A commitment to continually assess, plan, act, and learn from one's actions.
Best practices are just probabilities and not all learners are alike so actions must be assessed as the basis for ongoing learning and refinement through a Continuous Improvement Process.
Framework Learning Series: Continuous Improvement Process
There is no such thing as perfection and "Best Practices" are, at best, probabilities. Sometimes strategies work and sometimes they do not. Educators are, in the words of John Hattie, engineers of learning. We assist practitioners in examining and analyzing their work and that of their students through an ongoing inquiry cycle that allows them to constantly assess their impact, analyze options and then experiment with adjustments or new information.
Teachers21 researches the latest innovations in improvement science and assists individuals and school systems in implementing practices that measure and foster continual improvement.
Classrooms, schools and districts assess...
- student learning weaknesses in a given target area (by moving beyond summative assessments to formative and qualitative data).
- student learning trends across a given target area (by examining aggregate and disaggregated data).
- the rigor and relevance of a given learning task (using artifacts from a particular assignment) as well as the rigor and relevance of teachers' professional learning (using PD evaluations, observations, focus groups, etc.).
- implementation of particular instructional skill (using collections of evidence, observation data: videotape, instructional artifacts, student work)
- the extent to which cooperative/ collaborative classroom work is enhancing student learning (using observation checklists, student work artifacts, student interviews, etc.)
- classroom, school and district culture (using observation and qualitative data, retention data, climate surveys, etc.)
- the efficiency of a school's instructional leadership team (by logging use of in-and out-of-meeting time, tracking action plan process/completion)
Classrooms, schools and districts learn...
- what specific skills students need to learn and root causes of the student learning weaknesses.
- what knowledge and skills are required of the task and whether these are appropriately relevant and rigorous for the target population.
- what specific instructional skills teachers need to strengthen and in what ways improvement is needed.
- what specific skills students have and need to make their teamwork more effective and productive.
- which key elements of strong classroom and district culture are lacking and causes for these gaps.
- which areas represent district-wide weaknesses and achievement gaps, then examine policies and practices that affect these areas.
- whether, how, under what conditions teachers' professional learning needs are being met.
- which areas of the organization are in need of improvement, capacity-building, resources and/or support.
- where the team is spending most of its time, how that aligns with team priorities, and what strategies or tactics might improve alignment.
Classrooms, schools and districts act to...
- implement instruction that targets priority areas. Monitor for progress.
- adjust the learning task in ways that improve the rigor and relevance of the task to the target students.
- provide professional learning experiences that include opportunities for feedback and practice. Monitor for progress.
- support students to strengthen the skills they need to ensure their teamwork enhances their learning.
- implement strategies for improving classroom culture. Monitor for progress.
- adjust policies and practices to create strong conditions for student learning success. Monitor for progress.
- ensure that follow-up activities and subsequent professional learning experiences are informed by the learning. Monitor for progress.
- improve conditions for organizational success. Monitor for progress.
- build team members' skills for implementing the identified strategies and tactics.
- adjust/ implement new strategies, routines and traditions to improve district culture. Monitor for progress.
to discuss what we can do to support the continuous improvement process in your school or district.