ERG SES G 10, Policies in Education
The Polish education system had gone through several significant changes in the last 20 year, which was followed by improving OECD PISA results. The greatest improvement took place between the PISA 2009 and 2012 editions when Poland jumped from the OECD average to the top performers in Europe. Several Polish researchers argue, that the new core curriculum, introduced in 2008, could be the main reason behind the improvement (Jakubowski, 2015; Marciniak, 2015; Zawistowska, 2014). The curriculum reform focused on the learning outcomes of the school levels, and it enabled schools to alter their practice depending on the needs and possibilities of their students, so it could be of a positive influence. In the other hand, it is not certain, whether the new core curriculum could have affected the teachers everyday practice within such a short period. According to the findings of Choińska-Mika and Sitek (2015) most of the teachers continued their everyday teaching practice with only slight modifications after the implementation of the new curriculum, and although the teachers thought that they teach according to the core curriculum, they have limited knowledge about it.
The aim of my study is to decompose the curriculum reform process and its effects to schools. I focus on the lower-secondary schools as it became a divisive symbol of the Polish education reforms, and because of the recent education reforms in Poland it will disappear from the system.
During my research I applied the theoratical framework used by Fullan, Earl and Leithwood for the evaluation of the Literacy and Numeracy reform in England (Leithwood et al. 2002; Earl et al. 2000). Minor modifications of the framework were necessary as their evaluation took place during the reform whereas my research has been executed 10 years after the reform on a smaller scale. The reform can be understood within the national and international context which influence the macro and micro level processes as well. During my research I focus the on the policy and school levels of education for data collection and analysis. Within these two lenses of focus: 1) at the policy level I focus on the intended curriculum (the reformers vision and motivation for reform, the cornerstones of the new curriculum and the implementation tools) and 2) at the school level I focus on the enacted curriculum with the local challenges and capacity for the reform during the induction of the new curriculum.
I intend to present and compare the findings of the school level case studies with the findings of the policy level analysis.
Three different methods were used during the research. The main source of information comes from desk research and literature review. It served as a base for constructing semi-structured interviews with key-actors of the reform and education experts. School based case studies are being made - as the third, ongoing part of the data collection - in order to understand the local challenges and effects of the reform.
The preliminary analysis of the first round of data collection, interviews with key actors of the curriculum reform verify the possible connection between the reform and the improvement of the PISA results so far from a policy perspective. It shows that the external asessment system played an important role in the implementation of the reform, and it could instantly affect the teachers' work. On the other hand there are huge differences between the intended and enacted curriculum and I expect to see an ambivalent but complex picture about the school level implementation of the reform
Białecki, I., Jakubowski, M., & Wiśniewski, J. (2017). Education policy in Poland : The impact of PISA ( and other international studies ). European Journal of Education, 1–8. Jakubowski (2015). Opening up opportunities: education reforms in Poland. Marciniak (2015). Reviewing Polish education reform in the late 1990s – possible lessons to be learned. Zawistowska, A. (2014). The Black Box of the Educational Reforms in Poland : What Caused the Improvement in the PISA Scores of Polish Students ? Polish Sociological Review, 3 Choińska-Mika & Sitek (2015). Realizacja podstawy programowej kształcenia ogólnego. Wnioski z badań przeprowadzonych przez Zespół Dydaktyk Szczegółowych IBE. Earl, L., Fullan, M., Leithwood, K., Watson, N., Jantzi, D., Levin, B., & Torrance, N. (2000). Watching and learning: OISE/UT evaluation of the implementation of the national literacy and numeracy strategies. Leithwood, K., Jantzi, D. & Mascall, B. (2002). A framework for research on large-scale Reform. Journal of Educational Change 3: 7. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education, Sixth Edition. Routledge. New York
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