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Integrating Improvement and Implementation Sciences to Enhance Educational Outcomes

McColskey-Leary, C., & Garman-McClaine, B.

From the introduction: "Educational interventions, programs, or curricula are often put into place without attending to (a) what is needed to implement them well and support practitioners and (b) intentional processes to optimize the environment in which they are implemented (Fixsen et al., 2005; Lyon & Bruns, 2019). Whether coming from a state legislature, state or local education agency, board of education, school leadership, or even driven by practitioners, the pressure to adopt and implement an evidence-based practice or program to improve school and student outcomes can jeopardize an initiative’s ability to achieve its intended outcomes. School leaders and practitioners can harness two fields of inquiry—implementation science and improvement science—to increase the likelihood of success when moving a new evidence-based intervention, program, or curriculum into practice. Implementation science is the scientific study of methods and strategies that support the uptake of evidence-based practices into regular use (Eccles and Mittman, 2006). This field of inquiry can help explain why only some education improvement efforts succeed and why only some improvements are sustained over time (Fixsen et al., 2013). Thus, leveraging core tenets of both improvement science and implementation science can set state and local education agencies up for success when rolling out new initiatives to improve student outcomes."


McColskey-Leary, C., & Garman-McClaine, B. (2021). Integrating improvement and implementation sciences to enhance educational outcomes. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, National Implementation Research Network.