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ERIC Number: EJ704108
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0009-8655
Systems Thinking: A Skill to Improve Student Achievement
Thornton, Bill; Peltier, Gary; Perreault, George
Clearing House, v77 n5 p222 May-Jun 2004
This article examines how schools can avoid barriers to systems thinking in relation to improving student achievement. It then illustrates common errors associated with non-systems thinking and recommends solutions. Educators who understand that schools are complex interdependent social systems can move their organizations forward. Unfortunately, many education leaders today fail to grasp the interconnectedness of these components, resulting in little or no progress. As such, many planned changes address only symptoms, not the underlying root causes, of the problems. Subsequently, meaningful improvements do not occur. A systems perspective enables educators to make decisions related to improvement of student achievement and understand the impact of each decision on the organization. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has interrupted the status quo of schools and has forced education leaders to reconsider various methods of organizational change. The act has required all public schools to develop clear definitions of achievement, which provide the basis to evaluate progress. Systems thinking should be a vital component in efforts to improve education, and student achievement. To succeed, educators need to focus on making changes to the system, identifying high-leverage improvement, and aligning feedback with learning goals. When systems thinking becomes an integral part of the instructional process, the benefits of systems thinking as a method for improving student achievement will be enormous.
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001