Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Paradigm Shifts in Large-Scale Educational Change: Uncovering the Oregon Education Investment Board's Theory of Change-in-Action
by Blackford, Johanna Kathryn, Ed.D., Portland State University, 2020, 274; 27738907
Abstract (Summary)

Education system leaders and policymakers around the globe expend vast amounts of resources on educational reform efforts and despite positive intentions, most attempts to affect educational change fail to realize large-scale, sustainable, positive outcomes—yet some have. While it is widely acknowledged that no two systems’ educational change journeys are the same, what is becoming clear is that there is significant similarity among the thinking or paradigms underpinning theories of change-in-action guiding positive large-scale system-wide reform. This research highlights four change paradigms and suggests that a collective learning paradigm guided by systems thinking represents the paradigm shift associated with successful large-scale change. With pragmatic aims, this study employs single, holistic case study methods to uncover the theory of change-in-action of the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB)—a governor-appointed board operating between 2011 and 2015 tasked with coordinating a seamless system of public education within the U.S. state. Analysis and synthesis of the OEIB’s collective actions reveal that “education as workforce development” was the primary aim of the reform, with an “outcome focused nexus” as the primary driver guiding the theory of change-in-action. Comparison with change paradigms, including those guiding the best systems in the world, highlight that the OEIB maintained the U.S. paradigmatic neoliberalist status quo for standardized market driven educational change despite espoused aims and efforts to do otherwise. This research highlights the relative invisibility and persistence of change paradigms as a critical source of replication of errors of the past. Development and use of change paradigm ideal types may help liberate those working within an educational system by unlocking the door to new ways of conceiving common dilemmas and identifying new policies and connected strategies that arise from a collective learning systems thinking paradigm known to be more successful.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Henry, Samuel
Commitee: Burk, Patrick, Carlson, Matthew, Ingle, Marcus, Stevens, Dannelle D
School: Portland State University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 81/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Educational change, Large-scale change, Paradigm shift, Systems thinking, Whole system reform
Publication Number: 27738907
ISBN: 9781658492478
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