Annotated Bibliography on Systemic Reform

Found in Tools for Describing Systemic Efforts: An Approach to Formative Evaluation, The National Center for Improving Science Edcuation of the NETWORK, Inc. with support from the United States Department of Energy, August, 1996.

1. Anderson, B. (September, 1993). " The Stages of Systemic Change." Educational Leadership, 51:1, 14-17.

Components: (1) Vision; (2) Public & Political Support (inclusion of diverse populations); (3) Networking and Partnerships; (4) Teaching and Learning Changes; (5) Administrative Roles and Responsibilities; (6) Policy Alignment.

There are phases in the process: (1) Maintenance of Old System; (2) Awareness; (3) Exploration; (4) Transition; (5) Emergence of New Infrastructure; (6) Predominance of New System.

2. Center for Policy Research in Education. (May, 1995). Reforming Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education: NSF's State Systemic Initiatives. CPRE Policy Brief. New Brunswick, NJ: Eagleton Institute of Politics.

An update on the progress of 25 statewide systemic initiatives funded by NSF, this brief describes states' efforts to (1) develop visions of good practice; (2) design strategies for implementing ambitious goals; (3) support teacher professional development; (4) build capacity to extend and sustain reforms; (5) support local initiatives and model sites; (6) align state policy; (7) reform higher education and teacher preparation; and (8) mobilize public and professional opinion. Issues and challenges discussed include: creating and sustaining coalitions; coordinating reform initiatives within a state; dealing with turbulent state climates; sequencing innovation when not all components are ready at once; the quality of professional development; changing state policies regarding recertification, compensation, and allocation of instructional time; and scaling up.

3. Clune, W. (1993). "Systemic Educational Policy: A Conceptual Framework," in Designing Coherent Education Policy: Improving the System, Susan H. Fuhrman (Ed.). NY: Jossey-Bass.

Systemic policy has five characteristics: (1) research-based goals for changes in educational practice and organization (strategies that work); (2) working models of new practice and professionally accessible knowledge (e.g., curriculum frameworks plus instructional materials plus testing strategies plus groups of teachers who can teach others); (3) centralized/decentralized change process (centralized goals, decentralized networks for delivery); (4) regular assessment of inputs, outcomes, process; (5) coherent, sustained, change-oriented political process (avoiding discontinuing change efforts because of budget cuts; disjointed reforms, programs, projects; loss of momentum through inertia and lack of leadership) -- requires public consensus and powerful supportive coalition, and set of legislative and executive institutions for maintaining reforms and preventing disruptions.

4. Danek, J., R. Calbert, and D. Chubin. (February 1994). "NSF's Programmatic Reform: The Catalyst for Systemic Change." Paper presented at Building the System: Making Science Education Work Conference, Washington, DC

Essential components of systemic reform: ( I ) national standards for mathematics and science content, skills and attitudes, teaching and assessment standards, and opportunity to learn standards; (2) ambitious learning expectations and outcomes for all students connected to a rigorous academic core program; (3) examination of policies, practices, and behaviors, and their modfication to remove barriers and achieve the standards; (4) broad-based involvement in designing and implementing an action plan, with considerable local autonomy in implementing the plan; (5) qualitative and quantitative outcomes that measure "systemic change"; (6) a system for monitoring and evaluating progress and adjusting programs accordingly; and (7) a timeline for delivering the outcomes.

5. Floden, R., M. Goertz, and J. O'Day. (September, 1995). "Capacity Building in Systemic Reform." Phi Delta Kappan, pp. 19-21.

Describes expanded strategies for enhancing teacher capacity, including offering courses and workshops; providing vision and leadership, changing the organization or governance of schools; providing guidance on curricular content and instruction, establishing evaluation or accountability mechanisms, directly providing resources; and facilitating access to outside sources of support. Particular attention is paid to network and leadership development.

6. Fuhrman, S., D. Massell, and Associates. (June 1992). "Issues and Strategies in Systemic Reform," a discussion of CPRE Policy Center research. New Brunswick, NJ: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

"Consider systemic reform as a process of integration, an organizing principle, at work in various ways and degrees and at an early stage of exploration and development (p. 2)."

7. National Science Foundation. Presentation on mid-point review. Washington, DC, October 1993.

Requirement of Systemic Reform: Fundamental, innovative, coordinated changes in financing, governance, management, content and conduct of education (including teacher preparation, teacher enhancement, curricula and instruction, assessments), focused on providing major gains in the science and math learning of all students in a diverse educational system. Evidence: (1) new vision, (2) infrastructure. (3) partnerships, (4) resource consolidation and allocation, (5) policies, practices, (6) equity/access, (7) school districts, schools, (8) students, teachers, faculty. administrators, (9) policy and program alignment, (10) delivery of quality education, (11) data collection and evaluation.

8. NSF/US. Department of Education Memorandum of Agreement -- Task Group on Systemic Reform. "Intermediate Benchmarks for Systemic Reform." 1994.

Ten goals for systemic reform. each with set of benchmarks:

l. Legislation and incentives to ensure quality curricular frameworks consistent with national standards (legislation, standards, curriculum frameworks, funding, review process)

2. Regular state reviews, including curriculum review

3. Inservice and preservice based on standards, curriculum and pedagogical

4. State-level integration of reform efforts

5. Leadership support, both financial and philosophical

6. Curriculum and assessment aligned for learning

7. All students served by standards and reforms

8. Implementation requires best work of all parties and substantial technical assistance (components identified. strategic plan with goals, objectives. activities, timelines, and responsibilities. staff qualified and assigned, technical assistance provided)

9. Partnerships created

10. Ultimate goal is improved student performance at all grades (tracking system, evaluation plan)

9. O'Day, J. and M. Smith. (1993). "Systemic Reform and Educational Opportunity," in Designing Coherent Education Policy: Improving the System. Susan H. Fuhrman (Ed.). NY: Jossey-Bass.

Adds to the older Smith and O'Day ideas a way of thinking about school standards as (1) resource standards (essential human and other materials to offer all students the opportunity to learn the content of curriculum frameworks to a high level of performance); (2) practice standards (actually implements a program that should provide students such an opportunity); and (3) performance standards (meets challenging goals, as measured by percent of students who successfully achieve a high performance level). All these facets of standards place the emphasis firmly on the curriculum and instructional practices in the classroom.

10. Shields, P., T. Corcoran, and A. Zucker. (June, 1994). Evaluation' of NSF's Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSI) Program: First-Year Report. Menlo Park: SRI International.

NSF's underlying premise: attainment of world class standards in math and science education will require the replacement of isolated and piecemeal reform efforts by ambitious, coordinated, coherent, and comprehensive approaches involving many different aspects of the education system. Starting point: set of ambitious learning goals for students, including underrepresented.

Framework for assessing systemic reform: identifies key factors and asserts likely relationships. (1) vision, (2) leadership and collaboration, (3) policy instruments, (4) capacity building (technical assistance, professional development), (5) authority relations, (6) mobilization of opinion, [next are intermediate outcomes] (7) well-prepared teachers and administrators, (8) collaborative relationships, (9) positive and ambitious climate of reform, [next are what one would expect to see in classrooms] (10) appropriate pedagogy, (11) availability and use of challenging curricula/materials, (12) meaningful and ongoing assessment of student learning, [next is clearly an outcome] (13) student attainment of learning goals.

11. Smith, M. and J. O'Day. (1991). Putting the Pieces Together: Systemic School Reform. CPRE Policy Brief. New Brunswick, NJ: Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Three elements: (1) unifying vision and goals describing what schools should be like (communicated, measurable), (2) coherent system of instructional guidance (core body of knowledge, skills, capacities; key elements designed and aligned with goals --curriculum frameworks, materials, professional development, accountability assessment), (3) restructured governance system (states develop outcomes and accountability structure consensually, while schools have flexibility to determine instructional means to achieve outcomes).

12. Timar, T. and D. Kirp. (March 1989). "Education Reform in the 1980s: Lessons from the States." Phi Delta Kappan, 70:7, 504-511.

Successful reform strategies integrate the three dimensions of reform: (1) authorized (mandates -- defines state interests and expectations and allocates resources), (2) local/regionalist (defines implementation and practice, can stimulate change or stiffen resistance), (3) conversation (changes in the rhetoric at each level). Reform policies should create the kinds of institutional arrangements and organizational structures that promote excellence. Role of state: (1) establish professional standards and expectations, (2) provide support, (3) nurture organizational characteristics that foster excellence. Support organization development. Calls for a theory of organizational support where schools are the target of state policy, with the focus on the kinds of organizational arrangements that maximize organizational competence; schools need to forge a sense of organizational coherence and purpose, involving all in decisions, development of norms, broader responsibilities.

13. Weiss, I. (1993). "Ohio SSI Year Three Evaluation Plan." Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research.

Elements: (1) shared vision with ambitious outcomes for all students; (2) alignment of key components (preservice, certification, professional development, curriculum, instructional materials/techniques, assessment, school governance) with vision; (3) strategies for reaching all teachers/schools; (4) regular reflection, identification of barriers and strategies to overcome; (5) address issues of diversity and equity; (6) linkage with other efforts; (7) strategies for institutionalization; (8) ownership by all key stakeholders; (9) well functioning management structure.

Impact: (1) Effective elements of science education, e.g., outcomes that include content knowledge, skills. attitudes; inquiry-based instruction; authentic assessment; (2) teacher knowledge, skills, attitudes; (3) links between discipline and pedagogy experts; courses in preservice; changes in curriculum and assessment; (4) involvement of parents and community.

14. Zucker, A., P. Shields, N. Adelman, and J. Powell. (1995). Evaluation of the NSF's Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSI) Program: Second Year Report. Menlo Park: SRI International.

Important elements: Developing a vision of good classroom practice; developing strategies for realizing visions of good practice; and developing strategies for improving equity. Discusses issues and challenges for 25 states, especially the challenge of tailoring a collaborative initiative that is uniquely suited to the context.


Literature on Systems Thinking

15. Asayesh, G. ( Fall 1993). "Using Systems Thinking to Change Systems." Journal of Staff Development, 14:4, 8-12.

Systemic change requires systems thinking. A thoughtful way of approaching problems; tool for dealing with collection of divergent problems with no simple solution; clarifying choices and consequences of choices; has own set of values (e.g., systems have identifiable recurring patterns, fixing systems, not people, organizations need to focus on root causes and long-term consequences); learning systems tools.

Staff development for systems thinking: ( 1) involve all parts of system in training; (2) attendance in teams; (3) move towards building teams, shift from individual to organization development; (4) ongoing, imbedded in work.

16. DeLetis, K. and A. Case. "Systems Thinking about Learning: The Paradigm Shift We Need." Submitted for publication to AASA.

System of reaming = (1) curricula and resources; (2) instructional methods; (3) teachers and other staff; (4) assessment practices; (5) organization and procedures; (6) leadership, culture, and beliefs; and (7) students.

17. Fullan, M. (1993). "Innovation, Reform, and Restructuring Strategies." In Challenges and Achievement in American Education, 1993 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Two limitations of the systemic strategy: (1) People vastly underestimate the dynamic complexity of how systems operate; (2) we cannot necessarily extend the process to new situations. Need new paradigm, one more in tune with systemic reality and dynamic complexity (which Senge describes as "when 'cause and effect' are not close in time and space and obvious interventions do not produce expected outcomes" (p. 365) because other "unplanned" factors dynamically interfere). Eight lessons of change are given.

18. O'Neil, J. (September, 1993). "Turning the System On Its Head." Educational Leadership, 51:1. 8-13.

Common thread: change in one part of a system affects everything else in the system; various pieces of the system must be better aligned toward achieving common ends.

19. Patterson, J. (1993). "Leading Through Systems Thinking." In Leadership for Tomorrow's Schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum development

Seven guidelines for applying systems thinking: (1) focus on the system, not the people; (2) learn how the current system evolved and how it connects to related systems; (3) expect the system to resist interventions meant to disrupt the stability of the current system; (4) evaluate the system against the organization's core values; (5) look beyond symptomatic problems and symptomatic solutions to fundamental systems issues; (6) think whole-system, long-term solutions and allow time for the solutions to take effect; and (7) anticipate new systems problems arising from current systems solutions.

20. Reigeluth, C. (November 1992). 'The Imperative for Systemic Change," Educational Technology.

Characteristics of organizations called for in the Information Age: (1) cooperative relationships, (2) team organization, (3) shared leadership, (4) autonomy with accountability, (5) democracy, (6) paiticipative democracy, (7) initiative, (8) networking, (9) holism (integration of tasks).

21. Senge, P. and C. Lannon-Kim. (November, 1991). "Recapturing the Spirit of Learning Through a Systems Approach," The School Administrator.

Senge, P. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. NY: Doubleday, 1990.

Learning organizations practice five disciplines: (1) systems thinking, (2) shared vision, (3) mental models, (4) team learning, (5) personal mastery.

New roles of leaders: as (1) designers, (2) teachers, (3) stewards (for the people and for the larger mission).

22. St. John, M. (1992). Science Education for the 1990s: Strategies for Change, report of a Wingspread Conference. Inverness, CA: Inverness Associates.

Differences between project-based and systemic change: (1) locus of control is at local setting, not external (e.g., project managers); (2) long-term time perspective; (3) capacity development to identify problems, access resources, leverage local resources, create self-sufficiency, create infrastructure; (4) focus on redesigning old system rather than bringing in information and approaches from outside; (S) emphasize two-way communication, e.g., dialogue, conversation, inquiry; (6) implementers as designers; (7) focus on collaboration, capacity building, integration.

Literature on Partnerships

23. National Alliance of Business. (1990). Business Strategies That Work: A Planning Guide for Education Restructuring. Washington, DC: NAB.

Planning with community coalitions involves (1) forming a coalition, (2) building a knowledge base, (3) establishing goals, (4) developing a plan, (5) creating an implementation strategy, (6) assessing efforts, and (7) building on what is reamed.

Critical elements for success include: (l) an open acknowledgment that an improved educational system serves corporate interests, (2) inclusive rather than exclusive membership, (3) management of complexity, (4) commitment, creativity, and consensus on goals, (5) stable leadership, (6) management structure and staffing, (7) application of the business partner's competency, (8) marketing and public relations strategy, and (9) accountability mechanisms.

24. National Association of Partners in Education. (undated). Standards for Education Partnerships. Alexandria, VA: NAPE.

Effective partnership programs (1) are guided by a written mission statement, a statement of purpose, (2) ensure a process for planning and development that includes all partners, (3) expect the educational values and philosophy of the school district, which guide design and management of policies, administrative procedures, role descriptions, program activities, and resources, (4) require formal written plans for resource development, and recruitment, assignment, orientation, training, retention, and recognition of participants, and (5) ensure that evaluations of program activity processes and outcomes are conducted regularly and include all participants.

25. Sussman, Art (Ed.). (1993). Science Education Partnerships: Manual for Scientists and K-12 Teachers. San Francisco: Science Press.

Descriptions of collaborative programs to improve science education, K-12. Also, strategies for starting and sustaining partnerships.

26. Vandegrift, J. and L. Sandler. (June 1993). "Evaluating Business Partnership Programs in Education: What Defines a Successful Venture?" Briefing Paper of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

Collaboration: agencies/programs working together as a whole with a shared vision, goals, and accountability, and changes in established rules. Partners in a collaboration (1) are unified, (2) set joint goals, (3) make a long-term commitment, (4) commit money, time and personnel, (5) involve many people, (6) share decision making at all levels, (7) communicate frequently, (8) interact/negotiate, (9) are pleasant, (10) reciprocate, (11) are dedivated and loyal, (12) are enthusiastic, (13) share risks, and (13) measure the impact of services provided. Definition of effective partnership: an equal relationship that is sustained over time.