Re: [xmca] Cobb & McClain: Collective Mediation of School Practices

From: David Preiss (
Date: Wed Jan 03 2007 - 20:35:12 PST

I agree with you Mike. I just wondered how to make the experience
there narrated convincing for those in positions of authority. I also
wondered how compatible were their findings with those originated by
people working on more quantitatively oriented streams of thinking
such as school effectiveness studies.

  It is paradoxical that a lot of people doing educational
measurement commonly stop thinking about how the rankings they
produce trigger (or not) some (un)intended effects within the schools
they assess. Many times they don´t even know how to communicate the
results but a reified number or a place in a ranking. What I liked
here is the emphasis on the process over the numbers. Here there is a
lot of food for thought for all of them (us). I also LOVED the
emphasis on teachers, as usually people doing ed measurement is blind
to their role.

I also wondered about the costs and timing involved in an initiative
like the one described. How much money do I need to have the people
working collectively? Can I do this at schools where there is no room
and time for teacher work out of the classroom, which is most of the
cases here in Chile? How much time do these processes translate into
scores so I can convince those in positions of power that the
initiative is good? How I can perform initiatives like this one in
schools where teacher burn out is an issue or where teachers do not
stay for long?

Many questions arise from this very good paper!

On Dec 22, 2006, at 2:31 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> I don't know about others, but I thought the C&McK paper did a
> great job
> both of documenting a case where an inner city school system could
> raise its
> mathematics performance and in motivating their explanation of how
> this
> worked by bringing together the chat and cop perspectives on
> changes that
> occur simultaneously among participants all over a complex system.
> So often it seems that the only way to deal with high stakes testing
> requirements is to put teachers and students into an even tighter
> straightjacket. But here is a counter example showing it ain't
> necessarily
> so.
> I was particularly interested in the use of the idea of networks of
> communities of practices (and activity systems?) to be able to have an
> analysis span across many levels of the complex system(s) involved.
> And the
> introduction of Everett Rogers' work on diffusion of innovative
> practices
> addresses both the issue of sustainabilty and scalability (which
> might, in
> fact, be closely related).
> Any of the 30+ members of XMCA who voted to discuss this article have
> anything to note about it?
> mike
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

David Preiss, Ph.D.
Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Escuela de Psicología
Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
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