption and adaptation of a variety of technologies, tools, and applications for personalized learning across existing schools. In the process, iZone itself has experienced the possibilities and challenges for both incubating new ideas and enabling those ideas to spread and have a significant positive impact on teaching and learning throughout New York City.

iZone 1.0 — Piloting New Student-Centered School Designs


iZone was launched several years into the administration of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and School Chancellor Joel Klein.  At the time, their approach to improving schools – which they called Children First –,was characterized by increased autonomy for schools and principals in exchange for greater accountability for student performance, small schools that would better engage students, and an embrace of educational technology. Ideas for an office dedicated to personalized learning enabled by technology represented a natural progression of the theories of change underlying these reform initiatives as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of early ed-tech start-ups at the time. The NYC Department of Education was already involved in a number of efforts to spur student-centered learning and innovation. The summer of 2009 saw the pilot of School of One (profiled by IEN in 2016) which tested the idea that technology could provide appropriate and responsive curriculum to meet each students’ needs. In addition, several new small schools in NYC were pursuing their own experiments with technology and personalization. In particular, iSchool, had been experimenting with online classes, allowing students to accelerate their learning by taking offerings that might not otherwise be available to them. These projects provided proof-points for the theory that technology could create flexibility in the traditional time and space constraints of schooling by freeing-up teacher bandwidth; easing pressure to staff courses; and allowing learning to happen anytime, anywhere. This meant, as then-Deputy Chancellor of Talent, Labor, and Innovation John White put it in a report by the Center for Reinventing Public Education, reimagining schooling by treating time, space, and human capital as variables, instead of constants, in the educational equation.

iZone’s foundational project was iLearnNYC, a learning management platform which allowed students, through their schools, to access curriculum from several dozen vendors. 81 schools began using iLearnNYC in 2010-2011. Taking classes online allowed for more flexibility in when, how long, and where classes took place. Schools used iLearnNYC for credit recovery, advanced placement, and blended learning which opened up more time for project-based learning, provided opportunities for accelerated learning, or made a greater variety of courses available to students. Over the next few years, 200 schools worked with iLearn, with 80% of them continuing to use it beyond the first year of implementation.

iSchool, School of One, and iLearnNYC inspired ambitious plans for whole-school change. This became the work of iZone360: a community of schools committed to “reorganizing all aspects of their school, including budgets, staff, space, instruction, scheduling, and technology, around meeting the needs of individual students.” The Office of Innovation would offer technical, financial, and professional support to help schools innovate toward their uniquely defined visions of personalized learning. iZone also served as an advocate for the pilot schools by addressing policies that hindered student-centered design and developing resources and tools that could help foster their work.  For example, iZone appealed to the NYS Board of Regents to amend seat-time requirements to allow credit for online or blended coursework.

Consistent with the emphasis on autonomy under the Children First reforms, iZone’s initial plan was to recruit pilot schools by finding school leaders who were passionate about personalized learning. Each pilot school had the freedom to define what personalized learning meant to them and to set their vision for the next three to five years.  Successful pilot schools would then serve as models that could be scaled-up across the city. Ideally, the pilot schools would be embedded in networks of affiliated schools that would partner with and observe the work of the pilot school in the first year, adopt practices in the next year, and then continue to deepen their work through the sharing of best practices. In 2010, iZone presented its vision and plan to schools, recruiting applications. In 2011-2012, it launched 25 pilot schools, selected for their demonstrated interest and readiness to experiment with personalized learning practices.

These pilot efforts served as the foundation for what iZone’s leaders hoped would be more system-wide changes. But as then-Chief of Innovation Arthur VanderVeen explained, such “lateral diffusion” from a small number of pilots to a large number of partner schools is particularly hard to achieve in such a big district with shifting politics and priorities. While a pilot of 81 schools may be a large initiative in most districts, it reflects only a small fraction of the more than 1,700 schools in NYC. Furthermore, several national and state initiatives, including the development of new teacher evaluation policies and the rollout of the Common Core, made sustaining focus on innovative student-centered school models even more difficult. As VanderVeen explained, “getting the early success and recognition and building momentum around a vision for personalization so other school would want to take it on, was always challenging.” An additional challenge came when Joel Klein resigned in the middle of the 2010-2011 school year. According to VanderVeen, iZone’s theory of change relied on continued commitment and strong leadership—the ability to “encourage, drive, and support schools to move” toward this vision of personalized learning—at the system, network, and school levels. Without Klein, a strong proponent of technology and personalized learning, the future of iZone seemed to be in doubt. Under these conditions, White left in the middle of the year 2010-2011 school year, and VanderVeen left a few months later during the summer of 2011.

iZone 2.0 – Encouraging New Student-Centered Learning Solutions


New leadership, including Andrea Coleman and Steven Hodas, who joined Megan Roberts as Executive Directors of iZone, came in with strong backgrounds in technology, design and entrepreneurship, which influenced the direction of the office. While it continued to support and foster the development of innovative school designs, iZone also sought to change the conditions for the development of innovative products and services. This second phase of iZone saw a shift from implementing a vision of personalized-learning through school support services from traditional venues to working closely with users to identify key problems and develop scalable solutions by drawing on principles of design-thinking, rapid-prototyping, and market disruption.

In 2012-2013, iZone360 recruited an additional 25 schools, and iLearnNYC launched the Blended Learning Institute, a two-year certificate program in collaboration with Pace University that provided professional development in instruction and classroom management unique to personalized learning. Both branches of iZone continued to develop new means of supporting schools. In 2013, iLearnNYC worked with code.org to add a computer science track to the Blended Learning Institute. iZone360 worked to empower educators with design-thinking process and low-tech solutions, through initiatives such as the Personalized Pathways Challenge for solving problems related to student-centered learning, Essential Allies Challenge for solving problems related to family engagement and iCamp, a 3-day conference that brings educators together to problem-solve and engage in competitions for pitching the next iZone Challenge topic.

Recognizing that challenges in the procurement process and bureaucratic layers between companies and schools hindered the development of targeted technology solutions to personalized learning, iZone also sought to have a greater impact in the educational ecosystem of NYC. A third branch called Innovate NYC Schools sought to influence the development and purchasing of ed-tech by facilitating partnerships between technologists and teachers. This would lead to developers solving more directly for classroom needs with feedback from teachers. It sought to marry the “start-up” mentality of the NYC-based tech scene in the budding Silicon Alley with the work of school improvement. Innovate NYC was housed in a co-working space for start-ups in order to break down the bureaucratic barrier between the office, schools, and developers and staged competitions to spur innovation, such as the Gap App Challenge. Companies partnered with schools for five-month prototype process, in which teachers worked alongside developers to share feedback on products for classroom use. Daily feedback alongside more formal data collection in Short-Term Evaluation Cycles provided information about the effectiveness of the product and areas for improvement. Many products were favorably reviewed, and teachers and entrepreneurs developed mutually beneficial relationships with each other that could continue beyond the formal structure of the challenge. Such partnerships signaled a broader vision for shaping the educational ecosystem: “The hypothesis,” Steven Hodas told Edsurge, was “that if you put teachers and developers together collaboratively for a long period of time, each of them will change.” This model of match-making between educators and developers was repeated in challenges like Music Education Hackathon and School Choice Design Challenge. For example, the Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge partnership between East Bronx Academy of the Future and Listenwise (formerly Listen Current, a listening comprehension program featuring engaging, relevant content), resulted in a product that better met the needs of the school’s ELL learners and struggling readers. Through these initiatives, iZone sought to reshape the educational ecosystem by creating informal channels between educators and entrepreneurs and refocusing purchasing around the needs of schools (see Hodas’s (2016) report on the lessons of Innovate NYC for more on this topic).

iZone 3.0: Supporting Student-Centered Learning and Teaching  


Toward the fall of 2014, iZone reached a “crossroads” as journalists at Chalkbeat put it, when a new mayor and Chancellor took office. Coleman, Hodas, and Roberts left, along with other senior staff. In addition, funding from Race To The Top (an initiative of the Obama administration) ran out (although there was still some funding from another federal initiative, i3 grants, though that funding ran out in 2015). The confluence of changes in leadership, funding, organizational structuring, and pressures of Common Core implementation shaped the evolution of the iZone, as it adapted strategies to achieve its mission under these new conditions. Although incorporated back into the NYC Department of Education’s organizational structure with a smaller staff and less funding, iZone in this third phase continues to add to its existing programs and aims to incubate ideas that, if successful, will get scaled up through other divisions in the New York City Department of Education. For example, the Mastery Collaborative, a professional community of practice around the idea of mastery-based learning, generated sufficient interest from schools that it was moved into the Office of Postsecondary Readiness, Teaching, and Learning, a professional development program that support schools in designing student-centered learning, for continued support. iZone also continues to support schools through professional development initiatives such as the Blended Learning Institute and Affinity Groups, which offer a space for small groups of educators to gather around shared problems. iZone also continues challenged-based programming, such as #SharkTankEDU, in which edtech startups pitch their ideas to and receive feedback from the education community. iZone has also begun a third cycle of Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenges teams for the 2016-2017 school year. At this point, support for schools and mediation between the tech sector and schools are key pillars of iZone’s work. As current iZone members describe it, the first two phases of iZone generated feedback and ethnographic insights that helped iZone understand what support schools needed—such as professional development, new policies, and different procurement processes.

Reflections and Implications

iZone, like many organizations in the 2000’s, originally aimed to advance personalization through the development and replication of new school models. With changes in policies, politics, and funding, iZone evolved into an organization that, as it currently describes itself, “works with schools, the edtech marketplace and policy makers to design and scale promising learning models that prepare all students for college and careers.” Throughout this evolution, iZone itself has experienced the possibilities and challenges for an organization intent on both incubating new ideas and enabling those ideas to spread and have a significant positive impact on teaching and learning. iZone’s efforts may provide particular lessons for those who seek to connect teachers and schools with entrepreneurs and developers to create the tools and resources that respond to the students’ needs.


Lead the Change interview with Andrés Peri

Andrés Peri

Andrés Peri

Andrés Peri holds a Ph.D. in Sociology with a specialization in Demography from the University of Texas at Austin. He teaches at the Universidad de la República del Uruguay where he received his bachelor degree in 1990.

Dr. Peri has worked as a consultant and researcher for many organizations including CEPAL, CELADE, UNFPA and WFP. He is the director of the Research and Evaluation Department at the National Administration of Public Education of Uruguay (ANEP) .

Dr. Peri was also responsible for the development of the SEA (System of Educational Assessment) and contributed to the Monitor of Primary Education (a system of statistical reports for every school). He is the delegate of Uruguay to the PGB of PISA and the National Coordinator of the LLECE study of UNESCO. He was a speaker at TEDxMontevideo 2014 entirely dedicated to Education.

In this interview, which is part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Peri shares his thoughts on the achievements of public education in Uruguay:

…we were very successful in providing primary education for all, but now the challenge is to have the same accomplishment at least up to the end of high school. The current government has set a high bar to achieve: everybody should finish lower secondary education (up to grade nine) and 75% of a cohort should finish high school. These are very high expectations since only a little more than 40% of each cohort finish high school today—in many cases with a large delay with the theoretical age given the large retention rate in primary and secondary school.

This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also published interviews with Diane Ravitch, and the contributors to Leading Educational Change: Global Issues, Challenges, and Lessons on Whole-System Reform (Teachers College Press, 2013) edited by Helen Janc Malone, have participated in a series of blogs from Education Week.

Summer break

Here at IEN we are taking a short break at the end of summer so that we can gear up for the new school year. Please check back with us in September when we will share new posts.