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Collaborative Improvement in Educational Systems: Exploring Adaptation in Education Reform

Hannan, Maggie (2019) Collaborative Improvement in Educational Systems: Exploring Adaptation in Education Reform. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Educational organizations are structurally unique and have a complex relationship to change (e.g., Coburn 2004), and implementation research has long grappled with this fact in efforts to create sustainable, scalable educational improvements (e.g., Spillane et al. 2002). Accordingly, as standards-based reforms become increasingly popular and educational inequities remain entrenched, researchers, funders, and policy makers have become increasingly concerned with the ways in which interventions will scale across highly variable organizational contexts. A variety of improvement strategies have emerged in response to these concerns, and several particularly promising approaches confront the variation and complexity ofeducational organizations head- on, making those system characteristics key objects for exploration, analysis, and interventions. One such strategy is collaborative problem solving research (Penuel et al. 2017), which tackles many perspectives across different organizational levels, and highlights the structural components of creating and sustaining educational improvement. This dissertation builds on Coburn and colleagues’ (2012) “theory of organizational embeddedness” by exploring the theoretical foundations of key change mechanisms in educational systems and investigating the workof two collaborative problem solving research efforts. Together, these three papers examine how change and reform play out in and across educational organizations, a process which is driven by the dynamic interaction between local conditions and the intervention or innovation embedded in those conditions. In so doing, these studies also explore the relationship between the macro-level structural conditions that shape policy implementation and, simultaneously, the micro-processes of uptake and adaptation. Taken together, these three papers demonstrate the organizational complexity that shapes education implementation research, and suggest several different concepts, perspectives, and strategies that can support researchers and policy-makers as they endeavor to create system-wide educational improvement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hannan, Maggiemqh1@pitt.edumqh1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Russell, Jenniferjrussel@pitt.edujrussel
Correnti, Richardrcorrent@pitt.edureorient
Stein, Mary Kaymkstein@pitt.edumkstein
Comfort, Louiselkc@pitt.edulkc
Date: 30 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 November 2018
Approval Date: 30 January 2019
Submission Date: 11 December 2018
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 167
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Learning Sciences and Policy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: education policy; education reform; networks; systems theory; continuous improvement
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 22:51
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2024 06:15


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