, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 335-352
Date: 30 Aug 2012

Educational reform as a dynamic system of problems and solutions: Towards an analytic instrument

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Abstract

Large-scale educational reforms are difficult to realize and often fail. In the literature, the course of reform and problems associated with this are frequently discussed. The explanations and recommendations then provided are so diverse that it is difficult to gain a comprehensive overview of what factors are at play and how to take them into consideration. In this article, a model to provide a comprehensive framework for the analysis of educational reforms is presented. Education is conceptualized as a social system and educational reform thus as the manner in which this social system adapts to a changing context. The upper secondary education reforms undertaken in the 1990s in the Netherlands are adopted as a test case to evaluate the utility of the model. The results of the study paint a picture of educational reform as a loosely organized system of problems and solutions. The possibilities and potential limitations of the model are discussed in closing.