Lessons from Improvement Science Can Make International Education Systems Work Better

April 26, 2017

Improvement science and education development share similar goals of incrementally bettering all learners’ experience with and success in educational systems, including in lower-income settings, according to Lee Nordstrum, research education analyst in the International Education Division of RTI International. Nordstrum notes that improvement science in education is also about making educational systems, and all the many moving parts that comprise them, work better to reliably produce quality outcomes for all children. Improvement science’s methods of disciplined, scientific inquiry fit in well with these goals. Nordstrum’s blog post offers several lessons that we can glean from the methods of improvement science as used in education: decentralization of improvement work; understanding variation in learning outcomes; practical measurement for improvement, not just monitoring; formal networks of improvement workers; and, scale. These ideas dovetail with the six core principles of improvement.