32 SES 13, Data Driven Change Processes - three national approaches
In 2016 Austria’s Ministry of Education presented a policy paper focussed on expanding school autonomy through greater pedagogical, organisational and financial decision-making power as well as greater flexibility regarding teaching staff on the school level. Two regional pilot projects in the two most western provinces, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, are guided by the University of Innsbruck (Roessler & Kraler 2016, Böheim-Galehr & Engleitner 2014) and cooperation was initiated to utilise findings and insights from these two projects in particular related to the formation of school clusters, which are a key component of the proposed school autonomy policy. The key focus of these projects is to strengthen student learning to mitigate inequalities through school quality and local resources in rural and urban areas. Questions concerning new forms of autonomy and cluster designs arise. To provide a process from best practice to next practice (Kraler & Schratz 2013) the research team of the Tyrolean project uses a design-based research approach (Mintrop 2016). Especially emerging innovations like next practice solutions need to come from practice itself, in response to concrete, context-specific challenges. Through the design-based research approach, initial results revealed the need for an in-depth look at the contexts or new teacher leader roles. The challenge is to create a framework that bridges the gap between bottom-up initiatives and top-down decisions and furthermore to have “boundary spanners” (Ryan & O’Malley 2016) who facilitate communication among the system levels. Austria’s National Center for Learning Schools has until now supported nationwide middle school reform in approximately 1,150 schools and acted as a brokerage agent to support practitioners in applying research findings in their practice on both classroom and school levels (Westfall-Greiter & Hofbauer 2015); it is therefore an organisation that could serve as a boundary spanner in this next reform effort. This paper addresses two related questions to system-wide reform: On the one hand, how findings from pilot projects can be used for nationwide models and, on the other hand, what is needed to fulfil the role of a boundary spanner.
Böheim-Galehr, G. & Engleitner, J. (Hrsg.) (2014). Schule der 10- bis 14-Jährigen in Vorarlberg. Entwicklungen, Bildungshaltungen und Bildungserwartungen. Projektbericht Band 1. Innsbruck: StudienVerlag. Roessler, L. & Kraler, Ch. (2016). Erster Zwischenbericht. Modellregion Bildung Zillertal. Innsbruck Kraler, C. & Schratz, M. (2012). From Best Practice to Next Practice. A shift through research-based teacher education. In: Harford, J., Sacilotto-Vasylenko, M. and Vizek Vidovic, V. (Eds.)(2012). Research Based Teacher Education Reform: Special Issue of Reflecting Education, pp. 88-125. Mintrop, R. (2016). Design-Based School Improvement. A Practical Guide for Education Leaders. Camebridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Ryan, A., & O’Malley, L. (2016). The role of the boundary spanner in bringing about innovation in cross-sector partnerships. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 32(1), 1-9. Westfall-Greiter, T. & Hofbauer, C. (2015).Die Rolle von Werkzeugen, Routinen und Strukturen in Schulreform: Der "School Walkthrough" als Transferinstrument. Journal für Schulentwicklung Vol.4.Innsbruck:StudienVerlag.
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