No surprise? Predictions for education in 2022 include hopes for attention to student engagement, well-being, and climate change

Following last week’s scan of education stories that look back at 2021, this week, Thomas Hatch pulls together some of the articles that make predictions for education in 2022.

Echoing the hope and despair in the stories reflecting on 2021, many of the predictions for education in 2022 highlight continuing concerns about learning loss, stress and anxiety, as well as hopes for addressing student engagement, well-being, and climate change.  Thomas Arnett captured the conflicting sentiments, writing: 

In most places, fighting the current fires in conventional schools will suck up most of the oxygen in the room. Nonetheless, my hope for 2022 is that among the roughly 13,000 school systems in our country, there will be a substantial subset that launch new versions of schooling that five to ten years from now will prove that they offer exactly what many students need. — From How will 2022 reshape K-12 education?

The US & Around the World

61 predictions about edtech, equity, and learning in 2022World News Era

61 predictions about edtech, equity, and learning in 2022

Top education predictions for 2022: ‘Need for trained teachers to increase’, say expertsIndia Today

8 K-12 trends to watch in 2022: Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing policy pingpong, curricular controversy and more are set to impact schools this year,  K-12 Dive

3 Big Education Wishes for 2022 (focusing on personalization, grace, and renewing the Every Student Succeeds Act), Michael Horn & Diane Tavener, Class Disrupted (podcast)

What’s in store for K-12 schools in 2022?

Could we see a mass exodus of teachers fed up with educating through a pandemic? How might two years of learning in a pandemic impact test scores? Will Universal Pre-K ever become a reality?

What’s in store for K-12 schools in 2022? Class Dismissed

9 mostly pessimistic 2022 education predictions for 2022 – From a teacher, Larry Ferlazzo, Answer Sheet (Washington Post)

4 educator trends going into 2022, Abbas Manjee, SmartBrief

Five 2021 education stories that will continue to matter in 2022, Yasmine Askari,  MinnPost

 Trends Shaping Education in 2022, Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart

Education Technology 

13 Predictions for K–12 and Technology in 2022THEJournal

Five Ed Tech Trends To Look Out For In 2022, Nick Morrison, Forbes

Pandemic Gave Teachers New Insight into Ed Tech. Now, it May Be the Next Big Thing in 2022 — and Beyond,

[W]hile some districts are still spending stimulus money just to spend it instead of taking the time to research and evaluate their options, most have a better understanding of technology than they did before COVID-19 struck and are demanding information about the tools students use. 

Pandemic Gave Teachers New Insight into Ed Tech, Tim Newcomb, The74

Special Education

Two key predictions around special education for 2022The Hill

Higher Education

7 higher education trends to watch in 2022Higher Ed Dive

US Education Policy

What education policy experts are watching for in 2022Brookings

Albany 101: Here are the big NYC education issues to watch in the new legislative sessionChalkbeat

California education issues to watch in 2022 — and predictions of what will happenEdSource

Hope and Despair? Scanning Education Stories that look back at 2021

This week, Thomas Hatch pulls together some of the blog posts and news stories that look back at 2021. Next week: A roundup of predictions for 2022.

Schools Week in the UK summed up what many may have been feeling, declaring “The year a return to normal only got further away” while US News & World Report looked for a silver lining, exploring “How 2021 set the the stage for a seismic overhaul of education.” For my own part, I tried to both look back and look ahead in a commentary for the Journal of Educational Change on what can change in schools (“We will now resume our regular programming”):

“What if this is a moment when we can re-imagine education?” But “What if it isn’t? What if, despite the changes wrought by the pandemic, the conditions that sustain conventional schooling remain in place?”

Here, in no particular order, are a few more headlines from the “reviews” of 2021 from some of our regular sources.

Around the World

From learning recovery to the futures of education, UNESCO

Grave violations of children’s rights in conflict on the rise around the world, UNICEF

Meet Gen Covid: Growing up under the shadow of Covid-19, the young in Asia talk about loss, gain and hope, Straits Times

2021 in education: a year in review (UK), Twinkl Digest

The year a return to normal only got further away (UK), Schools Week

2021 in Review, FreshEd Podcast (Will Brehm with Susan Robertson & Mario Novelli)

In the US

Education in 2021: 10 Photos That Capture a Chaotic Year, Education Week

Protesters against a COVID-19 mandate gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting at the Clark County Government Center, on Aug. 12, 2021, in Las Vegas.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

2021 in pictures: Images that captured the tragedy and resilience that marked 2021, Hechinger Report

16 charts that changed the way we looked at America’s schools in 2021, The 74

Education data legislation review 2021: State activity, Data Quality Campaign

Top 2021 education legislative trends, Education Commission of the States

Survival Mode: Educators Reflect on a Tough 2021 and Brace for the Future, EdSurge

After A Year Of Uncertainty, College Presidents Reflect On COVID-19’s Impact, EdSurge

2021 education year in review, The Report Card with Nat Malkus (in conversation with and Erica GreenLaura Meckler, and Eesha Pendharkar)

Proof Points 2021 Year in Review: A reading mystery, test-optional admissions and the problem with small classes, Hechinger Report

Philanthropy Awards, 2021, Inside Philanthropy

IEN’s Top Stories from 2021

IEN will return later this week with our annual look back/look ahead, rounding up some of the stories and blogs summarizing major developments in education last year and predicting what we might be talking about this year. In the meantime, you can revisit some of our top tweets and most visited blog posts from 2021.

Top tweets

The ARC Education Project: Rethinking Secondary Examinations and Credentials buff.ly/3DGSAbV from @arceducation1

A Beginner’s Mind: #RememberingRichardElmore from @SRinconGallardo via @intl_ed_news @hgse buff.ly/3uuybU8 Richard left a huge question for us to tackle: Will schools & school systems figure out a way to move away from #schooling & cultivate powerful #learning instead?

In the #Netherlands: The collateral damage to children’s education during lockdown buff.ly/3pbOja9 from @pengzell @ArunFrey @MarkDVerhagen via @voxeu

What are professional learning networks? What do we know about them? Find out more in The Power of Professional Learning Networks from @ChrisBrown1475 & Cindy Poortman buff.ly/34IyGhs via @intl_ed_news & @JPCCJournal

Evidence from #Germany that #schoolclosures did not mitigate infections among young people or adults in the summer of 2020 – when infection rates were low – or during the #pandemic’s autumn resurgence buff.ly/3uHUNjL from @claravobi @borusyak @UtaSchoenberg via @voxeu

IEN will return next week with our annual look back/look ahead, rounding up some of the stories and blogs summarizing major developments in education last year and predicting what we might be talking about this year. In the meantime, you can return to some of our most visited blog posts from 2021 and review previous end-of-year/New-Year roundups.

Top Blog Posts from 2021:

Surprise, Controversy, and the “Double Reduction Policy” in China

The central government determined that the academic stress and pressure in education is having an irreversible, harmful influence on the next generation of the country and concluded that it must take harsh action to change the situation by administrative force.

What has remote learning looked like in Finland? School closures, equity, stress, and well-being

From Learning Loss to Learning to Read: High Leverage Strategies for School Improvement

Beyond Fear & Everyone is a Volcano: Yinuo Li On What It Takes To Create New Schools

Ways with Learning: Conversations with Shirley Brice Heath About Nonformal Education

Rethinking where and when education happens and how learning contributes to building a more equitable world

Yearly Reviews & Predictions:

Looking Ahead at Education Policy in the US in 2021

Looking Back to Look Ahead – Rounding up Key Education Stories From 2020

New year, new predictions (for 2020)?

Rounding up the issues of 2019 and the 2010’s – Part 1 Part 2 

Roundup of Education Reflections and Predictions 2018

International Education News: 2017 in Review

Happy New Year!

IEN will return next week with our annual look back/look ahead, rounding up some of the stories and blogs summarizing major developments in education last year and predicting what we might be talking about this year. In the meantime, you can return to some of our most visited blog posts from 2021 and review previous end-of-year/New-Year roundups.

Top Blog Posts from 2021:

Surprise, Controversy, and the “Double Reduction Policy” in China

The central government determined that the academic stress and pressure in education is having an irreversible, harmful influence on the next generation of the country and concluded that it must take harsh action to change the situation by administrative force.

What has remote learning looked like in Finland? School closures, equity, stress, and well-being

From Learning Loss to Learning to Read: High Leverage Strategies for School Improvement

Beyond Fear & Everyone is a Volcano: Yinuo Li On What It Takes To Create New Schools

Ways with Learning: Conversations with Shirley Brice Heath About Nonformal Education

Rethinking where and when education happens and how learning contributes to building a more equitable world

Yearly Reviews & Predictions:

Looking Ahead at Education Policy in the US in 2021

Looking Back to Look Ahead – Rounding up Key Education Stories From 2020

New year, new predictions (for 2020)?

Rounding up the issues of 2019 and the 2010’s – Part 1 Part 2 

Roundup of Education Reflections and Predictions 2018

International Education News: 2017 in Review

Equity, Inclusion and Educational Change: The Lead the Change Interview with Patricia Virella

This week, Patricia Virella discusses her work on equity, inclusion and educational change in the December Lead the Change (LtC) interview. Virella is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University who focuses on urban educational leadership. The LtC series is produced by the Educational Change Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research AssociationJennie Weiner, Chair; Olga O. Fellus, Program Chair; Corinne Brion, Secretary/Treasurer; Alexandra Lamb, Series Editor; Cynthia Wise, Social Media Coordinator. A pdf of the fully formatted interview is available on the LtC website.

Lead the Change: The 2022 AERA theme is Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century and charges researchers and practitioners with dismantling oppressive education systems and replacing them with antiracist, equity, and justice-oriented systems. To achieve these goals, researchers must engage in new methodologies, cross-disciplinary thinking, global perspectives, and community partnerships to respond to the challenges of the 21st century including the COVID-19 Pandemic and systemic racism among other persistent inequities. Given the dire need for all of us to do more to dismantle oppressive systems and reimagine new ways of thinking and doing in our own institutions and education more broadly, what specific responsibility do educational change scholars have in this space? What steps are you taking to heed this call? 

Patricia Virella: I think, for me, the idea of dismantling oppressive systems comes with a collective agreement that the systems in place ARE, in fact, oppressive in nature. I’ve observed, in some of the research I’ve read, researchers ignoring this important and blatant fact in their work. For me, when I am writing or teaching, I always try to embed something that addresses oppressive systems and include how equity, diversity, and inclusion should be part of school leadership or research implementation to encourage change. I draw on a variety of texts such as the canon of critical education work as well as Courageous Conversations by Singleton (2014), bell hooks, Toni Morrison and Paulo Friere. I also talk a lot with my dear friend Jonathan Foy who is on the ground continuously challenging what equity and inclusion looks like in the NYC Public Schools. He always tells me that I have to enter into the conversations around equity with a genuine curiosity and understanding that this work is progressive and demands careful attention to how we move the needle. As a collective group of scholars, we have to all agree that educational change happens through risks and bold actions. Audre Lorde (2018) said “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Change cannot happen if we continue to do the same things as a field. Meaning, if we are seeking true social justice and liberation, we must liberate and open up the ways we research, where we research, and admit to the white supremacist nature of academe. I recently read an article about how a librarian developed citation templates for Indigenous oral teachings (Kornei, 2021). This is the change and inclusion we need to move the field along, inclusion of the diverse ways people make meaning of the world to capture it authentically in our research. Furthermore, there is no change if scholars use methodologies that maintain the status-quo of our inequitable society. One example is when I work with other scholars and they may say “but I’m not a critical scholar,” my response to them is “but are you here to transform this system?” Criticality is one element, and equity is much bigger than one element, and they are not mutually exclusive. But also, isn’t our job as scholars to always be critical and examine the world so we can make dutiful change? Equity is necessary because some population will always be excluded, thus you cannot rest on one identification or classification as a researcher (i.e.: a critical scholar). We must always fight to bring the oppressed as Freire (1970) said and stoke the fires of liberation. Otherwise, as a scholar, you are helping to maintain the systems of oppression designed for exclusion. Change takes bold risks and equity and inclusion must be at the heart of the work researchers, policymakers, and leaders do.

Change takes bold risks and equity and inclusion must be at the heart of the work researchers, policymakers, and leaders do.

LtC: Given some of your work examining educational policymaking in Puerto Rico, what are some of the major lessons the field of Educational Change can learn from your work and experience?

PV: I love researching Puerto Rico because there is so much happening on the island that needs to be highlighted, and there is a huge gap in the literature that uses Puerto Rico as the setting. Most people have no idea that Puerto Rico is the 3rd biggest US school district if you add the territories to the continental rankings. Puerto Rico is a geopolitically and socio-politically complex space given its political status with the United States as an unincorporated territory. This complexity makes Puerto Rico appear to be a very different context than any stateside school district, but there are many similarities to New York, Chicago and L.A. school districts. Thus, the field can learn from Puerto Rico’s education system. Specifically, we need to understand the challenges, the oppression, the bountiful culture and the fight for authenticity in the face of neoliberalism – which I believe many urban districts are constantly battling.
One thing I think educational change as a field can learn from my work is how policies implemented in Puerto Rico affect a population in an unincorporated territory that is clearly delineated as a “postcolonial” space, and yet still has many of the functions of being under colonial rule. That complexity, in and of itself, is something we can learn from. As a field, we’re narrowing our scope in deleterious ways by not looking at where these policies are taking place and where there are spaces of experimentation that can further educational change. Finally, the rich traditions, history, and orgullo (pride in Spanish – but we always say orgullo in PR) of Puerto Rico should be seen as strengths, and researchers should consider how these strengths support students in Puerto Rico. There’s a lot we can learn from Puerto Rico and by not studying it, it leaves a blind spot in understanding educational change across the entirety of the United States and its territories as well as globally.

LtC: In some of your recent work examining equity- oriented principal leadership during a crisis, you highlight the importance of an equity-orientation from both individuals and systems in order to fully support students. In the current political climate, how might districts support the development of equity-oriented leaders?

PV: I think this is a very interesting question because what I find is that districts generally have a very clear sense, at least on paper, of what they want as far as equity in their districts. They have a mission statement that talks about equity oriented pedagogical practices or disability services for their students, or they may have diverse curricula that includes lgbtqia+ perspectives as well as diverse racial and cultural perspectives. But where I don’t see districts going far enough is in how they help their leaders to enact equity-oriented leadership practices. That really comes down to the individual leaders and what their values are and how those values come out in their leadership. For example, I found in my research that school leaders act equitably based on their values and beliefs about social justice in schools. The data suggested that the equity-oriented responses were not driven from district initiatives or even what the principals learned in their preparation programs. This is inherently problematic because, in my mind, equity should always be part of a leader’s lens. So, what you see is a disconnect between an espoused theory of equity and a theory in action or use – of principals who lead equitably. This disconnect explains a little of why I saw so much variance in how leaders responded to a crisis in equity-oriented ways. I argue that again, as a field, we need to prepare leaders through an equity-oriented lens and develop their ability to execute equity-oriented leadership in concretized actions and activities.

“Equity should always be part of a leader’s lens.”

If school leaders don’t believe in equity- oriented leadership, that’s not a viable option because our children live in a diverse world and deserve an equity-oriented learning experience and setting. Thus, one thing I’m currently working on, and I’m very excited about, is how we train leaders in an equity-oriented leadership model that moves away from simply focusing on their personal values. Equity situated transformation is about the district getting clear about what an equity-oriented leader does, how they respond to crises, and how they respond to the day-to-day challenges of leading a school. Also, it’s important for districts to give leaders, who are equity-oriented and doing the work in this space, trust to continue on the path they are on and perhaps even become models of what equity-oriented leadership concretely looks like. In one study (Virella & Woulfin, 2021), I found the highest level of equity orientation was this idea of modeling equity so the leader is showing the faculty and the district what equity looks
like. This framing is based in Galloway and Ishimaru’s (2017) work. One participant was incredibly bold and challenged the district’s equity orientation calling attention to the fact that the mission statement in her district said that they are an equity-oriented mission-driven school; however, when the participant looked at, and peeled back, the layers of what that looks like in their schools it was just lip service. And so, instead of being chastised by the district for questioning the status quo, this leader was bolstered by the district and ended up leading an entirely new school under this equity-oriented model.

LtC: Educational Change expects those engaged in and with schools, schooling, and school systems to spearhead deep and often difficult transformation. How might those in the field of Educational Change best support these individuals and groups through these processes?

PV: I think about this a lot because the work that I do specifically, researching how equity-oriented leadership intersects with crisis leadership in schools, is incredibly difficult. I think oftentimes scholars walk into schools to encourage diversity, equity, inclusion, and access and yet this may be the first time these difficult conversations are happening for those schools. And so, how do researchers and leaders, as a collective, debrief and share best practices and really think about both the impact we’re having on the schools and the emotional and cognitive toll this work has on us? As a Black woman who is an Afro-Latina doing this type of equity work and having these difficult conversations, I’m confronting racism right at the head. It is not always blatant racism, but rather passive aggressive racism because the participants are disengaged from learning about the nuance of POC, or they don’t find value in the culture of POC, or they have a Eurocentric notion of what intellectual curiosity looks like and how that appears in students. There are times where as a group of scholars we have to find a way for us to unpack what’s happening so that we can keep marshaling change in schools. It’s particularly important for scholars to support the next generation as they navigate the academy. One way I’ve found to do this is to create an authentic community. I have been very fortunate to work with professors such as Dr. Sarah Woulfin, Dr. Ramon Goings, Dr. Monica Byrne-Jimenez, Dr. Roman Liera, Dr. Jennie Weiner, and Dr. Blanca Vega to name a few who help me develop my writing so I can be my authentic self. To pay this forward, I have developed http://myacademicwritingroutine.com/ to support future scholars who are championing to make the world more equitable and bring out voices of the subaltern. It is also a space to learn how to develop writing routines with academia in mind and break down the Ivory Tower (Freire, 1970) where so many of us are held back or kept away. I want this space to be a place where scholars can converge, learn from one another and feel they can do the work that they feel will transform and liberate their field.

LtC: Where do you perceive the field of Educational Change is going? What excites you about Educational Change now and in the future?

PV: Right now, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for educational change and there are some discourses around racial and social justice, equity, and inclusion across scholars and school communities. There is great work discussing decolonizing educational research from Leigh Patel in her book Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability (Patel, 2015) and from Venus Evans-Winters
(2020), and Introduction to Intersectional Qualitative Research (Esposito & Evans-Winters, 2021. These are important because we must challenge white, Eurocentric research methods. We also need to bolster voices like Rosa L. River-McCutchen who wrote Radical Care: Leading for Justice in Urban Schools (2021). So, this path of research excites me, but what I worry about is the way that education, as
a field, has ebbs and flows. When I look at the research and I see how much large urban districts are surveyed, researched, and quantified, I worry that, as scholars, we are researching for our benefit and not researching for the greater good of the children in urban communities, for the families who have to go through so much to get a fair shake because of the rampant racism in our country. What I hope to see in the future is scholars en masse asking, how does this research help to dismantle these oppressive systems? I want that to be on the minds of all researchers, not just critical scholars, not just ed change
scholars. We need to be really thinking, not necessarily about the scholarly metrics of our work, but of the possibility of transformation and liberation of schools and children as Paulo Freire would see it. Researchers, leaders, and policy makers must help to liberate oppressed communities and honor their inherent value.

References

Esposito, J., & Evans-Winters, V. E. (2022). Introduction to intersectional qualitative research. Sage. 

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum. 

Galloway, M. K., & Ishimaru, A. M. (2017). Equitable leadership on the ground: Converging on high-leverage practices. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25 (2). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2205

Kornei, K. (2021, November 10). Academic Citations Evolve to Include Indigenous Oral Teachings. Retrieved from https://eos.org/articles/academic-citations-evolve-to-include-indigenous-oral-teachings 

Lorde, A. (2018). The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. Penguin Classics.

Patel, L. (2016). Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability. Routledge.

Rivera-McCutchen, R. L. (2021). Radical care: Leading for justice in urban schools. Teachers

College Press.

Singleton, G. E. (2014). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. Corwin Press.

Virella, P. M., & Woulfin, S. (2021). Leading after the storm: New York City principal’s deployment of equity-oriented leadership post-Hurricane Maria. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. https://doi.org/10.1177/17411432211022778.

Education and Innovation 2021: The WISE Education Summit

The 2021 WISE Summit hosted thousands of education stakeholders and innovators from around the globe for a discussion of the current state and the future of education. Featured sessions included the importance of STEM for the next generation (Gitanjali Rao), the role of philanthropy (Naza Alakija) and girl empowerment through media (Jessica Posner Odede).

The 3-day WISE summit has been held every 2 years since 2009 as part of an effort to revitalize education and provide a global platform for the development of new ideas and solutions. Under the theme: “Generation Unmute: Reclaiming Our Future Through Education,” sessions were built around five thematic tracks: 

  1. Leading for the Future: Transforming Education to Thrive in a World of Uncertainty
  2. Mute/Unmute: Edtech and the Promise of Personalized Learning
  3. Learning to Be Well: Putting Social and Emotional Learning at the Heart of Education
  4. Learning for Life: Bridging the Education to Employment Gap through Equity and Inclusion
  5. From Globalization to Glocalization: Leveraging the Creative Potential of Local Learning Ecosystems

This year’s 2021 WISE Prize for Education Laureate Wendy Kopp was recognized by WISE for her contribution to quality education through creating Teach For All, a diverse global network building collective leadership in classrooms and communities and sharing solutions across borders to ensure all children can fulfil their promise.

Additionally, each year, the WISE Awards recognize and promote six successful and innovative projects that are addressing global educational challenges. These projects represent a growing resource of expertise and sound educational practice, such as:

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/the-happiness-curriculum/

The Delhi Government’s Happiness Curriculum, India

Dream and Dream partnered with the Delhi government to include social emotional learning in the school curricula. The Happiness Curriculum aims to address the well-being and happiness of students with a strong emphasis on mindfulness, self-awareness, critical thinking, reflection & other social-emotional skills.

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/lets-all-learn-to-read/

Let’s All Learn to Read, Colombia

The Luker Foundation is a comprehensive and innovative model for learning literacy for elementary school students. Using face-to-face and digital strategies such as:

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/onebillion/

onebillion, United Kingdom

onebillion children delivers a comprehensive numeracy and literacy software, known as onecourse, to adapt to the level of any child, providing personalized learning sessions with no need for login.

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/profuturo-digital-education-program/

ProFuturo Digital Education Program, Spain

The Telefonica Foundation and “la Caixa” Foundation focuses on teacher training and support, to help them strengthen their teaching practice, their capacity to manage the classroom, and their digital skills so they can integrate technology in the classroom and offer the best education to their students.

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/taleemabad/

Taleemabad, Pakistan

The Orenda Project offers a highly localized and contextualized animated series aligned with the National Curriculum of Pakistan that teaches children English, Urdu, Maths and Science across the K-6 spectrum.

https://www.wise-qatar.org/project/trauma-informed-schools/

Trauma Informed Schools, Turkey

The Maya Vaikh Foundation aims to promote trauma-informed education within Turkish public schools and transform these schools into a safe space for children suffering from traumatic experiences. The intervention applies a multi-pronged approach targeting the children and the entire community surrounding them, including their caregivers, teachers, school administrators and school counsellors.

Related links:

Everyone speaks the language of football, Street Child United CEO says at 2021 WISE Summit, The Peninsula

2021 WISE Prize for Education is presented to Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach For All, Yahoo Finance

‘Generation Unmute’: WISE education summit convenes in Doha, Aljazeera

WISE calls for innovative solutions for education, The Peninsula

‘Education needs to be changed in design and delivery’, Gulf Times

Academic experts discuss future of education in post-Covid-19 scenario, Gulf Times

The ARC Education Project: Rethinking Secondary Examinations and Credentials

On November 9th 2021, the ARC Education Project hosted its bi-monthly ThoughtMeet (TM) event on ‘Rethinking secondary examinations and credentials.’ ARC Talks were provided by ARC co-founder Yngve Lindvig (CEO of LearnLab), as well as global thought leaders Dr. Linda Darling-Hamond (Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University) and Dr. Dylan Wiliam (Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the University of London). This article highlights the key ideas and issues that were discussed by the ARC TM participants, representatives from the seven ARC member systems and its global partners. A detailed description from the November meeting can be found here; additional videos and other resources can be found here. The Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) is an international policy learning network that was established in 2016 to advance educational change based on eight guiding principles: equity, excellence, inclusion, wellbeing, democracy, sustainability, human rights, and professionally run systems.

What is the key problem with secondary examinations and credentials today? 

With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting formal schooling for millions of students across the globe, the assessment of student learning remains a major challenge for education systems. Since 2020, there has been widespread interruption and cancellation of high-stakes national and graduating professional examinations, which has had an impact on student progression, certification, qualification and graduation (UNESCO, 2020; World Bank, 2020). This has left many education systems in a unique situation to explore new and alternative assessment approaches. In an effort to support ARC member systems in ways to rethink secondary examinations and credentials, the November 9th ARC ThoughtMeet challenged participants to consider: What kind of assessment do we need, and can we have in the future?

What’s been learned?

One of the key issues raised during the TM was that all assessment tools and methods have problematic elements and much depends on their purpose, use and context. As Wiliam highlighted in his ARC talk, “There is no perfect assessment system, there are always trade-offs and the big idea is: What trade-offs are you making?”  Specifically, the type of assessment used by education systems has meanings, social consequences and effects for members. They help us know something about students and send messages to all stakeholders about what is considered valuable.

As Darling-Hammond points out, many of the high-stakes assessment policies currently in place are linked to systemic inequity and bias. For example, she described how the high-stakes SAT in the United States of America has become “a better predictor of race than it is of success in college.” For Darling-Hammond, more meaningful assessment methods focus on ‘learning ability,’ which she describes as the abilities to transfer and apply knowledge; analyze, evaluate, weigh and balance; communicate and collaborate; take initiative; find and use resources; plan and implement; self-manage and improve; as well as learn to learn. As such, performance assessments are gaining attention in a number of international education systems as a means to not only strengthen secondary education but also to better prepare students to succeed in post-secondary tasks. Yet, as Wiliam reminds us, there are also trade-offs when moving to use more authentic performance assessments. As he notes, there is an element of ‘luck’ around the particular type of performance assessment students are given, which brings in a degree of unreliability, referred to as person-task interactions in psychometrics.

What are the implications for policy/practice? 

As noted earlier, Wiliam invites us to be aware that assessment improvement always includes making trade-offs. Although some aspects will be better when implementing a change, others will worsen. It is therefore important to understand why things are the way they are in a particular system. Moreover, the politicization of assessment has led to money and resource allocation for high-stakes testing, and to decisions made by politicians rather than by education professionals. Thus, public education systems and post-secondary institutions need to work together to co-construct solutions and desired assessment outcomes. Additionally, Yngve Lindvig reminds us in his provocation that large-scale national exams are not measuring what they should and are in fact destroying schools’ opportunity to foster creativity, deep learning and problem-solving among students. He argues that locally-tailored, trusted, formative assessment systems, with clear goals, should be designed with the help of teachers and education experts. Darling-Hammond points out that there are several systems exploring alternative and innovative approaches to qualifications assessment that are being co-created between educators and policy leaders. For example, the Reimagining College Access (RCA) initiative in the US is a national effort to advance the use of high-quality performance assessments and evaluate students’ ability and agency through course completion, portfolios and a defense of ideas before a committee. Wiliam also reminds us that assessment developers should not do the work of curriculum philosophers. Curriculum content should be clear in order for assessment design to be a value free endeavor. He proposes a principled approach to assessment design (distributed, synoptic, extensive, manageable, trusted) with clearly defined underlying constructs, useful in the context where it will be implemented.

What’s next?

Like previous ARC TMs, this event stimulated thinking and provoked further questions for participants. A more detailed capture of the discussion can be found in the summary document. The summary also includes a number of questions to spark future discussions on assessment, secondary examinations and credentials, such as:

  • How do we make assessment relevant for the 21st-century skills we wish to promote?
  • What does a principled and decolonized approach to assessment design look like? How can we examine the voices that have been and continue to be marginalized and excluded in assessment processes?
  • How can systems make high-stakes assessment an experience of deep learning? Can it be an engaging and motivating process for students, while also assessing the skills and learning abilities of students?
  • What role does technology play in assessment, such as formative real-time assessment tools, digital portfolios, etc?
  • How can we move beyond the one measure of achievement and/or aptitude in the decision-making of high-stakes assessment?

— Mariana Domínguez González, Trista Hollweck & Daphne Varghese

Initial provocation by Yngve Lindvig: 

Progressive Pedagogy and Seamless Technology 

Yngve Lindvig’s provocation challenges systems to consider how to empower teacher and student voices in assessments, steer away from the practice of “teaching to the test”, and consider the benefits of using digital learning tools to collect data as a means to increase formative assessment and reduce summative assessments. He also urges policymakers to involve educators in the decision-making process.

Presentation by Linda Darling-Hammond: 

Whither Secondary Assessment? 

In this ARC Talk Linda Darling-Hammond challenges current assessment practices and offers “learning ability” as an alternative approach to measure student achievement. She outlines what she means by learning ability and provides examples from international education systems.

Other helpful resources relating to Linda Darling-Hammond’s presentation: 

Presentation by Dylan Wiliam: 

Rethinking secondary examinations and credentials

Dylan Wiliam reminds us that assessment systems are never perfect. Rather, they are contextual and all potential changes can lead to both positive and negative effects. In this ARC Talk he describes what he means by a principled approach to assessment desi

Other helpful resources relating to Dylan Wiliam’s presentation:

About the Atlantic Rim Collaboratory

The Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) is an international policy learning network that was established in 2016 to advance educational change based on eight guiding principles: equity, excellence, inclusion, wellbeing, democracy, sustainability, human rights, and professionally run systems. Headquartered at the University of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) since 2019, ARC brings together senior public officials (i.e ministers and deputy ministers of education), professional association leaders (i.e. unions and inspectorates) and other key stakeholders from its seven education member systems (Iceland, Ireland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Scotland, Uruguay and Wales), global partners (International Confederation of Principals) and international experts and scholars to discuss, debate and exchange knowledge about educational policy issues and to formulate responses suited to their contexts. One of the founding ideas behind ARC is to tear down the walls between countries and regions, as well as between educational researchers and politicians, in order to pursue the most fundamental ideas of what it means to be educated in today’s world for the mutual benefit of all ARC-systems and future generations of students worldwide. Every year, ARC members meet at the annual Summit hosted by one of the member systems. However, since 2020, in addition to a virtual summit, ARC has also hosted bi-monthly virtual ARC ThoughtMeets (TMs) for its members. The TM outreach series was designed to stimulate and support a global educational movement for equitable, inclusive and sustainable educational solutions to COVID-19.

Education Innovations Around the World: The HundrED Global Collection for 2022

The 2022 HundrED Innovation Summit introduced HundrED’s latest collection of 100 education innovations and featured discussions on family engagement (Greg Behr, Rebecca Wintrhop, Lassi Leponiemi, Crystal Green), fostering social emotional skills (Crystal Green, Paul Frisoli), and conversations on leadership and equity, learning environments and a variety of other topics.

HundrED has been curating these collections every year since 2016 as part of an effort to support the spread of “pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations” in multiple contexts. In their report on the 2022 Global Collection, Crystal Green and Clara García Millán described the latest collection as including many innovations in “areas where there is often a lack of—or a gap—in traditional school education; for example, collaborative learning, creativity, critical thinking, play, etc.”  This year’s innovations come from 43 different countries with 57% from the Global South and 43% from the Global North.

This year’s innovations addressed a wide range of topics with 20% focusing on professional development or collaborative learning:

  • 20% Professional Development
  • 20% Collaborative Learning
  • 19% Creative Thinking
  • 16% Play
  • 15% Project Based Learning
  • 12% Real World Learning
  • 12% Parents and Caregivers
  • 11% Learning Environments
  • 11% Gender Equality
  • 11% Rural Education
  • 10% Literacy
  • 10% Mental Health
  • 10% Global Citizenship
  • 10% Visual Arts
  • 10% Critical Thinking

The evaluation process encompassed 2,204 reviews by 150 academics, educators, innovators, funders and HundrED staff with 100 innovations selected as the most impactful and scalable education innovations today including:

Learning about Forests (LEAF), Denmark

LEAF is a not-for-profit organization established in 2000. It is implemented in 26 countries, reaching a total of 10,038 schools, and has resulted in the planting of 84,243 trees. LEAF encourages environmental education through a project-based and real world learning approach. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9_dS6IcsRw

Innovamat, Spain

Innovamat reimagines math through manipulative material and dynamic lessons focused on problem-solving, communication skills, and critical thinking. Since its establishment in 2017, Innovamat has reached over 200,000 students and more than 12,000 teachers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRCT4oiYdF0

Teach2030, United Kingdom

Teach2030 offers easy-to-use, easy-to-scale digital professional development courses to teachers in developing countries. The platform minimizes technical challenges by offering courses with less than 50MB. The program has supported 10,000 teachers from over 40 countries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsf3o559d-A

Slam Out Loud, India

Through a five year program, Slam Out Loud places professional artists in classrooms to help build creative confidence skills like communication, critical thinking and empathy in children from disadvantaged communities. Currently, Slam Out Loud has supported 950 villages across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra reaching out to 50,000 children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG_TICrkTRw

Semillas de Apego, Colombia

Semillas de Apego is a group-based psychosocial program for caregivers with children in their early childhood, that promotes healthy child-parent attachments as a pathway for a proper development among children exposed to violence. The program helps children reach their full potential, by fostering caregivers’ mental health and their capacity to become a source of emotional protection.

https://hundred.org/en/innovations/semillas-de-apego#20661fce

Nube Lab, Chile

Nube was launched in 2012 in Chile with the aim of bringing Contemporary Art to Education. Through collaborative creation strategies, artists-professors, designers and researchers develop resources to enhance a transformative educational experience based on contemporary art, offering concrete solutions to develop sustainable, interdisciplinary and a context-based education.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zGTeficJuE

Chili Padi Academy, Indonesia

Chili Padi Academy aims to solve complex environmental and social challenges via an environmental leadership and accelerator program for senior high school students in Southeast Asia. The program nurtures a community of environmental leaders invested in collaboration and the healthy development of the region.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwQoUO4f9ss

Giving Thanks Around The World 2021

With tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US, we wanted to highlight opportunities to support some of the organizations that have been part of IEN posts this year as well as those featured in The Education We Need for a Future We Can’t Predict which came out this spring. These organizations provide just a small sample of the many people and programs that are making a difference across the globe.

Children’s Aid

IEN post: Beyond any one school: Abe Fernandez on the development of community schools and collective impact in New York City (Part 1)

Donate Here

Citizen Schools (Massachusetts, New York, and California)

Donate Here

IkamvaYouth (South Africa)

Donate Here

Kliptown Youth Program (South Africa)

Donate Here

New Visions for Public Schools (New York City)

Donate Here

Public Works

IEN post: Ways with Learning: Conversations with Shirley Brice Heath About Nonformal Education

Donate Here

Second Chance (Ethiopia, Liberia, and Lebanon)

Donate Here

Teaching Matters (New York City)

Donate Here

The Beam Center (Brooklyn, New York)

Donate Here

The Citizens Foundation (Pakistan)

Donate Here

Wordworks (South Africa)

Donate Here

Oppression, Trust, and the Development of Change Leadership: The Lead the Change Interview with Morgaen Donaldson

This week, Morgaen Donaldson discusses her work on the development of educators, policy and educational change in the November Lead the Change (LtC) interview Donaldson is Associate Dean for Research at the Neag School of Education, Director of the Center for Education Policy, Analysis, Research and Evaluation, and the Philip E. Austin Endowed Professor of Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Connecticut. The LtC series is produced by the Educational Change Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research AssociationJennie Weiner, Chair; Olga O. Fellus, Program Chair; Corinne Brion, Secretary/Treasurer; Alexandra Lamb, Series Editor; Cynthia Wise, Social Media Coordinator. A pdf of the fully formatted interview is available on the LtC website.

Lead the Change: The 2022 AERA theme is Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century and charges researchers and practitioners with dismantling oppressive education systems and replacing them with anti-racist, equity, and justice-oriented systems. To achieve these goals, researchers must engage in new methodologies, cross-disciplinary thinking, global perspectives, and community partnerships to respond to the challenges of the 21st century including the COVID-19 Pandemic and systemic racism among other persistent inequities. Given the dire need for all of us to do more to dismantle oppressive systems and reimagine new ways of thinking and doing in our own institutions and education more broadly, what specific responsibility do educational change scholars have in this space? What steps are you taking to heed this call?   

Morgaen Donaldson: Educational change scholars are vital to the effort to dismantle oppressive systems and reimagine new ways of thinking and doing in our own institutions. Educational change is about new principles and processes of operating, and it seems to me that scholars in this space often think and act with this mindset. For me, this work means trying to think of new ways to conceptualize problems and solutions across various disciplines or domains. For example, when confronting a problem in the workplace, I examine individuals’ needs, motivations, and incentives as well as organizational structures and cultures in identifying possible paths forward. I love this work; I’ve always loved puzzles and big, complex challenges without easy solutions. Conceptualizing new ways of thinking and doing is exciting. Trying to shift the culture and structure of our higher education institutions to embrace these novel approaches is often frustrating and takes a clear vision and great leadership skills. Within the organizations with which I am affiliated, I try to ask the question “Why not?” more often than the question “Why?” For example, my colleagues and I recently moved our Center for Education Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation out of a department and into the Neag School of Education writ large. In discussing our new mission, committee members advocated for including explicit partnerships with community members. At first, I shied away from this idea. It sounded too difficult and time-consuming for a center focused on policy research. With urging from one of my colleagues, I started asking why not involve community members? After all, they feel acutely policies’ impact (or lack thereof). Yes, it requires faculty members to think and act differently, but maybe this is exactly what we ought to be doing.  I also try to spend time examining problems before I start conceptualizing ways to address these challenges.

Dismantling oppressive systems is even more difficult because the layers of these systems are multi-faceted and oppression pervades and refracts through them. Educational change scholars must examine how oppression functions through these layers and commit to challenging and eliminating oppression at all levels, from the societal, to the organizational, to the inter-personal, to the intra-personal. This is hard and continuous work and scholars must commit to working over a lifetime to eradicate this oppression. Within my work, I try to keep equity in the forefront of my decision-making. I try to ask about how my actions will recreate, erode, or upend oppressive systems. Our actions and inactions often have inequitable reverberations, and I am working on anticipating the impact of my words and choices on equity and making decisions and consciously advance equity through my voice and my actions

LtC: Given your work focused on teacher and now principal evaluation and the challenge of ensuring the organizational and institutional infrastructure and capacity to engage in this work with fidelity and to ensure better outcomes for adult and student learning alike, what are some of the major lessons the field of Educational Change can learn from your work and experience?   

MD: I think policymakers, practitioners, and researchers are often looking for simple answers to complex problems. When I started my book on teacher evaluation (Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Teacher Evaluation), I was interested in learning what could help teacher evaluation make a difference in teachers’ instruction and students’ learning. Was it better feedback? More observations? More opportunity for structured reflection? Peer review? I learned that the answer to the complex problems plaguing teacher evaluation was in itself complex and somewhat unglamorous. My work uncovered that the best way to improve teacher evaluation is working over months and years to develop a clear, strong vision of effective teaching and deep learning and then maintain that focus across all initiatives in the school. Schools that lead with a strong vision of teaching and learning and incorporate teacher evaluation as one arm of their efforts towards these ends wind up implementing teacher evaluation relatively robustly. Schools that set aside everything to focus only on teacher evaluation generally do not do it that well. When schools prioritize good teaching and deep learning and this vision pervades everything the school does, teacher evaluation ends up working well.

“When schools prioritize good teaching and deep learning and this vision pervades everything the school does, teacher evaluation ends up working well.”

More recently, my colleagues and I conducted a five-year study of principal evaluation in three states. We have learned a great deal from this project. Overall, we found that about half of districts implemented principal evaluation as part of a suite of activities meant to bolster school leadership. In these districts, both district leaders and principals reported that principal evaluation helped them develop as leaders. In the other half of districts, principal evaluation was said to have marginal effects on practice, or effects only for the struggling principals. We further found that principals report more positive effects of principal evaluation when they perceive their principal evaluation system to support their intrinsic motivation. Lastly, we found that district leaders tend to implement principal evaluation differently in higher- and lower-performing districts. In higher-performing districts, leaders tend to implement evaluation processes organically, with little attention to the evaluation rubric or weights, but maintain a focus on instructional leadership. Their counterparts in lower-performing districts enact the processes as specified in the state guidelines and district policies but widen their lens beyond instructional leadership to include managerial, logistical, and community-oriented leadership (Donaldson et al., 2021; Mavrogordato et al., under review).

Ltc: In some of your recent work on teacher evaluation, you highlight the need for better understanding of whether and how evaluation can lead to improved teacher practices. Given your findings regarding the need for trust between evaluators and teachers and the development of social capital, what do you see as the most needed changes to policy/practice to address these issues in the field, in educators’ daily practice and interactions with colleagues and students alike?   

MD: Trust is essential for the success of every organization. It may be even more important for schools, given the segmented, egg crate structure of the organization (Lortie, 1975) and the fact that its chief purpose is to guide the learning and development of other people’s children. Moreover, in the case of teacher evaluation, lack of trust has often hampered its implementation and dampened any positive effects. Trust is central to teacher evaluation and the broader success of efforts to improve teaching and learning in schools. 

“Trust is essential for the success of every organization.”

So how could trust among teachers and between teachers and school leaders be deepened?  For one, schools can provide more opportunities for teachers and leaders to struggle together and in partnership about thorny problems of practice. When teachers and leaders come together on equal footing to examine a problem from multiple perspectives and in different dimensions, everyone plays a role in coming to a shared understanding of the problem and a shared commitment to solving it. Collaboration around problem-diagnosis and problem-solving can build a partnership among teachers and between teachers and leaders that also fosters trust along the way.

Trust between educators and caregivers is also incredibly important. I think this may be the relationship that is most in need of enhancements to trust. In preschool and the early grades, schools are generally welcoming to parents and caregivers, but parental/caregiver involvement gradually wanes as children grow older (Murray, McFarland-Piazza, & Harrison, 2015). To build trust, schools could open their doors to caregivers on a more regular basis, inviting parents into classroom lessons, asking students to share work and involve parents in creating projects. This will build trust between teachers and parents/caregivers and also help educators learn more about students’ families, which can then inform their teaching. There is a lot of work to be done in this area.

LtC: Educational Change expects those engaged in and with schools, schooling, and school systems to spearhead deep and often difficult transformation. How might those in the field of Educational Change best support these individuals and groups through these processes?    

MD: There are two ways that scholars in the field of Educational Change could better support these individuals who are spearheading deep and difficult transformation. First, I think scholars of Educational Change and other researchers need to work harder to translate their research into practice and reflect practice in their research design and methods. To me, the impact of my scholarship in schools and school districts is more important than the number of times it is cited. I think the field could and should do a much better job identifying topics that are meaningful to practitioners and communicating findings to the world of practice much more deliberately through ongoing engagement with the field. Educational Change scholars can also advocate that the practical impact of scholarly work should be recognized and rewarded in university promotion and tenure decisions. Second, I think scholars in the field of Educational Change have a responsibility to study and understand what it takes for individuals to make change and investigate the toll on these changemakers. COVID-19 has heightened our collective awareness of the challenges facing educators and the day-to-day struggles that many of them experience. I think the field of Educational Change should pay more attention to the resources and experiences of change leaders and examine the consequences of playing this role for them, their health, and their careers.

LtC: Where do you perceive the field of Educational Change is going? What excites you about Educational Change now and in the future?

MD: COVID-19 exacerbated the inequity and inequality that has plagued education systems worldwide. I think it is becoming more difficult for defenders of the status quo; the evidence that students and schools are struggling is stark. After a year and a half with educators and students struggling mightily to engage in a version of schooling, education cannot afford to start up again with “business as usual.” This provides a window for Educational Change scholars to reconceptualize how school and schooling are done. Educational Change scholars can and should partner with practitioners to envision and enact a new system that addresses persistent and pronounced inequities in schooling inputs and outcomes. No one would wish COVID-19 to have occurred, but Educational Change scholars have an opportunity to speak up and share their knowledge about how schools could radically reconfigure how education is done to provide greater benefits to students.

References

Donaldson, M.L. (2020). Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Teacher Evaluation: Understanding the Research and Theory. New York: Routledge.

Donaldson, M.L., Mavrogordato, M. Dougherty, S. & Youngs, P. (2021). Doing the ‘real’ work”: How superintendents’ sensemaking shapes principal evaluation policies and practices. AERA Open, 7(1).

Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. University of Chicago Press.

Mavrogordato, M., Youngs, P., Donaldson, M., & Dougherty, S.  (under review). “Principals experiences with principal evaluation in 22 small and mid-sized districts.”

Murray, E., McFarland-Piazza, L., & Harrison, L. J. (2015). Changing patterns of parent–teacher communication and parent involvement from preschool to school. Early child development and care185(7), 1031-1052.