Addressing complex educational problems using positive deviance requires detective work. The task: to discover “outliers” who have succeeded under conditions where most others fail; uncover the strategies they use; and design opportunities to share those strategies.
Posts by Sarah McKay
September 20, 2017 June 21, 2017
Three up-and-coming networked improvement communities share common “messy” challenges and helpful advice at Carnegie’s 2017 Summit on Improvement in Education.
May 4, 2017
Some of the most successful efforts to identify and solve problems in teaching and learning occur within networked improvement communities. A new journal article lays out five critical strategies for success in building these collaborative teams of professionals.
April 25, 2017
Variability is everywhere in education. Everything from a school’s location to the textbooks it uses impact student learning. The Six Sigma approach to improvement emphasizes data analysis to reduce variance and inefficiency in school processes to help all students succeed.
April 20, 2017
Everyone has a stake and a say in the Lean approach to improving educational achievement. The school improvement model evolved from Toyota’s philosophy of building a culture in which all employees were empowered and expected to be part of providing the best possible product.
March 15, 2017
The implementation science approach to improvement in education centers on how to accommodate local school variables and other contextual factors that can impede successful implementation of change ideas, by creating teams that include external facilitators and specialists.
March 8, 2017
A broad collaboration of stakeholders, from teachers and administrators to researchers and designers, is a key element of design-based implementation research, a school change approach illustrated by an effort to improve genetics instruction from kindergarten to high school.
March 2, 2017
When the Kentucky Department of Education wanted a strategy to significantly increase the number of high school students prepared for college and/or careers, it turned to deliverology, a method used by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to make good on his campaign promises.
February 23, 2017
A special issue of the journal Quality Assurance in Education breaks down seven approaches to improvement in education, beginning with the networked improvement model. Explore key features and principles of this method through a successful example of helping new teachers.
May 2, 2016
At the Carnegie Summit, Hahrie Han shared insights from her research on participation and activism. One of the big questions she addressed is, how can we best mobilize people to work toward change together?
April 18, 2016
At the 2016 Carnegie Summit, Alex “Sandy” Pentland shared his research in the field of social physics that can help us understand the relationships between human behavior, collective experience, and the spread of ideas.
April 13, 2016
What “Living Improvement” Really Looks Like: Confronting Uncertainty and Maintaining a Paradoxical Mindset
At the 2016 Carnegie Summit, Anthony S. Bryk gave a glimpse of what it looks like to struggle towards a common understanding of a problem and develop a working theory of improvement.
March 17, 2016
In this AEI report, Alan Ginsburg and Carnegie Senior Fellow Mike Smith analyze 27 RCT mathematics curriculum studies contained in the What Works Clearinghouse, and they find serious threats to the usefulness of all 27.
February 16, 2016
In “Quality and Equality in American Education: Systemic Problems, Systemic Solutions,” Jennifer O’Day and Carnegie Senior Fellow Marshall (Mike) Smith explore how the field might understand and address the underlying systems that result in disparate educational outcomes.
January 10, 2016
In “Proof,” Policy, and Practice: Understanding the Role of Evidence in Improving Education, Paul E. Lingenfelter discusses differing ideas around what is considered “proof” of improvement in education and how to make it more actionable.
September 25, 2015
Teachers know that motivation matters. It is central to student learning; it helps determine how engaged students are in their work, how hard they work, and how well they persevere in the face of challenges. Though we hear mostly about the “achievement gap” between demographic groups, researchers have also identified…
September 22, 2015
The third brief in a series examining trends in teacher evaluation, this report details findings both from recent research on observer training and from conversations with experts from district officials in five districts.
July 28, 2015
To reach increasingly high academic demands, we must better support student engagement. In “Motivation Matters," writers Susan Headden and Sarah McKay define key terms, discuss research findings, and explain promising approaches to boosting student motivation.
February 18, 2015
The Carnegie Foundation hosted an expert convening to focus on improving Title II by using improvement science tools to deepen our understanding of the problem the act is trying to solve.
September 26, 2014
Panelists at Carnegie’s convening, Using Evidence to Advance Teaching: The Promise of Improvement Science in Networks, discuss how to create a political environment to support and not impede the use of improvement science.
May 28, 2014
As Carnegie Senior Associate Susan Headden writes in her recent report "Beginners in the Classroom," public education loses a lot of new teachers to attrition and pays a heavy price in talent and treasure.
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