William G. Spady is an academic, educational psychologist[1], sociologist and is considered the father of Outcome-Based Education (OBE)[2]. He is largely noted for his works that attempt to expand and enhance the philosophical grounding and performance of educators, leaders, educational systems, and learners.[3] Spady is also the head of ChangeLeaders.


Spady became a lecturer at Harvard University and the Ontario Institute of Education from 1967 to 1973.[4] He has also worked as a senior research sociologist at the National Institute of Education and as an Associate Executive Director of the American Association for School Administrators.[4]

Spady and OBE

Spady coined the term outcome-based education in 1988 as an extension of the works completed by John Franklin Bobbitt and Ralph W. Tyler.[5] OBE is referred to by over 20 different names including Systemic education restructuring, Performance Based Education, Standards based education reform, High Performance Learning, Total Quality Management, Transformational Education, and Competency-Based Education. In his conceptualization, Spady described OBE as the reorientation in educational system towards what is essential for all students to be successful at the end of their learning experiences.[6] This primarily entails the identification of what is important for the learners to be able to do so that the curriculum, instruction and assessment are organized accordingly.[6]

Spady's research is still widely cited in nations such as Australia which are still adopting OBE. Nevertheless, the names have been changed in the US largely due strong negative responses to these programs when they have been introduced to actual students and parents. All of these titles refer to a similar philosophy and a plan which implements radical and "systemic" change into schools. Many have researched the thousands of articles on the internet referring to Spady, with many showing the beneficial effects of his theories on actual children.[7]

Spady also participated in the Task Force on Education Organization created in Minnesota by a 1988 legislative session.[8] The task force's draft for outcomes system followed his approach.[8] He was honored for his OBE work in the Philippines in 2015, where they are implementing OBE in some of their schools for grade level 10-12.


Spady is the author or co-author of nine books. His latest book, Bringing Heart and Soul to Education, was published in 2014. He has also worked for Breakthrough Learning at Dillon, Colorado.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Evans, Ronald W. (2014). Schooling Corporate Citizens: How Accountability Reform has Damaged Civic Education and Undermined Democracy. New York: Routledge. pp. xviii, 139. ISBN 9781138788428.
  2. ^ "Who's Who in Outcome Based Education". integraonline.com. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  3. ^ Spady, William G.; Schwahn, Charles J. (2010). Learning Communities 2.0: Educating in the Age of Empowerment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-60709-608-5.
  4. ^ a b Killen, Roy. "William Spady: A Paradign Pioneer" (PDF). SA.gov.au. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  5. ^ O'Donoghue, Tom (2017). Understanding Contemporary Education: Key themes and issues. Oxon: Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 9781138678255.
  6. ^ a b Fraser, Barry J.; Tobin, Kenneth; McRobbie, Campbell J. (2011). Second International Handbook of Science Education, Part One. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 1259. ISBN 978-1-4020-9040-0.
  7. ^ "Last December, the School Board approved the hiring of William Spady of ChangeLeaders, .. is sociologist and the self-proclaimed father of OBE" [1] Archived 2006-01-11 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "Outcome-Based Education: Has It Become More Affliction Than Cure?". American Experiment. Retrieved 2020-03-20.