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ERIC Number: ED516793
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
The NCEA Core Practice Framework: An Organizing Guide to Sustained School Improvement
Dougherty, Chrys; Rutherford, Jean
National Center for Educational Achievement
What fundamental ideas from higher performing schools underlie a coherent approach to educational improvement? First, only a system-wide approach to improving teaching and learning can make it possible for students to receive good teaching, year after year, across different subjects. Given the difficulty of the task, isolated and uncoordinated efforts by individual educators are not enough. Second, improvement efforts must be coordinated across schools from preschool through the end of high school, since students do not stay in the same school for their entire educational careers. Third, students must be placed on the path to college and career readiness as early as possible--ideally in preschool and elementary school, but no later than middle school. Waiting until high school to boost poorly prepared students onto a path to college and career readiness places "an extreme degree of difficulty" on educators and is unfair to students. Finally, efforts to improve teaching and learning must give first priority to the behaviors most closely related to the teaching-learning transaction by addressing each of the following five key questions: (1) What do leaders and policymakers expect all students to know and be able to do, in each course or grade and subject?; (2) How do they select and develop the leaders and teachers needed to ensure that every learner in the system achieves these learning goals?; (3) What programs, strategies, materials, and time allocation do they use to teach the necessary content and skills to students?; (4) How do they know if students learned what they said they should learn?; and (5) If students are not learning what they should, what are they going to do about it? This paper discusses how educational leaders and policymakers can use research on higher performing schools and districts to address these five questions and promote a coherent, big-picture approach to educational improvement. First, the authors discuss how to determine whether a school system currently lacks such an approach. Second, they introduce an organizing guide, the NCEA (National Center for Educational Achievement) Core Practice Framework, which can be used to develop such an approach based on a systematic comparison of local practices with those in higher performing schools. Next, they describe how the Framework has been derived from research on consistently higher performing schools. Finally, they provide an example of how information on the practices in the Framework is organized, and discuss how the Framework can become a guide to align local practices with those of higher performers and keep those practices coherent. A bibliography is included. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table and 13 footnotes.)
National Center for Educational Achievement. 8701 North MoPac Expressway Suite 200, Austin, TX 78759. Tel: 800-762-4645; Tel: 512-320-1800; Fax: 512-320-1877; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc., National Center for Educational Achievement