Improvement Science in Practice

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Course duration: November 2015-May 2016
In-person workshop: December 2-4, 2015

Carnegie Foundation HQ
Stanford, CA


December 2–4, 2015


Carnegie Foundation
Stanford, CA


Improvement science is a methodology for using disciplined inquiry to solve a specific problem of practice. The course, which includes a three-day workshop and follow-up coaching and support through webinars, takes a “learning by doing” approach. Participants are introduced to some of the tools of improvement science and then apply them to a specific problem facing their organization. To optimize learning, we recommend that 3-5 people from your organization attend as a team.

What You’ll Do

The course includes:

  • A consultation with a Carnegie improvement advisor to help participants select a problem and identify team members
  • Pre-workshop activities
  • Intensive, three-day, in-person workshop with instruction and team coaching
  • Additional coaching and support through three, 90-minute post-workshop webinars

See the timeline of activities.

“This is the best training/professional development I’ve had in my work as an educator.”

What You’ll Learn

How to:

  • Design and execute an improvement project in your organization
  • Understand and analyze the causes of a specific problem of practice
  • Articulate and test a theory of practice improvement that focuses on high leverage practices
  • Use a methodology for generating and testing change ideas to learn whether they are an improvement
  • Develop a measurement system to understand variation in performance and evaluate progress toward your goal
  • Use improvement tools such as: process maps, aim statements, driver diagrams and Plan, Do Study, Act (PDSA) cycles.
  • Establish team roles, responsibilities, and a plan for executing the improvement project

“Really nicely designed three days — a lot of information, but well balanced with application, sharing and feedback.”

Who Should Attend

The course is designed for teams new to improvement science who want to solve a concrete problem directly related to their work. The methodology entails iterative tests of changes to daily work practices, and the process works best when the changes are to the daily practices of team members.

Organizations that have participated in previous Improvement Science in Practice courses include:

  • Arizona State University
  • Casper College
  • Consortium for Chicago School Research
  • CRESS: UC-Davis
  • George Washington University
  • East Bay College Access Network
  • EdLeader 21
  • Harrisonburg City Schools
  • High Tech High
  • Indiana University
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • King County Homeless Youth Initiative
  • Knowles Science Teaching Foundation
  • Marcus Foster Education Fund
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future
  • New Tech Network
  • New Visions for Public Schools
  • New York City Department of Education
  • Northeast Foundation for Children
  • Louis University
  • Search Institute
  • Seattle College District
  • School District of Menomonee Falls
  • University Innovation Alliance
  • Vanderbilt University
  • The Vision Network of Delaware

“Fantastic presenters — fun and informative. I felt very supported and encouraged.”


Each registration includes the workshop at Carnegie’s Stanford, Calif. campus (including all meals, a networking reception, and ground transportation to and from the hotel), webinars, and a copy of Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better.

Participation by small teams (groups of 2-5 people working on the same project) is strongly encouraged, and discounts are available as follows:

  • Individuals or Teams of 2: $2,650 per person
  • Teams of 3 to 5: $2,650 per person for the first two people, then $2,250 per person for any additional people
  • Teams ​of ​6 ​or ​more: ​The ​fee ​structure ​starts ​over ​beginning ​with ​the ​6th ​team ​member, ​who ​will ​be ​charged ​at ​the ​first-​person ​rate ​of ​$2,650.

Learn more about the registration process.

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