The science of improvement in teacher preparation

Miranda, Jessica L. W.
Weeldreyer, Laura
Harris, Joel
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Due to new United States (U.S.) Federal Regulations and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation standards focusing on K-12 student outcomes, teacher education providers are facing the challenge of gaining access to data on their graduates. Our College of Education (COE) has taken strategic steps to secure post-graduation data access for program completers with the primary purpose of using it for program improvement. To do this, we needed a disciplined process for employing data as the driver for improvement. Improvement science provides a methodology for accelerating the process of learning to improve through disciplined inquiry. Central to this approach are gradual, iterative cycles that focus on evidence related to specific problems of practice and the influence of system factors on the implementation of change. Working within networked communities, practitioners engage in rapid cycles of learning through a plan-do-study-act process that seeks to build shared knowledge and ownership within the improvement process. Using the improvement science model as our guide, we started by focusing our work to be problem specific and user-centered. Specifically, we needed to better align our candidate intake, assessment, and graduation processes across five teacher education programs. We also sought to learn more about variations between program processes. We used our exploration to align around clear action steps serving an overall COE goal. Through this process, we have learned that the tools and processes of improvement science offer a way for teacher education providers to build capacity and drive innovative improvement initiatives.
Improvement Science
Miranda, J., Weeldreyer, L., Harris, J. (2016). The science of improvement in teacher preparation. In The Future of Education (6th ed.) (pp. 287-291). Paper presented at The Future of Education International Conference, Florence, Italy.
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