The academic and educational industry is one complex domain that controls the success and accuracy of all other aspects of livelihoods, including healthcare and economics. Based on the intensified relevance of education, there is a need for regular scaling up and updated conceptualization of the scale in such a way that the knowledge impacted in people is not only quality but also relevant and applicable in an ideal life setting. Scaling-up in education is, therefore, a process through which the education system tends to upgrade the system and environment as quality reforms that are mandated to make the knowledge acquired quality, relevant, and also sustainable. The change in conceptualization, implementation and adherence to scaling up in education systems is the primary purpose for different educational literature that can help in describing the changes in the reform process in the course of time.
Among the research articles describing these changes is Richard Elmore’s getting to scale…it seemed like a good idea at that time. From this article, Elmore describes the state of education reforms in the mid-1990s. According to the author, the need for educational reforms was triggered by the underperformance of a number of American schools, and therefore the future of the education system proved effective in the implementation of scaling up. In his findings, Elmore reveals that the implementation of educational reforms at that time was nothing but a good idea that looked forward to improving the quality of education system. as a recommendation therefore, the author and who is the researcher encouraged people to push beyond humanly limits and embrace policy-driven reforms that purposely aim at improving the quality of education (Elmore, 2016). In embracing these reforms, the 1990s understanding of scaling had few concepts to be understood, and the main one was to impose implementation on something known and learning is this concept. Scaling-up in the 1990s therefore was solely based on “pursuit of intentional surprise”.
With the changing times, the education setting and quality of knowledge acquired changed and this dictate updated reforms. The updated reforms put into consideration different meanings and understanding that reformers and education systems have on the terminology, scaling-up. The author Cynthia Coburn in her article, “rethinking scale” introduces the change in the conceptualization of scaling-up from the original meaning that Elmore explains. According to Elmore, the education system just needed reforms to better the performance of underperforming schools but does not specify the conceptualization and dimensions of reforms. However, Coburn introduces the redefinition of scale from Elmore’s generalization perspective to a more focused and planned initiative.
From Coburn’s findings, effective implementation of scaling-up in the education system depends on reformers understanding of in-depth, the nature of the change needed, the spreading pattern and most importantly ownership of scaling reforms. From Coburn’s research, the findings were in accordance with the 2000s time when redefinition of scale was necessary (Coburn, 2003). Some of the recommendations and conclusions that the author draws here are creating a deep understanding and conceptualization of the reforms through development of a consequential change. Secondly, there is a need to facilitate a wide-spreading principle-based implementation. The form of spreading according to Coburn should be from teachers to classrooms to school and entire educational system. last but not least is the ownership of reforms. From Elmore’s point of view, educational scaling was in accordance with the legal systems (key external reformers). Coburn however encourages need for internal reformers that include teachers, school management and education leaders at district level. To conclude, Coburn calls for reconceptualization of scale with special consideration of depth, spread and ownership of the reforms.