A Framework for a Taxonomy of Schools

Report • August 2015 • By Mark Van Ryzin

Much of the discussion about ‘what’s working’ suggests that students learn because the school is public, private, district, charter, parochial or whatever. This is bizarre: Clearly, students learn from what goes on in the school; from its curriculum, pedagogy, materials and teachers.

The discussion falls back on ‘jurisdictional status’, becomes simply political, because we have no set of concepts, no language, that lets us talk about schools as schools. The field of education research has never—astonishingly—developed a systematic and orderly way to describe and classify the subject of its study.

In 2007 Mark Van Ryzin, working with Education Evolving and with help from the Spencer Foundation, developed a framework that sets out characteristics and variables that researchers and evaluators can use. The paper was completed in 2007, and was formally published in 2015.