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) aimed 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 built on the previous Raising Achievement for all Learners (RA4AL) Agency project from 2012.
The project involved 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 were:
- 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 were 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 were: 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 emerged from the project activities, 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 were sharing ideas via an on-line forum. This forum served 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 concluded with the Raising Achievement International Conference in April 2017. This was a working Conference which took place in Malta, under the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
A range of project outputs will be published to support work to raise the achievement of all learners. These outputs draw on information from the findings of the RA project, relevant work and research in member countries, as well as and other Agency work. They include:
- A project conceptual framework and terminology paper. This paper contains the definitions of key terms and concepts used in the RA project.
- Individual countries’ approaches to raising achievement. Information on participating countries’ policy and practice for raising achievement was collected via the RA project survey. This information will be available online in the form of 22 detailed individual country reports.
- A project overview report: Raising the Achievement of all Learners in Inclusive Education: Lessons from European Policy and Practice. This report provides an overview of the RA project. It outlines policy and practice in many of the participating Agency member countries. It also discusses the particular challenges that countries raised, with reference to both recent literature and project findings. Finally, it makes some recommendations to address these challenges.
- Raising the Achievement of All Learners: a resource to Support Self-Review. This resource includes materials to be used in local level for school self-evaluation and in considering the support needed from the national policy context.
- Raising the Achievement of all Learners in Inclusive Education – Literature Review. This international literature review provides background information to support the development of evidence-based strategies and promote innovation in schools.
- Key Actions for Raising Achievement: Guidance for teachers and leaders. This guidance provides materials which aim to increase the schools’ capacity to raise the achievement of all learners. The materials can be used by school leaders and teachers to plan and develop effective leadership approaches as well as quality teaching, learning and assessment strategies at whole-school and classroom levels.
Further information on the project outputs will be posted as it becomes available.