Graduate Certificate in Improvement Science in Education

Leadership Through Improvement Science

This certificate is designed to prepare educators to lead the Improvement Science process in their educational setting. Courses focus on school improvement and teacher leadership, and provide field-based practice to develop and apply core skills using a variety of data and analytic tools. There are two tracks offered for this certificate: Teacher Leadership and Administrative Supervision.

What is Improvement Science?

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is promoting a new school improvement process called Improvement Science. This process integrates a set of multidisciplinary ideas borrowed for the field of education with those utilized in the fields of health care, business, and manufacturing—other sectors that developed and currently utilize a signature improvement process to help their front-line workers solve problems on the job. Within the field of education, Improvement Science promotes “disciplined inquiry” (e.g., data tools, procedures, and ways of thinking) within and across schools by creating improvement networks (aka, Network Improvement Communities or NICs) to identify, adapt, and successfully scale-up promising interventions within schools. An intention of the work is to expand problem solving beyond one school to include networks of schools, all exploring similar problems and testing and adapting solutions to fit their unique contexts. NICs represent a new paradigm for research and development in education, with the potential to become a powerful driver of improvement for the nation’s schools and colleges.

The School Improvement Process

The Improvement Science process is comprised of six interactive phases that guide school-based inquiry: from problem exploration to solution testing and implementation. Each phase is supported by a portfolio of tools, processes, and social connectivity mechanisms that facilitate collective learning throughout the process. Broad, often overlapping stages of the process include the following:

  • Phase 1: Identify a problem and explore its influence on practice in your setting
  • Phase 2: Understand variation in performance relative to the problem and its source
  • Phase 3: Articulate the system that is producing current outcomes
  • Phase 4: Use practical measurement to guide development in context
  • Phase 5: Systematically test/adapt solutions in context, monitor outcomes, assess unintended consequences
  • Phase 6: Connect with educators in other schools with similar problems to accelerate the learning of all

Graduate Certificate in Improvement Science in Education Courses

This certificate consists of 15-credit hours and can be completed in under 1 year.

Curriculum (15 credit hours)

  • EDUC 6840 Introduction to Improvement Science (3 credits)
  • EDUC 6841 Inquiry Tools Supporting Improvement Science (3 credits)
  • EDUC 6842 Teacher Leadership Supporting Improvement Science (3 credits)

Track A: Teacher Leadership

  • EDUC 6843 Improvement Science as Educational Change (3 credits)
  • EDUC 6844 Internship: Practicum in Improvement Science (3 credits)

Track B: Administrative Supervision (2 courses contribute, in part, to future licensure)

  • EDUC 6232 Supervision and Evaluation of Instruction (3 credits)
  • EDUC 6287 Internship A: Administration (3 credits)


    Program Entry: Summer, Fall, Spring
    Prerequisites: Bachelors Degree, minimum of one year of teaching experience
    Campus: Alexandria

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Application Fee

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

Transformation Begins HereLearn more about the Graduate Certificate in Improvement Science in Education program located on campus (202-994-7066).