Conceptualizing Rigor in the Design and Use of Practical Measures for Instructional Improvement

In this session, the group explores the following question: What does it mean to attend to rigor in the design and use of practical measures for instructional improvement?


Improvement science offers a promising set of tools and methods for assessing the implementation of instructional improvement strategies (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015). Improvement sciences utilizes rapid assessments of change to guide the development, revision, and continued fine-tuning of new tools, processes, work roles and relationships. These practical measures, or “measures for improvement” (Yeager, Bryk, Muhich, Hausman, & Morales, 2013), are designed to provide practitioners with frequent feedback that enables them to assess whether changes are indeed improvements; and to adjust their practices during the process of implementation.

Given the intended purpose and use of practical measures, it is necessary for the research community to conceptualize what it means to attend to rigor in the design and use of practical measures (as opposed to research or accountability measures). For example, what forms of validity make sense to attend to in practical measures? The objective of this round table session is to surface issues of rigor in the design and use of practical measures, especially those that are designed both to assess and support instructional improvement. Questions to explore include: How have projects attended to issues of rigor in the design and use of practical measures? To what extent do traditional criteria for measures make sense for practical measures? In this roundtable session, the discussants will provide a brief overview of practical measurement and facilitate a discussion with attendees around these issues. The discussion will be grounded in specific examples from presenters' and participants' projects. Participants will be asked to engage in small discussions in pairs and share out to the entire table.

Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L., Grunow, A., & LeMahieu, P. (2015). Learning to improve: How America’s schools get better at getting better. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Publishing.
Yeager, D., Bryk, A. S., Muhich, J., Hausman, H., & Morales, L. (2013). Practical measurement. Stanford, CA: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.