Dylan Wiliam, is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London. He pursued a research program focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.
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Dylan will argue that the main reason that most system-wide educational reforms have failed is that they have ignored (1) the importance of teacher quality for student progress; (2) the fact that teacher quality is highly variable; and (3) that teacher quality has differential impact on different students. Teacher quality can be improved by replacing teachers with better ones, but this is slow, and of limited impact. This suggests that the future economic prosperity of each country requires improving the quality of the teachers already working in its schools. We can help teachers develop their practice in a number of ways; some of these will benefit students, and some will not. Developments with the biggest impact appear to be those that involve changes in practice, which will require new kinds of teacher learning, new models of professional development, and new models of leadership.