Individual Submission Summary

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The Multiple Meanings of Educational Quality for Planning and Evaluation

Tue, April 16, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Atrium (Level 2), Waterfront D


I arrived at the University of Pittsburgh at the fall of 1987 as the director of the newly established Institute for International Studies in Education and was a professor there for 16 years. My collaboration with Don Adams on the Improving Educational Quality Project (IEQ) funded by USAID was designed to link research to improved classroom practices in selected developing countries. Adams identifies multiple meanings of educational quality and suggests ways that the term can be operationalized for planning and evaluation of educational change (1993 “Defining Educational Quality,” Educational Planning, 9(3), 3). In his paper, still widely quoted (110 times since 2014, according to Google Scholar Citations), he insisted that quality is multi-dimensional, dynamic, and measurable by either objective or subjective indicators. The meaning of quality is also subject to interpretation within local and national contexts. He concluded that “Full consensus on the specifics of educational quality is unlikely ever to be reached in heterogeneous societies, but such agreement is not necessary for initiating change and improvement. What may be a more crucial task for educators, parents, and citizens is the development in schools and in communities of a growing capacity for and commitment to ongoing definition, redefinition, and improvement of quality” (p. 17). Adams co-authored two more articles based on the IEQ project that focused on ways of linking research, policy, and planning to educational development (Adams, et al., “Linking Research to Educational Policy and Practice: What Kind of Relationships in How (De)Centralized a Context?” and Ginsburg, et al., “The Politics of Linking Educational Research, Policy, and Practice: The Case of Improving Educational Quality in Ghana, Guatemala and Mali.). This work is linked to Adams last edited book with Clementina Acedo and Simona Popa, Quality and qualities: Tensions in education reforms (2012).