Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Corcoran, T. & Goertz, M. (1995). Instructional capacity and high performance schools. Educational Researcher, 24 (9), 27-31.

Capacity is a current topic of discussion among those interested in school reform efforts. The views on capacity vary. Among those advocates of systemic reform, the focus is on the capacity for policy alignment, adoption of standards, development of curriculum and assessments, and changes in governance. Among those who advocate a school-by-school change, capacity means the creation of learning communities, changes in governance, and opportunities for teachers to share knowledge. The authors suggest "capacity" could mean the maximum production of a school or educational system if the product is defined as high-quality instruction. The instructional capacity of a school appears to be determined by the intellectual ability, knowledge, and skills of the faculty; the quality and quantity of resources available for teaching; and the social organization of instruction. The authors describe nine issues related to capacity and capacity-building drawn from their review of the research literature. These include the role of student readiness, the fit between reform vision and strategies, the knowledge about instruction, the sequence of implementation, the effect of incentives, the strategies for professional development, the instructional materials available to support reform, the role of the school district, and the level of understanding of the relationships between pedagogy and effects.

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