What is a networked improvement community?

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In a networked improvement community educators working in different contexts use iterative cycles to simultaneously design, implement, test, and redesign promising practices on a small scale. By starting small, educators gain a deep understanding of a problem and the complex education system in which it operates. They are able to design solutions that address the problem while taking into account the local context and the challenges it presents; as a result, the solution is more likely to be successful. As can be inferred from this article https://essayvikings.com/book-reports, the networked improvement community experiences success, participants can gradually move from implementing small changes in practice in one or two sites to larger changes in practice across several sites. 


Networked Improvement Communities are a relatively new type of collaborative research partnership between researchers and educators, popularized in education settings by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. A networked improvement community is similar to other quality improvement approaches (such as design-based implementation research and rapid-cycle evaluation) that focus on learning from efforts to improve the design of programs in local contexts so that they can be implemented in different contexts. 

A general scientific research process includes eight stages: research aims (identifying the research questions), literature review, research design, instrumentation, pilot testing, data collection, data analysis, and a research report. In networked improvement communities and similar quality improvement approaches, participants use a collaborative process to identify and select the research question and implement the research process in an iterative manner. With facilitation from researchers, educators identify problems of practice, the factors that drive those problems, and promising solutions to those problems. They then engage in continuous improvement research, which involves iterative cycles of designing, implementing, testing, and redesigning solutions, while learning from variation across the settings that form the networked improvement community. 

Networked improvement community participants can include educators working in a range of capacities and at different levels of the education system (such as the school, district, or state level). One example is the Building a Teacher Effectiveness Network, which is facilitated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the American Federation of Teachers. Participants include principals and teachers from the Austin Independent School District, Baltimore City Schools, and the charter network New Visions for Public Schools. Another example is the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership, which is facilitated by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and an unnamed member university. Participants include leaders from more than 90 member universities and more than 100 K-12 school districts.

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