1 Fra politiske prosesser og beslutninger til det pedagogiske arbeidet i skolen. Værnes, 11. Februar 2010
2 How to get from political processes and decisions to the pedagogical work in schools? How does it work? Why doesn t it work? The logic of double whamming It can t work: To understand why is the key to lasting success. (please excuse me being linguistically challenged )
3 Based on Agderforskning: Allerup et al. (2009): Evaluering av det Nasjonale kvalitetsvurderingssystemet for grunnopplæringen ASAP: Langfeldt, Elstad & Hopmann (2008): Ansvarlighet i skolen. Dale & Øzerk (2009) Underveisanalyser av kunnskapsløftets intensjoner og forutsetninger. FAFO (2009) Strategi for kompetanseutvikling sluttrapport Møller, Prøitz & Aasen (2009): Kunnskapsløftet tung bør å bære? Underveisanalyse av styringsreformen i skjæringspunktet mellom politikk, administrasjon og profesjon. OECD (2009): Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First Results from TALIS. Sivesind, Langfeldt & Skedsmo (2006): Utdanningsledelse. Utdannningsdirektoratet (2007): Improving School Leadership. Country Background Report for Norway. etc.
4 Standard diagnosis Wherever you are in Europe (except maybe for Finland) The school system is in some kind of crisis: Compared to others, student achievement is below what is expected. Schools do differently: Some do well, others do not. School leadership is the key to make every school a great school (Hopkins 2007).
5 Standard treatment (OECD 2008: Improving School Leadership) Introduce or enhance school autonomy (whatever that actually means) Qualify school leaders to do a better job. Cherish exceptional turnarounds (e.g. Oslo). Expect substantial improvements over time. However: This isn t happening (yet?). Except for marginal changes, there is no example of this strategy leading to any sustainable change in the outcome patterns.
6 Norwegian research answers Norge har en erfaren lærerstand som er svært tilfreds med jobben og med stor tiltro til egen undervisning. Lærerne i Norge samarbeider mer enn i de andre landene i studien, særlig gjelder dette administrativt samarbeid. Gode relasjoner mellom lærere og elever preger norske ungdomsskoler Studien viser at en særlig utfordring for norsk skole ligger i en svakt utviklet oppfølgingskultur. Dette viser seg i lite hyppig oppfølging av elevenes arbeid og svak oppfølging og tilbakemelding til lærere fra skoleledelse og skoleeier. (TALIS. Norsk Delrapport 2008)
7 Norwegian research answers Både våre informanter fra kommunalt/fylkeskommunalt nivå, skolene og fagorganisasjonene samt respondentene fra skoleeiernivå i spørreundersøkelsen gir uttrykk for at de er underlagt et hierarkisk implementeringsregime. Bare i liten grad er det åpnet for lokale initiativ eller arenaer der sentralt nivå inviterer til forhandlinger og læring som definerer løsninger og eventuelt justerer kursen. (Møller, Prøjtz & Aasen 2009) Selv om både kommunale og fylkeskommunale skoleeiere i stor grad er enige i at resultatmålinger gjennom nasjonale prøver og internasjonale undersøkelser er viktig for utvikling av skolen, tyder våre funn på at i 2007 hadde slike oppfatninger i liten grad ført til handlinger som hadde betydning for skolens praksis. (Møller, Prøjtz & Aasen 2009)
8 Norwegian research answers Et særlig funn i denne underveisrapporten i evalueringen av Kunnskapsløftet som styringsreform, er at det er uavklarte spenninger mellom på den ene siden politisk og profesjonell styring, og på den andre siden mellom sentral og desentral styring av grunnopplæringen. Forbindelseslinjene mellom styringsnivåene er ikke gode. Våre data så langt i evalueringen av reformen viser at Kunnskapsløftet som styringsreform synes å svikte. På denne bakgrunn har Kunnskapsløftet blitt er en tung bør å bære. (Møller, Prøitz & Aasen 2009)
9 Norwegian research answers Der er fundet store og systematiske forskelle mellen vurderingerne af brugen af NKVS hos kommuner, rektorer og lærere. Tendensen i disse forskelle er meget tydligt, at kommunerne gennemgående vurderer NKVS mere positivt end rektorerne, som vurderer NKVS mere positivt end lærerne. Sagt på en anden måde er der en tydelig tendens til, at jo længere væk man er fra den daglige undervisning, jo mere positivt vurderer man NKVS. (Agderforskning 2009)
10 Norwegian research answers Det er en generel erfaring fra de gennemførte undersøgelser, at NKVS kun i begrænset omfang opleves som et sammenhængende system, men snarere som en række enkeltdele bestående af de nationale prøver, kortlægningsprøverne, Elevundersøgelsen med videre (Agderforskning 2009) Dagens system oppleves som en flom av undersøkelser som medfører økt arbeidsbelastning. Våre data indikerer at i dag råder det en god del forvirring om hva det er man svarer på. For stor kompleksitet reduserer muligheten for læring. I tillegg virker den demotiverende. (Agderforskning 2009)
11 Norwegian research answers Dersom det å måle resultater i dagens undervisning i tilknytning til læreplanene for fagene er en avgjørende del av Kunnskapsløftets implementering, er det nødvendig å utvikle en kriterieorientert testtradisjon. Å utvikle en testtradisjon som forener Kunnskapsløftet som utdannings- og som læreplantradisjon, innebærer at de indikasjonene som brukes som referanseramme for utdanningspolitiske beslutninger, også kan brukes som beslutningsgrunnlag for lærernes fagundervisning. (Dale & Øzerk 2009, mine fremh.) NB: Stream-lined linear command-and-control systems as proposed here, fit better totalitarian societies than consensus based democracies
12 These are common research answers There are many similar research findings (e.g. from Austria BIFIE 2009, Germany: Bellmann/Weiss 2009 & England: Hood 2010) The quality assurance systems seem to send at best mixed, if not confusing messages. In spite of increasing autonomy the new measures seem to reduce the room to move for school leadership. The practical impact is reduced to wash back effects (i.e. basically: more teaching to the tests). The solution is expected from a closer alignment of all levels (indicators) ensuring that schools do what politicians expect. But: Is this really an option? Let s step back for a moment... (cf. Hopmann 2007, 2008)
13 The former governance pattern managing comprehensive institutions. Managment by placement Input Processes Output State Organization (e.g. district, provider, agency) Placement Resources Distribution Action plans (e.g. guidelines) (by current and former professionals) Administration (by former professionals) Unit Institutions Enactment (by professionals) Treatments
14 In former times the basic of schooling was a place called school run by professionals. The important points were inclusion & attendance (obligatory treatments & merits), not measured outcomes. The quality of treatments was (is) measured in terms of professionalism. The quality of leadership was defined by managing resources and playing by the rules.
15 The new governance pattern managing fragmented expectations. Management by expectations Input Processes Output State Expectations Resources Standards (by appointment) Evaluations Organization (e.g. district, provider, agency) Changing places Administration (by provider) Accountability Unit Enactment (by whoever seems to fit the task) Treatments
16 Now the basic of schooling is at least officially - meeting expectations (called outputs ) which have attached resources. The important point will be meeting these expectations according to more or less welldefined standards. The quality is measured in terms of accountability for expectation satisfaction with given resources. The quality of leadership is defined by gaming the system, i.e. balancing competing expectations.
17 In theory, one talks about moving from the former to the latter type of management (e.g. Møller, Prøitz & Aasen 2009, Dale & Øzerk 2009). But, what actually happens in Norway, as in other places (cf. Hood 2010), is that both governance patterns are combined: In short, one expects to manage expectations by managing placements (double whamming). Ask yourself: How many of the old administrative requirements have disappeared while the new ones were introduced? Close to none! On the one hand, an ever-growing system of expectation management tools (such as indicators) is evolving. On the other hand, the institutions are not really free to develop their own stance towards these expectations. They shall rather deliver by playing by the rules, than by gaming the system which is practically impossible!
18 In the case of Norway Does the quality assessment create the communication central to increased quality? The answer to this question must be that today s system has its main focus on control. The opportunity for learning which a quality assessment system also provides seems to be taken care of to a smaller extent. (Agderforskning 2009) Vi har også sett at sentrale aktører er opptatt av å desentralisere ansvar for oppgaver, men ikke beslutningsmyndighet. Det kan imidlertid få uheldige konsekvenser hvis man ansvarliggjør og stiller forventninger til aktører som har liten myndighet. (Møller, Prøitz & Aasen 2009).
19 Double Whamming Governance Patterns Tools Success Criteria Main Review Basic Time Line Management of Placements Holistic Structures & Budgets Stability Smooth operations. Meeting budget lines. Internal Chain of command (administration) Long term Institutional development Fragmented Indicators Management of Expectations Change Visible change. Meeting assessment targets. External The public (media, international assessments, etc.) Short term Volatile issue cycles
20 Double Whamming: Tools Even if the national data would give a holistic picture at the national level: Like in any other pointilistic painting, the closer one gets to the details (e.g. the class room), the more the picture dissolves into unconnected points. This is exactly how the national expectations look like from a bottom-up perspective (cf. Agderforskning 2009). In a local perspective, the spaces between the measured points may be more important than the points themselves: Having better test scores doesn t necessarily mean having a better school climate, a more succesful career in school or a better transition to later stages (e.g. Finland). The more schools align with pointilistic expectations, the more they fragment their own doings into short-range adaptions to unfettered expectations putting long- term institutional development at risk.
21 Double Whamming: Success Criteria The key to national success, raising students test scores, is basically beyond the reach of schools, school leaders and teachers: At best % of the variance of test results can be explained by features of the specific school itself (the rest being primarily social background and out-of-school learning resources). There is a proven possibility to gain short-term (but very volatile) success by focusing teaching on the next assessment. However, this comes at a price, declining achievements in all other areas (even within the same field of subject matter; cf. e.g. Koretz 2008). The more schools align with pointilistic expectations, the more they will have to re-distribute resources according to short-term needs, not long-term achievements.
22 Double Whamming: Main Review By using the traditional chain of command the schools shall be forced to deliver what is needed for meeting the national expectations (raising scores, moving ahead in international comparisons, etc.). This puts tremendous pressure on meeting the local expectations by students and parents, who are more interested in the long-term educational trajectory of the students than short-term results. The more schools align with pointilistic expectations, the more they will have to put political outcomes ahead of educational needs (e.g. to move resources from expensive, but hard-to-change subgroups towards mid-range groups, which are easier to improve).
23 Double Whamming: Time Line Politics and schools operate in different time lines: Politics is driven by an ever shorter issue cycle promoted by international organizations, media and others. Schools operate in a generational perspective. Since 1990 the Norwegian school has been through quite a few system changing reforms with big aspirations, different curriculum systems, and assessment cultures, i.e. not one of these tools lasted unchanged for even one student generation. The more schools align with pointilistic expectations, the more they will have to fragment and re-direct learning careers following volatile, ever-changing expectation patterns, i.e. to obstruct the most important asset schools have: stability of learning conditions.
24 Double Whamming: Conclusion Quite opposite to the recommendations by the OECD and the national research reports, the solution does not come from even more aligned double whamming (Oslo style). Continuing in this line will only add more control measures obstructing what they are supposed to control. On the contrary, the quality assurance system has to respect the fact that expectation management only works properly if freed from the requirements and the hierarchy of the former management of placements. It has only a chance to succeed if it gives each level the autonomy to have its own expectation management, which includes respecting that expectations of one level (e.g. the state s) are but one set of different expectations at another level (e.g. the district s or the school s).
25 Double Whamming: Recommendations (school level) Focus your expectation management on the local level: Your prime concern should be successful student trajectories and satisfied parents, not national test results. Construct your expectation management long term: Invite students, parents, teachers and the local community to share your concerns and to choose priorities. As long as double whamming prevails: Don t be ashamed of devoting more time to administration than to pedagogical supervision. Doing otherwise would put your school at risk. Concentrate pedagogical interventions on a case-based approach to obviously failing classes/groups (not the least by taking extra resources in hand). Forget being proud or ashamed of national assessment results: They are neither your achievement, nor your fault.
26 Double Whamming: Recommendations (state level) Reduce the state s expectations to a few key concerns which average schools under average conditions can meet. Construct the targets in an inclusive and long-term perspective (such as successful transitions), thus avoiding that hard-to-come-by special needs groups pay the price. Scrap all or most elements of the former management of placement, i.e. let districts and schools decide how to deliver. Reduce intervention to a case-based approach to obviously failing schools/districts (not the least by taking extra resources in hand). Forget about becoming best in irrelevant international competitions (such as PISA). (cf. Hopmann/Brinek & Retzl 2007 at ).
27 Double Whamming: Expectations Will anything of the above mentioned happen? In the near future: NO. Taking England as an example, realizing that the current approach is counterproductive takes at least 20 years (in case of the US even longer). But expect (even in Oslo) the small gains achieved so far in national competitions to flatten out in the near future, and then to go into reverse (if not already replaced by a new set of expectations). Later on: MAYBE! Norway has a strong tradition of respecting the local community as key to successful schooling. Maybe the non-appearance of promised success will lead to a revival of this concept in terms of developing a more local management of expectations. (Cf. Hopmann: No State, No School, No Child Left Behind in JCS , )
28 Conclusion From my perspective, asking how to get from political processes and decisions towards pedagogical work in schools seems to be an irresponsible question, because it insinuates a possible linearity from one to the other. The question should rather be, how to keep at least partially the educational work in schools disconnected from the unpredictable side-effects of political/administrational double whamming. In this sense, any future education of school leaders should rather focus on developing their abilities to keep their own expectation management in place, even if that means to sideline parts of the ever-changing agenda of the national level assessments in favor of long-term local needs.
29 Conclusion However: According to TALIS and the other evaluations, Norwegian school leaders seem to be pretty good at gaming the system : By carrying untiringly the administrative loads of double whamming (including the blame games by evaluations), they keep their teachers and students free from too much interference from above, able to concentrate on what matters most: A good school life empowering students and teachers alike! Therefore: Please, stay on course!!
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