NewSchools Invent: Building a research and practice collaborative to support an expanded definition of student success
The NewSchools Invent Collaborative focuses on building a research and practice collaborative that supports school leaders in articulating, exploring, and measuring an expanded definition of student success that includes academic skills, intrapersonal and interpersonal mindsets, essential skills, and habits (MESH), school culture-climate (CC), and other skills.
Our partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) and the NewSchools Invent (NSI) cohort is focused on understanding the range of factors that contribute to students’ long-term success. We seek to analyze established and emerging academic measures while also implementing promising ways of assessing the development of MESH. Finally, we seek to develop a portfolio of measures that enable us to assess and understand the full range of knowledge, skills and mindsets that our students need for success in college, career and life, as well as the school environment and supports needed to scaffold the development of these skills.
In the first year of our partnership, we are focused on piloting measures of MESH and CC that will serve as important complements to the academic measures already in use by NSI schools. Doing so will enable educators in the participating schools to gather feedback on the impact of their existing instructional and design decisions, focus on a broader set of factors to help their own students to learn and thrive, and contribute to the rapidly evolving body of knowledge on MESH and CC nationally. We will gather this data through a combination of student and teacher surveys administered once in the fall and once in the spring.
Our approach to capturing MESH and CC will provide NSI schools with:
An indicator of students’ baseline skill levels, and will enable us to assess growth over time;
The ability to identify bright spots within the cohort – areas where a particular set of instructional practices or design decisions may be positively impacting students’ development and academic success – as well as areas where additional supports may be needed; and
A common language for NewSchools staff and ventures, enabling and accelerating collaboration across ventures and cohorts.
Goals of the partnership:
Provide actionable data and research to help school leaders expand the definition of student success and improve outcomes for students on a range of indicators that relate to long-term success;
Provide support (e.g. resources, connections, ideas, etc.) to help school leaders change practices based on research and data;
Provide data to NewSchools to help them understand their portfolio on a variety of metrics so they can identify trends and inform their board, investment partners and funders; and
Contribute to the broader national dialogue in the field about how to expand the definition of student success in research, policy and practice.