The Evidence for Improvement approach described in this paper is designed to enhance a network’s internal learning processes and, in turn, lead to more positive impacts for educators and students. It has implications for improvement practitioners, evaluators, and funders.
The Carnegie Foundation has partnered with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to provide learning support to its Deeper Learning + Diffusion of Innovation and Scaled Impact network. The network’s 10 research-practice partnerships are working to (1) advance deeper learning at scale in K–12 contexts with a focus on creating equitable learning environments for all students and (2) develop theoretical insight into questions related to the scaling and sustainability of deeper learning instruction.
To inform this work, Carnegie will draw on its emerging conceptual framework for providing analytic support to improvement networks and organizations known as Evidence for Improvement, which provides guidance to analysts and evaluators seeking to support continuous improvement efforts. EFI argues that analysts should support improvement organizations as they develop and refine their theories of improvement, monitor and measure the “health” of the organizations engaged in improvement, and help improvement organizations map factors in their broader policy and political environment in order to respond strategically.
Colorado Education Initiative, in partnership with Colorado Springs School District 11, will cultivate leadership and change management practices in the district with the ultimate goal of having 80% of the district’s students engaged in deeper learning by 2021.
The Critical Civic Inquiry Research Group, in a partnership with the Student Voice and Leadership Program of Denver Public Schools, will scale “action civics” throughout the district and study key levers for diffusing deeper learning practices in a decentralized district, how equity aims are advanced in the scaling process, and changes in student civic engagement and learning.
Generation Citizen will partner with the Oklahoma City Public Schools to advance students’ civic participation by embedding collaborative project-based learning in the district’s secondary social studies courses, including a proven state standards-aligned action civics class that gives students the opportunity to experience real-world democracy.
Inflexion is a nonprofit consulting group that works with school leaders in creating an organizational framework to build learning communities that work for all students. It will partner with the Anaheim (California) Union High School District to produce knowledge on how addressing a school’s identity and organizational infrastructure influences efforts to diffuse reflective practices that thereby leads to equitable scaled impact in large, diverse school systems.
Jobs for the Future, in a partnership with the New Hampshire Learning Initiative, the New Hampshire Department of Education, and the National Center for Innovation in Education, will build on years of state and district innovation in performance assessment and competency-based education to establish both an empirical and procedural foundation for diffusing and advancing success in deeper learning.
Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education, University of Chicago is partnering with the Broward County (Florida) Public Schools to scale high-quality implementation of deeper learning practices targeted at student critical thinking. Aiming to spread these practices districtwide, the partnership’s strategy is to build organizational and individual readiness for change with a focus on developing teacher will or intention to implement new practices.
Scaling HQPBL for Deeper Learning Impact is a research practice partnership among PBLWorks, Pearl City-Waipahu (Hawaii) Complex Area, Manchester School District (New Hampshire), and Education Northwest. The goal of the project is to scale high-quality project-based learning (HQPBL) to 80% of the 29,284 students they serve, including at least 80% of their students who are furthest from opportunity in the districts for mastery of academic core content, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
The Student-Centered Accountability Program (S-CAP) is a networked school system improvement approach involving rural districts across Colorado that are using multiple measures and processes to drive the continuous improvement of deeper learning opportunities, practices, and outcomes. This grassroots approach includes a peer-review process to build system improvement capacity and accountability within and across participating districts.
University of California at Berkeley, in a partnership with the Hayward (California) Unified School District and the REACH institute, will redesign professional learning systems for teachers in order to develop four core teaching practices fostering deeper learning throughout the district: (1) creating curiosity for the new content of a lesson, (2) co-constructing new insights in a dialogue with students, (3) setting up an independent student conversation around a substantive idea, and (4) giving feedback that enables learning from student misconceptions.
University of Colorado at Boulder, in a partnership with Denver Public Schools, will provide professional learning support for teachers to engage in culturally relevant, phenomenon-based science teaching, with the goal of ensuring that students’ sense of belonging, contribution to knowledge building in the classroom, and identification with science and engineering cannot be predicted by their race or gender.
This work is supported by a grant from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.