Getting Ideas into Action: Building Networked Improvement Communities in Education

  • Anthony S. BrykEmail author
  • Louis M. Gomez
  • Alicia Grunow
Part of the Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research book series (FSSR, volume 1)


Schools today confront ambitious new societal goals aiming at greater learning for more students. Simultaneously, we are demanding that our educational institutions operate more efficiently. A growing cadre of scholars and policy organizations argue that responding to these challenges requires a fundamental reorganization of the connections among research and practice. This chapter details new ways for scholars and practitioners to engage together in disciplined inquiry organized around specified problems of practice improvement. It describes the social organization of networked communities aimed at systematic learning from practice to improve it. Embedded within the day-to-day work of such improvement communities are multiple cycles of design, engineering, and development (DEED) that generate numerous small tests about what works for whom under different circumstances. We call this improvement research. The chapter details a core set of structuring agents necessary to form such networked improvement communities (NIC). We illustrate these ideas drawing on early design experiences from an emerging NIC seeking to address the extraordinary high failure rates in developmental mathematics in community colleges. These “developmental” courses currently operate as a barrier to opportunity, blocking access to both occupational training certification and transfer to 4-year institutions. We posit that research and practice properly arranged can reframe the opportunity equation.


Community College Semiconductor Industry Carnegie Foundation Improvement Research Integrative Adaptivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony S. Bryk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louis M. Gomez
    • 2
  • Alicia Grunow
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of TeachingStanfordUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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