What is Continuous Improvement?

By Karen Shakman, Jessica Bailey and Nicole Breslow

Continuous improvement is a process that can support educational stakeholders in implementing and studying small changes with the goal of making lasting improvement.

Image result for improvement growth trees


Continuous improvement has been around for a long time, in industry and health care, before becoming popular in educational settings. A great many successful industry and health care examples are available, including increases in productivity at the assembly line or the reduction in mortality rates in large hospitals.

The framework for continuous improvement that guides all the steps of the process is known as the “model for improvement.” The model for improvement consists of three essential questions:

• What problem are we trying to solve? For an organization to improve, its leaders and other key participants must set clear and firm intentions. These intentions are derived by clearly articulating a problem or issue that requires attention.

• What changes might we introduce and why? Continuous improvement requires key participants to develop, implement, test, and further develop changes to tools, processes or practices.

• How will we know that a change is actually an improvement? An essential part of continuous improvement is to clearly examine whether the change has, in fact, addressed the identified problem and made some meaningful improvement. Clear and specific measures that capture both the processes and the outcomes are critical to the continuous improvement process.


LINK: TIF White Page

Kendrick Lamar and the Pulitzer Prize

By Marc Weingarten

Rap is the most significant music of our time.

No one who has heard Kendrick Lamar’s stunning album “Damn” could be at all surprised that it is the first nonclassical or jazz recording to win a Pulitzer Prize. More than that, it is further proof — if any is still needed— that American culture has at last fully moved beyond the hegemony of rock-and-roll and the electric guitar-driven sound that dominated 60 years of popular music.


The Pulitzer for Lamar might confuse or anger those reared on the great canon of rock, but perhaps we will no longer have to endure the cloudy reveries of middle-aged men bemoaning the fact that fewer people seem to appreciate the brilliance of a 20-minute Clapton or Hendrix solo anymore. Didn’t millions of us, after all, live out our arena-rock fantasies with the Guitar Hero video game just a few years ago?

Mercifully, rock has been displaced by hip-hop, with its daring formal innovations, its blistering polemics and its vital role as a sounding board for powerful social movements. A genre aggressively committed to singles, as opposed to the creaky album-and-tour model that rock stubbornly insists upon even at the indie level, hip-hop provides a running commentary on the culture as it happens — a musical newsfeed in real time.

LINK: Washington Post

Formative Assessment as a Compass

Book Review by NWP

Looking closely and intentionally at student work and letting it guide our teaching can be a compass for writing teachers. It provides direction: revealing where students have been, leading teachers to the next teaching steps and, if we let it, keeping us on our true north.

With a main purpose of presenting ways that intentional review of student work can be a guide in professional development, Formative Assessment as a Compass, by Beth Rimer and Terri McAvoy, also offers ways for professional development leaders to help teachers plan lessons that fit their classrooms and students. The book starts with a definition of formative assessment and the connection between assessment and student work and goes on to offer strategies for when and how to notice what’s going on with students for the purpose of moving them forward as writers.


Formative Assessment As A Compass


LINK: Review at National Writing Project

LINK: Download the PDF version