Welcome to the Raising Achievement web area!
The high cost of school failure and inequity for individuals, and for society more widely is increasingly being recognised across Europe. Raising the achievement of all learners is seen not just as a policy initiative, but also as an ethical imperative.
The 'Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education' project (2014–2017) aims to provide evidence of effective practice in raising achievement and building the capacity of schools and communities to include and support all learners. This work builds on the previous Raising Achievement for all Learners (RA4AL) Agency project from 2012.
The current project involves a range of stakeholders including school leaders, researchers, teachers, parents and learners, as well as local and national policy makers.
The key questions for the project are:
- What pedagogical strategies/teaching approaches (e.g. use of ICT, focus on key competences) best support learning and are effective in raising the achievement (academic and social) of all learners?
- How can school leaders best support:
- the development, implementation and monitoring of inputs and processes for raising achievement?
- the participation of learners, parents/carers in the learning process?
- the measurement of all forms of achievement and analysis of outcomes to inform further development?
These questions are being considered in the context of national/local policy and how it can best support learning communities to undertake organisational development and enable school leaders to raise the achievement of all learners - in particular through collaborative approaches. In this project, inclusion is seen as an organising principle and a mega-strategy to raise the achievement of all learners. This project attempts to move from the ‘what and why’ to ‘how’ leaning communities can move towards inclusive practice.
The Agency member countries involved in the Raising Achievement project are: Austria, Belgium (Flemish and French speaking communities), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
The project kick-off meeting was held in Athens on 17-19 June 2014 as an event under the Greek Presidency of the EU. Following this, three Learning Communities have been chosen to take forward the school-based work:
- Istituto Tecnico Agrario Sereni (I.T.A. Sereni) and Instituto Comprensivo Antonio Rosmini, Rome, Italy
- A group of Schools in Łajski, Commune of Wieliszew, Poland
- Calderglen Learning Community, East Kilbride, UK (Scotland).
The Learning Communities have identified some key issues as a focus for the practical work including:
- Sustaining school development
- Increasing the capability of the workforce
- Developing a curriculum and pedagogical approaches that motivate and engage all learners
- Increasing the learner voice in assessment and learning
- Working with parents and the local community
In 2015, the project team and participants (primarily researchers and school leaders from member countries) visited the three sites in order to explore the identified issues and support the learning communities to introduce relevant initiatives.
Follow-up visits to the three Learning Communities took place during 2016. The site visits involved presentations and workshops on key issues relevant to the Learning Communities. Project experts and staff from the Learning Communities discussed the successes and the challenges that informed further work and priorities.
Positive outcomes appear to be emerging from the activities of the Learning Communities, in particular: the development of strategies to increase staff engagement; increased parental involvement; closer collaboration with the wider community (e.g. neighbourhood schools, universities); examination of pedagogy for deep learning; the implementation of the ‘growth mindset’ learning approach; cross disciplinary teaching to provide a more relevant curriculum; focus on self-review and examining the ‘quality’ of inclusive practice; professional development for staff.
Throughout the project, the participants have been sharing ideas via an on-line forum. This forum serves as a platform for communication and on-going support on three levels: within the learning communities, between the learning communities and among the 'international learning zone'.
The project draws on information from relevant work and research in member countries as well as the findings of the RA4AL project and other Agency work. A range of project outputs will be published to support work to raise the achievement of all learners. In particular a comprehensive, international literature review in relation to raising achievement has been produced, which provides background information to support the development of evidence-based strategies and promote innovation in schools.
Information on participating countries’ policy and practice for raising achievement has been collected via a survey. This information will also be used in project outputs, which include: practical advice and audit tools for different stakeholder groups (e.g. teachers, school leaders); implications of project findings for policy makers; and finally, an evaluation of the project process, in particular on collaborative approaches.
The project is still underway and will conclude with a final meeting in April 2017. This meeting will be a working Conference which will take place in Malta, under the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
Further information will be posted as it becomes available.