Skip Navigation

icon of glasses and a book Continuous Improvement Research in Education


- OR -


- OR -


- OR -

FY Awards

- OR -


Dr. James Benson
(202) 245-8333


For FY 2014, the Institute created the Continuous Improvement Research in Education topic as the second topic within the Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy program (84.305H).

Under the Continuous Improvement Research in Education (Continuous Improvement) topic, the Institute will support well-established partnerships among research institutions and State or local education agencies to address a specific education issue or problem of high importance to the education agency. The partnership will select an existing approach (or approaches) to the issue/problem that has some promise of evidence for improving student outcomes. The partnership will adapt and revise the approach by applying continuous improvement strategies in order to improve implementation, intermediate outcomes, and student outcomes. In addition, the partnership will identify and implement systemic changes that may need to be made in support of the success of the approach.

The approach to be implement can fall along a continuum that runs from a single intervention to a set of related strategies designed to address a problem or issue. The approach should have a compelling logic or underlying theory and some evidence of promise or efficacy. Support will not be provided for the development of totally new approaches (this type of work is supported under the Development and Innovation goal of the Education Research Grants program: 84.305A).

The Institute is very interested in projects that address three education issues: (1) school safety: (2) social skills, attitudes, and behaviors (sometimes called social-psychological, social-emotional, or psychological/behavioral skills) that contribute to student academic success: and (3) and implementation of the Common Core State Standards in English and mathematics. However, applications proposing research on other education issues will not be penalized in the review and selection process.

In addition to helping State and local education agencies address self-identified education issues, the Institute seeks to learn broader lessons about how approaches can be adapted to address both local conditions and the difficulties that are faced during wide implementation. While these difficulties may differ by approach or student outcome, the Institute expects that projects under the Continuous Improvement topic will contribute to both general and topic-specific knowledge regarding successful implementation.

Under the Continuous Improvement topic, the Institute does not require the project to examine the causal evidence of the impact of the approach, but it does require the project to look for evidence of the promise of the approach to have the hypothesized impact. Specifically, by the end of a Continuous Improvement project, the Institute expects the grantee to provide the following:

  1. A description of the partnership as it further develops over the course of the grant.
  2. A description of the education issue or problem to be addressed by the partnership and its importance to the education agency.
  3. A description of the approach (approaches) used by the partnership at the start of the project and the system it was used within.
  4. A description of the approach used at the end of the project along with a discussion of the changes that had been made in it, in the system within which it is implemented, and the reasons for those changes.
  5. A description of the process of continuous improvement used to adapt/revise the approaches along with the data summaries upon which revisions were based.
  6. The results from the pilot analysis of the approach regarding evidence of the promise of the approach and the restructured system it is implemented within to improve student outcomes.
  7. A determination as to whether the approach is ready for a full evaluation or requires further development.
  8. Recommendations for how the partnership could be maintained over the longer term.
  9. Specific and general lessons from the revisions to the approach and changes made in the education system that improved the approach and its implementation.
  10. Lessons learned from the joint development work performed the partnership that could be used by other partnerships.