Improvement Science in Education

Learn how to apply principles and practices of improvement science to improve educational practice, raise student performance, and reduce achievement gaps.

Improvement Science in Education

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Estimated 8 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed

About this course

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With roots in industry and in health care, improvement science is a disciplined approach to educational innovation that supports teachers, leaders, and researchers in collaborating to solve specific problems of practice. Improvement science brings discipline and methods to different logics of innovation by integrating:

  • Problem analysis
  • Use of research
  • Development of solutions
  • Measurement of processes and outcomes
  • Rapid refinement through plan-do-study-act cycles.

For teachers, school leaders, and system leaders, improvement science moves educational innovation out of the realm of “fad” and into the realm of research-based, evidence-driven continuous improvement, with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of educational practice.

That, in turn, will support schools and systems in responding to calls to improve opportunities to learn and student performance and calls to reduce achievement gaps by improving the day-to-day work students, teachers, and leaders.

In this introduction to improvement science, developed in collaboration with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, learners will explore:

  • Problem-specific and user-centered design and analysis
  • Differences in implementation and outcomes as resources for improvement
  • Improving systems to improve practice
  • Driving improvement through measurement, evidence, and disciplined inquiry

This course is part of the Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters Program offered by MichiganX.

At a glance

  • Institution: MichiganX
  • Subject: Education & Teacher Training
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:

    Working knowledge of schools and education systems as well as the political, policy, and public pressures to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Principles and methods of improvement science in education and other social sectors
  • Means of introducing improvement science in schools and systems
  • Approaches to accelerating improvement through networked improvement communities

Lesson 1: Introduction to Improvement Science
Lesson 2: Understanding the Problem and the System that Produces It
Lesson 3: Focusing Collective Efforts
Lesson 4: Testing and Building Evidence
Lesson 5: Achieving Quality at Scale
Lesson 6: Putting it All Together

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.