Insights from the AdvancED Continuous Improvement System and Observations of Effective Schools.

The term continuous improvement has been part of the lexicon of school improvement for decades. From state accountability systems and district and school improvement plans to teacher and classroom protocols, continuous improvement practices have been replicated at various levels of scale throughout our educational system. Yet all evidence suggests this universally recognized practice has failed to fulfill its promise. That is particularly true in high-poverty schools, where the ZIP code remains as strong a predictor of student success as it was a half century ago, before school improvement gained prominence.

By Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.

This white paper examines some of the reasons why, despite the common use of continuous improvement language and practices, school and system efforts often fall short. It then describes the key components of successful continuous improvement implementation in a school setting and introduces the AdvancED Continuous Improvement System, including its research-based elements and processes. And, as described in the summary of findings below, it shows how AdvancED’s work conducting external engagement reviews and observations of more than 250,000 classrooms demonstrates strong relationships between effective continuous improvement practices and high performance.