A Comparative Study of School Systems: Infrastructure, Practice, and Instructional Improvement

Project: Research project

Project Details


This is a comparative study of how domestic school systems design, manage and enact teaching, learning, and related practices. Central topics include: structural, organizational, and cultural differences among systems; how differences impact teaching, learning and related practices; noncognitive “lessons” systems communicate to students, teachers, and leaders in informal socialization and intentional rules; how systems define and manage their environment; and how that environment affects them. System structure includes formal organization, infrastructure, and social organization. System structure effect on instruction and related practices depends in part on the extent to which elements of structure are designed to influence and be influenced by instruction; the extent to which consistency is designed into elements of the system; the tightness of coupling among the elements; and the extent to which the environment supports system operation. Candidate systems include charter networks, urban LEAs that implement the Common Core, Catholic systems, Montessori, and sub-systems including New Visions for Public Schools in NYC and the International Baccalaureate. Systems and schools within will be purposefully sampled. Evidence on instruction will include academic tasks and student work. Data analysis will combine deductive and inductive approaches using open and closed coding strategies.
Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/19


  • Spencer Foundation (201600066)


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