Measuring Innovation in Education

A New Perspective

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Do teachers innovate? Do they try different pedagogical approaches? Are practices within classrooms and educational organisations changing? And to what extent can change be linked to improvements? A measurement agenda is essential to an innovation and improvement strategy in education. Measuring Innovation in Educationoffers new perspectives on addressing the need for such measurement.

This book’s first objective is informative: it gives readers new international comparative information about innovation in education compared to other sectors. And it documents change in a variety of dimensions of school practices between 1999 and 2011. Its second objective is methodological: it assesses two approaches to capturing the extent and type of innovation occurring within and across education systems. The third objective is exploratory: this book showcases a large-scale pilot that presents over 200 measures of innovation in education using existing international data. Last but not least, the fourth objective is prospective: this report proposes new approaches to measuring innovation in education in the future.

This book is the beginning of a new journey: it calls for innovations in the field of measurement – and not just of education.



Data sources and methods

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Measures of innovation can be used to better understand how innovation relates to educational outcomes. The extent of innovation may be associated with various types of educational outcome, including learning outcomes, equality and equity. It may also be related to expenditure trends. A positive association between innovation and specific outcomes might occur if the innovation led to some improvements at the classroom or school level. This could also be implied through a positive association with innovation and changes in outcomes across time. Innovation may also be positively associated with equity, particularly if innovation occurs to tackle previous inequalities or to drive improvements across the whole school. Conversely, certain outcomes my lead to more innovation at classroom or school level, either because they increase the freedom or the pressure to innovate. If no association between innovation and outcomes is observed, it may be that innovations are expected to have an impact over the longer term or that other confounding factors have prevented an improvement in outcomes. Indeed, it is possible that innovation was necessary in order to arrest a potential fall in outcomes caused by issues such as budget cuts or staff shortages. Alternatively, it is possible that these innovations were not intended to target the outcomes analysed. This chapter explores some of the complex relationships between innovation and outcomes in education and considers plausible explanations for the patterns found. More regular assessment would help to build on this knowledge to better understand the driving factors behind relationships observed.


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