Learning to Improve

Learning to Improve How America's Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better

Anthony S. Bryk, Louis M. Gomez, Alicia Grunow, and Paul G. LeMahieu
cloth, 280 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-792-7
Price: 70.00

Add to Cart

ebook, 280 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-793-4
paper, 280 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-791-0
Price: 35.00

Add to Cart

As a field, education has largely failed to learn from experience. Time after time, promising education reforms fall short of their goals and are abandoned as other promising ideas take their place. In Learning to Improve, the authors argue for a new approach. Rather than “implementing fast and learning slow,” they believe educators should adopt a more rigorous approach to improvement that allows the field to “learn fast to implement well.”
Using ideas borrowed from improvement science, the authors show how a process of disciplined inquiry can be combined with the use of networks to identify, adapt, and successfully scale up promising interventions in education. Organized around six core principles, the book shows how “networked improvement communities” can bring together researchers and practitioners to accelerate learning in key areas of education. Examples include efforts to address the high rates of failure among students in community college remedial math courses and strategies for improving feedback to novice teachers.
Learning to Improve offers a new paradigm for research and development in education that promises to be a powerful driver of improvement for the nation’s schools and colleges.


In this hopeful and accessible volume, Bryk and his colleagues describe six tenets for addressing vexing problems of educational practice. Yes, systematic actions guided by serious scientific inquiry can lead to improvements in a vast array of contexts, topics, and settings. Drawing on numerous real life examples and illustrations, the authors demonstrate how to develop and then critically execute good ideas to produce reliably positive outcomes. — John Q. Easton, distinguished senior fellow, Spencer Foundation

Learning to Improve is the best book on the market on improving education. The authors have done a masterful job of pulling together the critical ideas and weaving them into a compelling story. I wish every educational researcher and every state, district, and school leader would be required to read this book. I'm recommending it to all my colleagues. — James Hiebert, professor, School of Education, University of Delaware

Extremely interesting throughout, the text suggests a plan-do-study-act cycle in which reform starts small and then gradually expands as educators study their failures and learn from those mistakes. — J.D. Neal, Choice Magazine

Guided by 'improvement science' pioneered in the medical field, Learning to Improve shows how education could finally stop its reform churn...The book's vision is ambitious--and far more likely to succeed than the reform churn we've tolerated for decades. — Lisa Hansel, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Learning to Improve is a content-rich, thoughtful, practical and well-organized resource for anyone committed to improving schools. It inspires practitioners, researchers, and policy analysts to work together in networked improvement communities to 'learn fast to implement well.' — Mary B. Herrmann, School Administrator

More Less

About the Authors

Anthony S. Bryk is the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Louis M. Gomez holds the MacArthur Chair in Digital Media and Learning in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a senior partner at Carnegie.

Alicia Grunow is a senior partner and codirector of the Center for Networked Improvement at Carnegie.

Paul G. LeMahieu is the senior vice president for programs at Carnegie and the former superintendent of education for the state of Hawaii.

Table of Contents

E-book available through online booksellers

Other books in School Reform

Systems for Instructional Improvement

Paul Cobb, Kara Jackson, Erin Henrick, Thomas M. Smith, and the MIST team, Afterword by Michael Sorum

Other books in School Reform


Doris A. Santoro, Foreword by David C. Berliner

Other books in School Reform

Urban Preparation

Chezare A. Warren, Foreword by H. Richard Milner IV, Afterword by James Earl Davis