“Strengthening School Leadership Towards Improving School Resiliency: An Improvement Science Approach” was a two-year interdisciplinary multi-country development research project exploring how the quality of school leadership could be strengthened as a means of improving education quality in under-resourced environments. The primary objective of the project was to understand whether use of a specific continuous improvement approach, Improvement Science (IS), supports sustainable change in the practices of school leaders. School leaders are acknowledged to have a critical role in improving the quality of teaching and learning within schools. Continuous improvement methods such as IS offer a set of ideas, tools, and practices which empower practitioners such as school leaders to take an active role in improvement, crafting a narrative which explains the improvement initiative and helping to remove obstacles and blockages in the improvement initiative, and other actions which move the institution towards its goals. 

This exploratory multi-country research adopted a realistic evaluation (RE) framework to explore the use of IS with groups of school leaders in three contrasting contexts. The multidisciplinary research team collaborated with in-country partners across three continents: Chile – SUMMA (Laboratory of Education Research and Innovation for Latin America and the Caribbean); Kenya – Worldreader; the Philippines – FIT-ED (Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development). Despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic in each setting, school leaders were recruited and improvement communities were established and guided to engage with the IS methodology through carrying out “Plan-Do-Study-Act” (PDSA) cycles on local challenges. Data was gathered on the experiences of the school leaders through their improvement science journeys using a range of qualitative research instruments including records of the PDSA activities. 

The project offers a contribution to knowledge by offering emerging findings on how an amended IS methodology might be effectively utilized by school leaders working in under-resourced contexts.

Recommended Citation

Wolfenden, F., Walley, P., Agbaire, J., & Hartley, J. (2023). Strengthening school leadership towards improving school resiliency: An improvement science approach – Final technical report. Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.


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