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CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Fritz Mosher

Senior Research Specialist, CPRE

Research Consultant, Teachers College, Columbia University

Professional Biography

Fritz Mosher's writing and consulting are concerned with trying to help increase public and policymaker understanding of the relationship between education policy and practice, and of the knowledge required to inform policies that are constructive rather than corrosive. He has a PhD in Social Relations (Cognitive and Social Psychology) from Harvard University. For 36 years he was a program officer and policy analyst at Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grantmaking education foundation. At the Corporation he worked in a number of program areas including research on international affairs and international development, U.S. governmental reform, including strengthening state legislatures and Congress (you see how well that has gone), African universities' role in supporting the development of eduction systems in Anglophone African countries, and reform of U.S. public elementary and secondary education, particularly in their ability to respond to less well-served populations. In the 1980's and early '90's he was Chair of the Corporation's Program on Avoiding Nuclear War, focusing among other things on U.S.-Soviet relations as, as it turned out, they moved toward the end of the "Cold War."

Following his retirement from the Corporation, he has worked variously as a consultant on education research and policy issues to: Achieve, Inc.; the U.S. Department of Education's Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement; RAND Corporation; the Spencer Foundation; the McArthur Foundation Research Network on Teaching and Learning; and, since 2003, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In helping, along with Tom Corcoran, to develop CPRE's Hewlett-funded Center on Continuous Instructional Improvement (CCII), he has focused on what would be required to realize the ambitious "all students" goals of standards-based education reform, and particularly on what it would take to support teachers in being able to adapt their instruction so as to meet the particular needs of each of their students and to help them all succeed, rather than just teaching their subject and expecting that some of their students would get it, and some would not. That concern with adaptive instruction has led to an emphasis on the practice of formative assessment, and on the potential role of "learning progressions" for providing the kind of knowledge of how students learn that teachers would need if they are actually to carry out formative assessment and adaptive instruction.

His recent work with CCSSO's "State Innovation Labs" was concerned with taking advantage of a promising opportunity to provide a space within which practitioners, researchers, and developers can work together to design more effective approaches to instruction, free of at least some of the real world pressures that otherwise constrain, and limit the time for, true experimentation.