Ability grouping is problematic because it does not boost productivity in the school as a whole, but it does tend to magnify inequality.
Other countries offer examples that can help us design assessments that are richer and deeper and require students not just to memorize concepts, but to solve problems and demonstrate their readiness for college and careers. In Scotland, implementation guidelines for this policy stress the importance of assessing students in varied ways and across multiple domains, including breadth as well as depth of knowledge and testing students' abilities to apply knowledge to new situations.
The underlying belief that explains our refusal to pay attention to what other countries do is that we are different. But, why bother participating in international assessments of student learning if we are not going to make a serious attempt to study the policies and processes that seem to produce consistently better and more equitable results than we are able to get from our schools?
OECD PISA has ranked Canada among the best performing education systems in the world. There are some importance differences between the Canadian and the U.S. education systems, including better trained teachers, strong commitment to equity, better basic services, smaller funding level differences, and curricula and teaching methods consistency across schools and districts.
The isolationism about education policy is changing in the U.S., and there are important implications for U.S. education policy from the experience of other countries.
This post responds to queries across the week, and highlights a promising model from the field.
When a science of improvement is organized around causal thinking that links hypothesized solutions to rigorous problem analysis and common data, we accelerate learning for improvement at scale.
This post argues that we want to reassemble the pieces of the education sector in a different way, that would create upward rather than downward spirals.
Networked improvement communities may be a vehicle to help us overcome "not invented here" attitude and to encourage improvement and knowledge accumulation.
This piece describes problems in an "implementation chain logic" view of reform and suggests an alternative.