From Fragmentation to Coherence

From Fragmentation to Coherence

Efforts to improve educational outcomes often run afoul of narrowly defined initiatives clashing with one another and creating conflicting demands on practitioners, a report commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation of New York finds. The report, From Fragmentation to Coherence: How More Integrative Ways of Working Could Accelerate Improvement and Progress Toward Equity in Education (24 pages, PDF), found that the fragmentation of curricula and assessments hampers efforts to improve student learning and slows progress in addressing racial/ethnic disparities in educational outcomes. In order to improve what is in reality a complex, decentralized system involving diverse stakeholders, differentiated needs, and tensions among competing values in a rapidly changing society, change agents need to adopt an integrative approach that takes into account interdependencies within the educational system, understands how students learn, and allows for frequent adjustments based on data, evidence, and experience. To that end, the study highlights three principles for working "integratively": build a shared understanding of purpose; understand the circumstances of the various actors involved; and incorporate frequent adjustments.