Planning to Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement with the Department of Defense Education Activity
While continuous improvement is not new to education, implementing it with fidelity in various educational contexts remains difficult. This article provides a framework of the necessary components in planning for and implementing continuous improvement, based on current literature in the field of education. Key characteristics for consideration include: (a) purpose-driven; (b) change as a complex process; (c) data-based practices, structures, and systems; (d) relationships for professional collaboration; and, (e) capacity building. Utilizing a qualitative case-study design and aspects of action research, the framework is used to outline efforts of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) in becoming a continuous improvement organization. Although implementation of continuous improvement is still in early stages, many lessons have been learned. As education researchers and policy makers continue to wrestle with best practices and strategies for continuous improvement, we encourage further investigation of successful case studies, including the potential of research-practice partnerships.