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Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

High School

Projecting Forward: Learnings From Educational Systemic Reform

Author: Luther S. Williams and Margaret Cozzens


The National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated the design and provided the support for comprehensive complex system-wide reform of science, mathematics, and technology teaching and learning. The effort was achieved through four programs: the Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSI), the Urban Systemic Initiatives (USI; focused on the 25 largest urban public school districts), the Local Systemic Initiatives, and the Rural Systemic Initiatives (RSI; consortia of rural school districts in a specific geographic domain), and, over time, the NSF Comprehensive Regional Centers for Minorities Program.

This volume begins with a detailed retrospective of the programs' goals, elements, accountability structures, and progress that were realized, while complying with a set of well-enumerated and uniformly employed programmatic anchors. These anchors - four process and two outcome "drivers" - were integral components of all systemic initiatives. Drawing on the findings of an array of external evaluation reports and case studies, the retrospective reviews the efficacy of systemic initiatives within the context of the specific program requirements and varied environments. It also gives a window into the contributions of specific variables to program achievements. In an effort to ascertain the scale and scope of the progression of systemic reform, issues such as the problem definition, elasticity of resources, programmatic redundancy, innovation transferability, design-redesign based on research and development on practice, and attention to gains in productivity are addressed.

The subsequent chapters discuss the outcomes and important lessons learned from these systemic programs, stressing documented student mathematics and science learning. These chapters are authored by experienced mathematics, science, and technology educators - all fully knowledgeable of the systemic efforts - and include former NSF systemic initiative program officers and division directors. These chapters also include such topics as reflections from inside NSF's programs of educational system reform, infusing equity in systemic reform, the Urban Systemic Initiatives in action, lessons learned and not learned from the systemic initiatives, the comprehensive regional centers for minorities program, technological innovation and urban systemic reform, the role of technical assistance, and how the game was changed. The last chapter provides a summary of the major findings and lessons learned from the systemic initiatives, with recommendations for the future.


A Context Statement, Purpose, Summary of Content, and Intended Impacts
Luther S. Williams

1. The National Science Foundation's Systemic Initiatives: A Retrospective Assessment
Luther S. Williams

2. Systemic Reform: Vantage, Reflections, and a Prediction
Eric Hamilton

3. Infusing Equity in Systemic Reform: Influencing the Understanding of Equity and Excellence
Patricia B. Campbell and Eric Jolly

4. Thinking About the Urban Systemic Initiatives
Daniel Burke

5. The Systemic Initiatives - Lessons Learned or not Learned: A Personal Perspective
Margaret (Midge) Cozzens

6. Reflections on NSF's Comprehensive Regional Centers for Minorities (CRCM) Program: A Personal Essay
Costello Brown

7. Technological Innovation and Urban Systemic Reform: Designing for Change
Jere Confrey

8. Education, Equity, and Evaluation: From Reforming to Transforming Urban Systems
Bernice Anderson

9. The Retrospective and Reflections/Perspectives in the Aggregate:Lessons Learned and Recommendations
Luther S. Williams and Margaret (Midge) Cozzens

©2018 COMAP Inc.
PDF Ebook
108 Pages

Mathematics Topics:


Application Areas:

Educational Review, Educational Systemic Reform, Programmatic Assessments

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