Filling a research gap
The idea for the project emerged several years ago from conversations between Bromley and Rie Kijima, MA ’03, PhD ’13, who was then interim director of the International Comparative Education/International Education Policy Analysis (ICE/IEPA) master’s program at the GSE.
Kijima had been exploring the effects of international assessments in shaping education policy, interviewing policymakers around the world who attributed waves of reform to the testing system. She consulted Bromley, who teaches on global education policy and the sociology of education at the GSE. “We wanted to look into how testing might generate waves of reform,” Bromley said, “but we realized there was no data out there to look at that question.”
The two set out to compile data on national policy changes around the world to help answer this research question, using techniques that Bromley had used in earlier research to code textbook content. “I thought we could apply a similar framework to pull information out of the reports that countries submit to international organizations,” she said.
They assembled a team of research assistants and collected more than 800 reports submitted to organizations such as the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and UNESCO. GSE doctoral students Lisa Overbey, Minju Choi, Heitor Santos, and Jieun Song have been central in the process, training cohorts of undergraduate student researchers to use a coding system to compile the data on education reforms.