High School Redesign: Carnegie Unit as a Catalyst for Change

  • Barbara Brown University of Calgary https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6862-4157
  • Gabriela Alonso-Yanez University of Calgary
  • Sharon Friesen University of Calgary
  • Michele Jacobsen University of Calgary
Keywords: school reform, high school, Carnegie Unit, collaborative inquiry

Abstract

Researchers examined seven schools in Alberta undergoing high school redesign and removing the Carnegie Unit, a time-based metric for awarding course credits. A mixed methods convergent parallel design was used to gather data from leadership teams in the schools and to examine evidence of impact on student learning. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed concurrently and then merged for the analysis. Findings illustrate that removing the Carnegie Unit was a catalyst for redesign and learning improvements.  Five constitutive factors enable high school redesign, including a collective disposition as a learning community, a focus on relationship building, obtaining student input, collaboration, and making changes to learning tasks and assessment practices.  The findings provide insight into the ways in which leadership teams formed complex adaptive systems to enable change and may serve to inform practitioners and school leaders, schools and systems, and those who study policy changes in schools.

Author Biographies

Barbara Brown, University of Calgary

Assistant Professor, Werklund School of Education

Gabriela Alonso-Yanez, University of Calgary
Assistant Professor, Werklund School of Education
Sharon Friesen, University of Calgary
Professor, Werklund School of Education
Michele Jacobsen, University of Calgary
Professor, Werklund School of Education
Published
2020-06-29
Section
Articles