Case Studies in Continuous Educational Improvement

Course 4 of 5: MicroMasters® Program in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement 8 weeks total 2 - 4 hours each week recommended

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Course Overview

With principles of improvement science as a foundation, new knowledge about the continuous improvement of educational innovations is rapidly emerging among communities of educational professionals and researchers, as they work together in new ways to solve practical problems, improve student performance, and reduce achievement gaps.

Developed in collaboration with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, this course will use case studies to take learners deep into the design, organization, and management of three innovative approaches to large-scale, practice-focused continuous improvement that have currency in the US and abroad:

  • Design-Based Implementation Research
  • Implementation Science
  • Networked Improvement Communities

What You’ll Learn

  • To identify approaches to continuous improvement appropriate for specific schools and systems.
  • To apply logics of innovation and principles of improvement science to authentic cases of continuous improvement.


Working knowledge of schools and education systems as well as the political, policy, and public pressures to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.

Meet Your Instructors

Donald J. Peurach

Associate Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation in the School of Education at University of Michigan Donald J. Peurach is Associate Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. His research, teaching, and outreach focus on the production, use, and management of knowledge-in-practice among social innovators and those they seek to serve. As such, his work sits squarely at the intersection of educational policy, leadership, and innovation. He is the author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011, Oxford University Press) and a co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press). Peurach also serves as a Fellow of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and as a Faculty Associate in the Center for Positive Organizations in the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan). Before pursuing an academic career, he was a high school mathematics teacher and, before that, a systems analyst in manufacturing, healthcare, and higher education. Peurach holds a BA in computer science from Wayne State University, an MPP from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Educational Studies from the School of Education at the University of Michigan.

Paul LeMahieu

Senior VP for Programs and Operations at Carnegie Foundation Paul LeMahieu is the senior vice president for programs and operations at the Carnegie Foundation. At Carnegie, he directs all of its programmatic efforts as well as the work of the Center for Networked Improvement (comprised of groups dedicated to collaborative technology, analytics, improvement science, as well as network initiation and development). LeMahieu served as superintendent of education for the state of Hawaii, the only state in the nation that is a unitary school district with annual budgets totaling over $1.8 billion. He was President of the National Association of Test Directors and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association. He served on the National Academy of Sciences' Board on International Comparative Studies in Education, Mathematical Sciences Education Board, the National Board on Testing Policy, and the National Board on Professional Teaching Standards. His current professional interests focus on the adaptation of improvement science tools and methodologies for application in networks in education. He is a co-author of the recent book Learning to improve: How America’s schools can get better at getting better, and lead author of the forthcoming Working to improve: Seven approaches to quality improvement in education. LeMahieu has a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s from Yale College.


8 Weeks

Experience Level


Learning Partner

University of Michigan


Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement


Education & Teacher Training