Here are the areas we suggest education leaders and policy-makers turn to in their reform efforts:
- Start with early literacy (F/K-2)
- Improve teacher professional learning
- Align principal leadership programs
- Improve quality of curriculum resources
- Improve assessment and intervention
Start with early literacy
We recommend education systems start with a focus on improving early literacy (Foundation/Kindergarten-2) Speeding up the time for students to move from learning to read to reading to learn is the most effective strategy there is for improving educational outcomes. This requires considerable focus and a commitment to ensure all teachers in a system have the requisite knowledge and skills to teaching reading, spelling and writing effectively in the early years.
Improve teacher professional learning
We ensure teacher professional learning is evidence-based in both design and content. Only 5% of existing teacher-directed professional learning translates into improved classroom practice. The model we advocate involves knowledge-building in the science of learning, demonstration of instructional strategies, the opportunity for teachers to practice these and then to receive coaching in their own classroom.
Align principal leadership programs
Ensure leadership development programs for principals and leadership teams are aligned - Principal leadership programs need to be specifically focused on supporting teachers to embed high impact classroom practice. This requires them to know the science of learning and the cognitive science that underpins it. Only once this knowledge has been mastered are principals and leadership teams empowered to lead the necessary change across their school.
Improve quality of curriculum resources
Knowledge-rich, coherent and systematic curriculum and lesson resources provided to teachers - Our change strategies cover improving the quality of curriculum resources provided to teachers across the system in all subject matter areas at all levels. Systems which focus on high quality, knowledge-rich curriculum resources that relieve teachers of the duty of preparing all their own lessons outperform those that allow curriculum resources to be developed by classroom teachers.
Improve assessment and intervention
Assessment to reward success and good data to identify students that need further support is required. Tracking progress in terms of both fidelity of implementation of your program and student learning outcomes are essential. Getting the assessment regime right in each system is also key to identifying those students who require more support to thrive in the classroom.