The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has given a one-year, $1.1 million grant to set up a center that will promote a cycle of “continuous instructional improvement” in education.
The grant to the University of Pennsylvania-based Consortium for Policy Research in Education, or CPRE, a coalition of seven of the nation’s top research institutions, will be used to identify, refine, and test the most promising tools and approaches for helping educators use evidence of students’ progress to guide the next steps in their instruction.
Hewlett’s cycle of improvement is based on the premise that a major function of assessment should be to gather data about what students have or haven’t learned so teachers can decide whether the students are progressing toward meeting standards or the goals of a course or subject—and, if not, what to do next to improve their learning. Evidence about students’ progress should be used in a similar way to inform policy and instructional decisions beyond the classroom level.
During the coming year,CPRE’s Center on Continuous Instructional Improvement will examine current practices related to cycles of improvement in education, medicine, and other fields; summarize the research and craft a conceptual framework for such work in education; and identify major partners for the development phase of its work.
The Hewlett Foundation, based in Menlo Park, Calif., helps support Education Week’s coverage of school districts’ role in education reform.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week as Center to Study Student Progress