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ERIC Number: EJ1069472
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1573-1812
Redefining High Performance in Northern Ireland: Deeper Learning and Twenty-First Century Skills Meet High Stakes Accountability
Nehring, James H.; Szczesiul, Stacy
Journal of Educational Change, v16 n3 p327-348 Aug 2015
This study examined four secondary schools in Northern Ireland serving a significant percentage of low income families: two schools from the "Maintained" (de-facto Catholic) sector, one school from the "Controlled" (de-facto Protestant) sector, and one school from the "Integrated" (mixed faith) sector. The objective was to identify when and how the schools fostered higher level cognitive skills, interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills, known collectively in the literature as twenty-first century learning. This paper focuses on the Integrated school "as representative of many of the attributes encountered in all four schools" and as a particular exemplar of high performance. The selected school served 28% low income families, consistently outperformed demographic peers on required exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education, and revealed through inspection reports and professional reputation a school wide commitment to instruction of twenty-first century skills. Analysis of classroom observations and focus group interviews with students, teachers, and administrators revealed that (1) Twenty-first century task demand is "relatively higher" when student learning is assessed with portfolios, performances, and local assessment practices, "and" twenty-first century task demand is "relatively lower" when learning is assessed with external exams. (2) Pastoral care, thoughtfully deployed, is a powerful lever for twenty-first century learning. (3) Cross-community contact, developed in meaningful ways, is a potentially powerful lever not only for peace-building in the province, but high level learning for the province's youth. (4) The School fostered twenty-first century skills by advancing a vision for learning that extends well beyond the low level demand of state accountability metrics. Recommendations for policy and practice are offered.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A