This paper considers the problematic enactment of instructional innovations. We examine how different interpretations of “success” might be explained within a frame of reference that confronts the complexities of and uncovers the contingencies relating to educational policy implementation in schools. Based on the detailed description and comparison of three different educational innovations developed and implemented in the same educational context — Singapore — we show how the intricate and delicate interrelationships that exist within and across adopters, innovators and environments influence what might be reasonably expected and achieved from specific innovation initiatives. By doing so, we hope not only to test Cohen and Ball’s framework and conjectures but also lay the groundwork for future comparative work on innovation design and evaluation, moving the research agenda forward by critically examining reasonable expectations for educational innovation.
Journal of Educational Change Vol. 11, Issue 4, p. 425-455