School aggregators

The global school system of approximately 5 million schools is highly fragmented. The different school sub-systems and school networks function predominantly in siloes due to diverse geographic or thematic foci. At the same time, individual schools and school actors have limited possibilities to contribute to, access and use relevant evidence to strengthen their everyday teaching to ultimately improve student learning outcomes. School leaders are seldomly a core player at policy debates, be it at regional, national or global level. Lastly, peer learning across different schools and education systems is usually limited despite emerging evidence showing the importance of such communities of practice.

The overarching goal of Learning Schools is to foster a global school system that facilitates the generation and transfer of research and good practices, allows for peer-learning among schools and incentivizes evidence use for teaching and decision-making. To maximize our impact, we will work with a selected group of school aggregators: organizations or institutions that group a large number of schools within and across national education systems. The role of an aggregator can vary from setting curriculum standards, creating a community of practice or being a pure information-sharing network.

The long-term partnerships with these aggregators aim to strengthen and link the different sub-systems of the global school system, such as public or private schools, schools in high-resource or low-resource contexts, or schools with a particular curriculum.

The key objectives of these partnerships are:
– to identify, strengthen and codify promising practices,
– to test and further develop good practices through applied research,
– to broadly disseminate relevant findings and ultimately replicate best practices and
– to facilitate peer learning among school members and across school aggregators.

Our current partnerships are:

  • Background

    Globally, a large and growing share of children are educated outside of government schools. The non-state sector – which includes a vibrant mix of non-profit, for-profit, and faith-based organizations – has played an important role in education systems in the last two decades, as evidenced by the rapid expansion in low- and middle-income countries of low-fee private schools. There is evidence to suggest that non-state operators have been successful in expanding access by increasing the number of school places available, especially in settings where there is a gap in state provision.

    Nevertheless, low levels of learning persist across both non-state and public schools.  In response, over the last decade, passionate entrepreneurs have entered the sector and established innovative schooling models that seek to deliver high-quality education at affordable cost. Unfortunately, many of these pioneers are working as “islands of excellence” – lacking access to the relationships and know-how that could enable them to scale effectively.

    The Global Schools Forum (GSF) is a network organization established to respond to the rapid growth and variable quality of non-state education across Sub Saharan Africa, South America, and Asia. With an ambition to reach 200 members by 2024, the organization focuses on collaboration & best practice, policy & partnerships, and data & evidence.

  • The Collaboration
    The Jacobs Foundation will support GSF in the process of developing its data and evidence activities. Core to the work are principles of producing high quality global public goods that are open source and partnering with research organizations to co-develop and lead the work. This work will have three components: i.) Learning Labs to identify and scale promising existing innovations among GSF members; ii.) an Annual Member Survey to collect data on a set of shared metrics from the GSF membership and iii.) a bi-annual ‘State of the Sector’ report that will focus on consolidating and analyzing the latest evidence on the quality and growth of the non-state sector.
  • Duration:
    March 2021 – March 2024
  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
    John Soleanicov, Co-Lead Learning Schools
  • Background

    The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a s a globally recognized education organization that delivers and accredits implementation of an international curriculum for private and public schools. The curriculum aims at developing students as critical thinkers with a multilingual skill set and international mindedness, and a structured approach to problem-solving. It is delivered through four programs in over 5’000 schools across the world.

    As one of our School Aggregators, the IB is fully aligned with the Jacobs Foundation’s approach of evidence to action to system given its pioneer role in developing and cultivating 21st century skills in schools worldwide with an evidence lens. It also helps the Jacobs Foundation reach its goal to generate, transfer and translate evidence by exploring the frontiers of learning, rigorously testing promising approaches, and codifying best practices in teaching.

  • The Collaboration

    The goal is to develop a “mastery transcript” that allows teachers to measure student progress on creativity and curiosity, and to identify and assess school-based teaching approaches that encourage these two central 21st century skills. This is expected to allow teachers and schools to broaden the focus beyond measurement and teaching of literacy and numeracy only.

    The transcript is being developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), who also gathers data on existing teaching of 21st century skills at a group of diverse IB schools all over the world.

    The Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) is conducting research on promising teaching methods in the classrooms of another group of selected international IB schools. Based on these findings, relevant materials for use in schools will be developed for teachers to effectively strengthen curiosity and creativity.

  • Duration:
    July 2020 – Dec 2021
  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
    Cathrin Jerie, Program Manager
  • Background

    Schools2030 is a ten-year participatory action research and learning improvement program based in 1,000 government schools in marginalized contexts across ten countries. Using the principles of human-centered design and focusing on learners’ key transition years of ages 5, 10 and 15, Schools2030 seeks to catalyze locally-rooted school solutions to inform systems-level approaches for improving holistic learning outcomes for all by 2030.

    The overall aim of the Schools2030 program is to improve learning outcomes and to increase the levels of agency for school-level stakeholders to reclaim the discourse about ‘what works’ from the bottom-up, rather than the top-down. At the heart of the Schools2030 approach is the recognition that schools should be the drivers of social change.

  • The Collaboration

    One of the key aims of the partnership is to develop and implement a “Teacher Solutions Bootcamp” as part of the overall human-centered design approach of the program. This bootcamp will strengthen the capacity of the educators across the Schools2030 network of 1,000 schools to be able to better design, measure, codify, package, and showcase their school-level solution for local, national and global education policy audiences.

    Secondly, a set of global calls for research is expected to improve the evidence base on variability of learning. Due to a comprehensive dissemination strategy, these research grants will strengthen the linkage between the Schools2030 network of schools, governments, donors, and civil society members with leading experts in the global academic and research communities.

  • Duration:
    July 2021 – June 2024
  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
    Gelgia Fetz, Co-Lead Learning Minds
  • Background
    Launched in 2007, Teach For All is a global network developing the collective leadership to ensure all children can fulfill their potential. Since its inception, the network has grown to include independent, locally-led partner organizations in 60 countries on six continents, including its founding partners Teach For America and Teach First. Each network partner cultivates local leadership by recruiting and developing promising future leaders to teach in their nations’ under-resourced schools and communities and, with this foundation, to work with others, inside and outside of education, to ensure all children have the education, support, and opportunity to shape a better future for themselves and all of us.
  • The Collaboration

    The Jacobs Foundation and Teach For All collaboration centers around the Teach for All Global Learning Lab which facilitates collective learning among practitioners around the world to surface and spread actionable insights about teacher practices, actions and mindsets that lead to every student having the opportunity to develop their unique potential.

    With support from the Jacobs Foundation, Teach For All will infuse applied research capacity and methods into the Global Learning Lab to help develop and evolve actionable tools for teachers and school leaders around the world, monitor the actual impact of those ideas and resources, and spread key insights into learner-centered teaching and learning. The collaboration will also expand the breadth of Teach For All’s Inclusive Education course and fellowship focused on supporting education to address learner variability through culturally sustaining pedagogy, Universal Design for Learning and metacognition.

  • Partner:
    Teach For All
  • Duration:
    August 2021 – July 2022
  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
  • Background

    Young 1ove is a non-governmental organization based in Gaborone, Botswana, that scales proven high-impact programs in health and education in Southern Africa. The organization works evidence-based with programs delivered by youth for youth.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Young 1ove successfully developed and implemented low-tech solutions in Botswana that leverage text messages and direct phone calls to empower parents to educate their children at home. This targeted instruction approach relates to principles from “Teaching at the Right Level” (TaRL), a proven, highly cost-efficient intervention tailoring the instruction to learning levels rather than age or grade in low-resource contexts.

  • The Collaboration

    The Jacobs Foundation supports initiatives which reduce the negative impact of school closures due to COVID-19 and which allow for learning across different contexts. The successful and rigorously evaluated intervention from Botswana will now be tested in 3-5 different countries through replication trials.

    The results of the study have the potential to scale-up a successful evidence-based intervention across different countries and compare these different settings. Even beyond the pandemic, the low-tech solutions tested in Botswana have the unique potential to reach the masses, particularly for families with fewer resources, low literacy levels and limited internet connectivity at home.

  • Duration:
    November 2020 – December 2021
  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
    Romana Kropilova, Program Specialist
  • Background:
    The VSLCH was founded in 1994 as an umbrella organization for the cantonal associations of school principals in German-speaking Switzerland. The association pursues overarching educational policy goals to create the school of the future: a socially just and sustainable education system and collaboration with all relevant organizations and professionals; quality of life and education for both students and teachers; supporting the quality development of Swiss elementary schools and supporting effective management for the organization of schools. School administrators have a key role to play here. The association sees its role as building bridges at national level and actively influences Swiss education policy.
  • Collaboration:
    The Jacobs Foundation supports two VSLCH projects: a study on how to make school administration more professional and a publication on best practices for the learning of the future.

    There is currently no systematic and continuous data collection being carried out in Switzerland on school administration and its pedagogical role. In collaboration with CLACESO (Conférence Latine des Chefs d’Etablissement de la Scolarité Obligatoire) and the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland, the association is conducting a study on the professionalization of school administration to ensure that they can create the best possible framework conditions in their schools.

    In the Swiss education system, there is no generally valid and sustainable vision of best practices for learning of the future, with the exception of Curriculum 21. The VSLCH therefore wants to prepare the ground for a common vision with the book “Schule 21 macht glücklich” (“Curriculum 21 Makes You Happy”; only available in German), which will be published in 2021. Experts from practice, research, associations and other areas which are relevant to education contribute their ideas and plans.

  • Contact:
    Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools
    Julia Wyss, Program Manager

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