Evolving Approaches to Accountability

This ongoing study explores the theories of action of underlying approaches to assessment, accountability and school improvement in “higher-performing” (Finland, Singapore, and the Netherlands) and “lower-performing countries (Norway and the United States).  This work is part of a larger effort to develop a deeper understanding of what “building capacity” entails and what it really takes to improve schools.   In particular, these studies show that many US educational policies focus on building human capital – knowledge, skills, and dispositions – but often underestimate the extent to which large-scale improvement also depends on technical capital – money, materials, facilities, technologies, and other tangible resources – and social capital – relationships, trust and social networks.

Images of Practice

The work on images of practice began at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with the development of websites that document teaching in both K-12 and teacher education.  Since that time, he has produced websites that include videos, interviews and curriculum materials that focus on teachers working with diverse students in New York City.  In conjunction with the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) and colleagues at Teachers College, he is also exploring how these websites can be used in teacher education and professional development to help new and veteran teachers develop more effective teaching practices. Recent work includes efforts to document the use of controversial topics in social studies, including a unit on freedom of speech.

Launched in 2011, provides a new source for information, research and resources related to educational policy and educational change outside the United States.  It provides a twitter feed and weekly blog posts that include links to news reports, journal articles and other online media that shed light on what’s new, what’s good, and what’s effective around the world.

New Jersey Network of Superintendents (NJNS)

Begun in 2008 and led by a design team supported by the Panasonic Foundation, the NJNS has focused on developing a community of practice for superintendents who are committed to developing their capabilities both as instructional leaders and as leaders for equity. The network meets monthly during the school year, and superintendents engage in classroom observations and instructional rounds in one another’s schools; identify issues of equity that may contribute to the underperformance of some groups of students in their districts; and develop theories of action to address these issues. The network works with superintendents to take a communal, collaborative, and systemic approach to addressing these issues in this district. Related research includes studies of the impact of instructional rounds on the development of social networks among administrators and documentation of district initiatives designed to create more equitable learning opportunities for all students.



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