Educational institutions at all levels of the education system can make positive contributions to social change in global society by effectively bridging the gap between educational theory and practice to create optimum learning environments and outcomes for students. A clear understanding of educational policy theories and practices can allow educational policy makers to design effective frameworks for evaluating and addressing major factors affecting education systems, including social norms, political pressures, and other key variables (Plaut, 2003). School leaders may view educational policy through an ideological, organizational, political, or practical lens and analyze and interpret educational policies employing positivistic or interpretive theories. Positivist theories employ a scientific approach in examining the structural aspects of organizations, systems, and the relationships between specific interest groups, while interpretive theories may be more ideological in nature and view reality as a social construct rather than as an objective form of absolute truth (Cooper, Fusarelli, & Randall, 2004). Educational policy theory can form the basis of sound management decisions and classroom practices, leading to coherent and effective educational programs and systems. Multiple dimensions and theories can provide school leaders with new insights and perspectives on various aspects of educational policy. Policy evaluation helps to improve educational effectiveness by systematically examining the structure of the curriculum, instruction, assessment processes, and the benefits to stakeholders (Diamond, 1997). Evaluative frameworks based on educational policy theory can add clarity to the evaluation and management of complex and evolving social, political, and educational environments in the era of globalization.
Nathaniel Edwards, Yamaguchi National University, Japan
Stream: Assessment Theories & Methodologies
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