Reimagining Education Series: Strategies for Innovative Systems Change

Region 1 states—Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont—have been pioneering and piloting innovative practices in education for decades. As schools in New England and across the country return to more in-person schooling and plan for the future, educators and policymakers hope to apply what we’ve learned about education innovations before and during the pandemic. These innovations will help build an education system that better supports all students and can address the long-standing inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper series highlights evidence-based practices schools can implement as they reimagine what education looks like for the students they serve. Each paper in the series focuses on promising practices prioritized by Region 1 states before and during the pandemic. Evidence suggests these practices hold potential to positively impact student outcomes, including outcomes for students historically underserved by existing education systems. The three papers are described briefly below:

  • College and career pathways to advance equity and opportunity. College and career pathways may provide students with opportunities to engage with learning outside of the school building, explore different careers, and develop workforce skills. This paper describes strategies for developing college and career pathways, including career and technical education programs, work-based learning opportunities, and accelerated college credit programs.
  • Approaches for assessing student learning. Region 1 states have been developing and adopting alternative approaches for assessing student learning for many years (one example is New Hampshire’s PACE system). This paper outlines three different models for assessment of student learning, including competency-based assessment, authentic assessment, and formative assessment.
  • Strategies for student-directed learning. During remote and hybrid learning, many students in Region 1 and across the U.S. assumed greater responsibility for managing their time and solving problems independently. Schools can consider how to continue providing opportunities for students to direct their own learning and engage in learning activities that align directly to students’ interests. This paper outlines two strategies for advancing student-directed learning: personalized learning plans and supporting student voice and choice in the classroom.

Whether implemented alone or in combination with other strategies, these three topics highlight opportunities to reimagine education by prioritizing innovative changes to education systems (see Figure 1). The full introductory paper provides additional context for the topics highlighted in this series.

Figure 1: Reimagining Education Through Strategies for Innovative Systems Change


The contents of this blog were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.