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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Review of Education, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published online and edited by students from the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. The Berkeley Review of Education engages issues of educational diversity and equity within cognitive, developmental, sociohistorical, linguistic, and cultural contexts. The BRE encourages submissions on research and theory from senior and emerging scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers. To submit a paper, please click on "Submit article to this journal" in the side bar.

Spring/Summer 2019

Editors' Introduction


Choice Matters: Equity and Literacy Achievement

Students’ freedom of choice is critical to promoting equity and literacy in the classroom. When students choose what they read, they are more likely to find books that represent their lives, interests, and personal desires and feel that they are autonomous and can self-regulate learning. Previous research suggests that offering choice during learning activities increases motivation. However, less is known about whether choice is related to reading performance and which factors predict choice. Examining data from fourth-grade students, we found that students’ perception of choice in their reading materials is associated with literacy achievement, even when accounting for the degree to which the teacher reports providing choice of texts in the classroom and student interest. These findings suggest that true choice (i.e., choice that resides within the student) is linked to greater learning than choice that a teacher determines externally. Further, we argue it may be especially important for educators to explore ways to expand the perceived options available to students with the lowest demonstrated in-school literacy competencies.


Challenging the Relationship Between Settler Colonial Ideology and Higher Education Spaces

In this article, I analyze, evaluate, and problematize the structure of settler colonialism and demonstrate how it is a process that remains entrenched in the U.S. educational system. I build on previous work done on settler colonial ideology by linking structural forms of settler colonial power to the lived experiences of Indigenous students, using their voices to describe how pervasive and harmful settler colonial ideology is in practice. From their descriptions of the replication of colonial ideology within policies and practices in higher education, the participants create a compelling image of the ongoing dominant influence of settler colonial power in their lives. Challenging settler colonial ideology is not just about providing a more accurate historical record of what occurred in the U.S. Rather, challenging settler colonial ideology reaffirms the value and importance of Indigenous people in the U.S.


“Signifying Nothing”: Identifying Conceptions of Youth Civic Identity in the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards and the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ Reading Framework

This manuscript examines how national reading policies in the United States shape specific kinds of civic identities for K–12 students. We engage in a thematic discourse analysis of two contemporary national policy documents—the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Framework—to understand the ways citizenship is defined and constructed at the national level. By reading these documents for how they conceptualize civic-based educational outcomes, we interrogate the disconnects between this language and the civic contexts—and potential outlets for civic action—that young people are navigating in the United States today. We examine how seemingly benign policy documents define citizenship in increasingly narrow visions of individualist passivity, and how such definitions run counter to the expansive visions necessary to honor the lived experiences of young citizens of color. Our analysis highlights how these policy documents structure literacy practices, including the variety of texts that students encounter, opportunities to analyze those texts, and specific forms of engagement with media and messages found in society, in ways that stymie a Freirian reading of the word and the world. Ultimately, we suggest how educators might work within the limited pedagogical spaces of these policies toward liberatory ends.