Graduate School of Education

At the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, we are here for change. We’re here because we believe in the power of education to build communities, bridge barriers, improve lives, and heal society. Here, we convene an ambitious and diverse community of leaders and pioneers, connecting them to one another and to a world that will benefit from their work. We equip them with immersive, real-world-based learning and research opportunities that bring them results. And we mobilize them to fulfill the promise of education in the classrooms, boardrooms, governments, and learning settings where true innovation and real transformation become possible. We offer vibrant array of high-quality master’s and doctoral degree programs.

Search results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 83
  • Publication
    Quality, Learning, and Cultural Comparisons: Trade-Offs in Educational Policy Development
    (2014-01-01) Wagner, Daniel A; Wagner, Daniel A
    With the advent of the United Nations Education First initiative, and considering the continued efforts to focus on the quality of education in low-income countries, there has been a renewed interest in the improvement of learning (as distinct from school attendance) in poor and marginalized populations (Wagner, Murphy, and de Korne, 2012).1 There is a large and diverse empirical research base in the area of human learning. Yet much of the available research is substantially limited by boundary constraints of various kinds. Most prominent among them is the limited ability to generalize from findings in one population context to other distinct population contexts. Similarly, research methods may vary greatly between one set of studies and another, making it difficult to discern whether the findings vary due to the methods or to other factors. These are classic problems in the social sciences, and inevitably lead to substantive trade-offs in how policy development takes place in education.
  • Publication
    Intervening Early and Successfully in the Education Pipeline
    (2005-09-08) Perna, Laura W; Perna, Laura W; Cooper, Michelle Asha
  • Publication
    Much Accomplished, Much at Stake: Performance and Policy in Maryland Higher Education
    (2012-02-01) Perna, Laura W; Finney, Joni E; Perna, Laura W; Finney, Joni E; Callan, Patrick
    The challenge: To maintain an internationally competitive work force, Maryland aims to increase the share of its adult population that holds at least an associate degree from 44% to 55% by 2025. To achieve this goal, the state must improve the performance of its higher education system, ameliorating its weaknesses and building on its strengths. The bottom line: Maryland’s higher education system is leaving poor, urban, black, Hispanic and native-born Marylanders behind. But a strong record of marshaling resources to achieve higher education goals and the state’s relative wealth put Maryland in a good position to do something about this problem, if it so chooses.
  • Publication
    Internationalization of Higher Education in MENA: Policy Issues Associated with Skills Formation and Mobility
    (2011-01-01) Ruby, Alan; Ruby, Alan; Jaramillo, Adriana; Henard, Fabrice; Zaafrane, Hafedh
    This policy issues note is focused on internationalization of higher education and the linkages and implications that internationalization has for skills mobility. Internationalization is one of the most important developments that globalization has brought to higher education worldwide. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it has turned into quite a complex undertaking. The Arab Spring has made it clear that young people in MENA are asking for more and better opportunities: to study and work; to move about the world; and to learn and to create new knowledge and enterprises. Higher education, migration, and labor mobility are key policy areas as MENA nations address the need for a strong skills base to underpin the economic and social development of the regions disparate economies. All three policy areas share an interest in the development, recognition, and application of educational qualifications, in the quality of education and training, and in the ability of people to acquire, provide, and use education for their own well-being and for their nation's benefit. This note is intended to be the base document for a policy dialogue integrating the three issues associated with the development of human capital: higher education, migration, and labor mobility. This note seeks to introduce a systematic policy discussion about the internationalization of higher education to help MENA countries improve the quality and relevance of their higher education systems, open opportunities for better skills development, and improve high-skilled labor migration. There are important interactions among the formation of skills and competencies, the acquisition of credentials and qualifications, and where and how those skills are applied. These include the quality of education, the ease with which credentials are recognized in different countries, the role of international partners, and the incentives to study and work in the region and elsewhere. This note will explore how a regional approach to accreditation and recognition of qualifications could bring benefits and understanding of the complex interactions among student mobility, domestic higher education, and the economic and social development priorities of MENA countries. It will also provide evidence on the importance of setting goals for intra-regional student mobility and for student and faculty flows into the region through accreditation, student and faculty exchange, hiring incentives, and research infrastructure including competitive research grants. Finally, the note will demonstrate the need for a clear policy on the 'export of educational services.'
  • Publication
    Measuring Literacy through Household Surveys: A Technical Study on Literacy Assessment and Related Education Topics through Household Surveys
    (1989) Wagner, Daniel A; Wagner, Daniel A; Srivastava, A.B.L.
    This study on Measuring Literacy through Household Surveys is one of a series of technical studies undertaken by the Statistical Office of the United Nations in Pursuance of the National Household Survey Capability Programme, to assist developing countries in the organization of household surveys.
  • Publication
    Meaningful & Sustainable School Improvement with Distributed Leadership
    (2019-06-14) Supovitz, Jonathan A; Supovitz, Jonathan A; D'Auria, John; Spillane, James P
    School leadership is broadly acknowledged to be the lynchpin for school success. Yet, amongst the countless demands that school leaders face, making wise leadership choices is increasingly challenging. On what should leaders focus their attention and how should they prioritize their improvement efforts? How can they identify, understand, and make headway on the difficult challenges that will substantially enhance the educational experiences of their students, and how can they bring their faculty together with commitment around these improvement efforts? In this essay we lay out a research-informed framework for advancing meaningful school improvement using a distributed leadership approach. This report was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Opinions in this paper reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, that of the funder.
  • Publication
    Course-taking Patterns in the 1980s
    (2017-08-22) Goertz, Margaret
    Uses data on eleventh grade students from the 1983 84 National Assessment of Progress (NAEP) as a baseline for examining the effects of changing state policies on student course taking and on the relationship between course taking and student characteristics.
  • Publication
    District-led School Turnaround: Aiming for Ambitious and Equitable Instruction in Shelby County’s iZone
    (2020-07-01) Glazer, Joshua L; Massell, Diane; Winchell Lenhoff, Sarah; Larbi-Cherif, Adrian; Egan, Cori; Taylor, James E; Ison, Ashley; Deleveaux, Joelle; Millington, Zachary
    The Shelby County iZone is a district-led effort to dramatically improve, or “turn around,” 23 of the lowest performing schools in Tennessee in the 15th largest district in the country. Despite circumstances that have derailed many past reforms, iZone schools have made statistically significant and educationally meaningful gains in mathematics and English language arts (ELA) (Zimmer, Henry, Kho, & Viano, 2015). This report presents the findings of a multi-year research project that examined the evolution of the iZone as it shifted its strategy from school-level autonomy to one that featured a common curriculum, shared pedagogy, and collegial learning. The analysis delves into the challenges that iZone leaders, principals, and teachers confronted in coping with the needs of a student population mired in intergeneration poverty, rigorous performance standards, and a stringent accountability system. The results illuminate the importance of multi-level system re-design, continuous improvement, and compromise and negotiation among key stakeholder groups.
  • Publication
    Discipline in Context: Suspension, Climate, and PBIS in the School District of Philadelphia
    (2017-10-01) Gray, Abigail M; Sirinides, Philip M; Fink, Ryan; Flack, Adrianne; DuBois, Tesla; Gray, Abigail M; Sirinides, Philip M; Fink, Ryan; Flack, Adrianne; DuBois, Tesla; Morrison, Katrina; Hill, Kirsten
    The report details a two-year exploratory, mixed-methods research study on the disciplinary practices and climate of schools serving K–8 students in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Findings reveal that SDP schools are making efforts to reduce suspensions and improve climate, but critical barriers to these efforts include resource limitations and philosophical misalignments between teachers and school leaders. The study identified three profiles among SDP schools serving K–8 students based on information about disciplinary practices and climate, and found that these profiles are predictive of suspension and academic outcomes. Students attending schools with collaborative climates and less punitive approaches to discipline have lower risk of being suspended and better academic outcomes. The report offers a series of recommendations for strengthening the implementation of climate initiatives, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), in challenging urban settings.
  • Publication
    Éire Higher Education: What American Can Learn from Ireland
    (2012-12-01) Finney, Joni E; Perna, Laura W; Finney, Joni E; Perna, Laura W
    In July 2012, the executive doctoral class of 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania’s Higher Education Management Program in the Graduate School of Education conducted an in-depth comparative study of higher education in Ireland. The international study, an important component of the executive doctoral program, was structured to model research that we completed on the relationship between public policy and performance in five U.S. states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Washington ( This research provided the foundation for the students’ research. Students examined four performance areas related to Irish higher education: 1) preparation and participation for post-secondary education; 2) completion of certificates and degrees; 3) affordability for students and families; and 4) research. Students were divided into teams to collect and analyze data on these performance areas within the broader historical, political, economic, and social context of Ireland. After an intense period of preparation, students spent a week interviewing higher education administrators and faculty at seven Irish universities and Institutes of Technology. These interviews were supplemented with interviews with the Higher Education Authority and a review of relevant documents and data related to Irish higher education. To better understand the context of Irish higher education, students also attended lectures entitled: The Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger, the Irish Potato Famine, and Teaching and Learning in Ireland. Teams of doctoral students were organized according to the performance areas. Each team conducted research and presented a final report based on its data collection and analysis to Irish leaders and delegations from the five U.S. states at an Irish/U.S. Higher Education Roundtable. Students also presented their findings to the Minister of Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn. This report reflects the lessons learned from the student research and the Roundtable discussion.