Go to Top

Frequently Asked Questions

hy is KSTF launching Project ASCENT?

Why is KSTF launching Project ASCENT?

KSTF believes teachers should be the primary agents of educational improvement. To the best of our knowledge, no one is using the Networked Improvement Community model to support teachers themselves as the primary agents of educational improvement. That’s why this initiative is so exciting. In affiliation with KSTF, we expect that the participants in Project ASCENT will:

  • identify pressing, ubiquitous problems in STEM education;
  • study those problems in depth within local contexts;
  • develop and test solutions to problem components;
  • synthesize and analyze data from local contexts;
  • generate knowledge essential to improving the teaching profession and informing policy;
  • and share knowledge gained with the broader field.

hy adopt Improvement Science as the model for Project ASCENT?

Why adopt Improvement Science as the model for Project ASCENT?

Networked Improvement Communities, or NICs, have been instrumental in effecting change in complex systems like medicine and healthcare, by using a research and development process called Improvement Science.  Improvement Science and NICs are just now beginning to be applied to educational challenges, with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching prominent in supporting this work. This initiative looks to replace traditional educational research methods that were weak, fragmented and sometimes insufficiently tested with sustained activity from all stakeholders. NICs promote thoughtful design, incremental development and further refinement that can result in quality outcomes and a professional knowledge base that can be scaled. NICs see the promise in continuous improvement and evolving the work of education based on shared learning, thus enabling ourselves to do more for our students with what we know and the resources we already have.

ow long will Project ASCENT last?

How long will Project ASCENT last?

We haven’t selected a specific end date; however, we expect Project ASCENT teams will be engaged in working on improvement cycles addressing the problem of too few students successfully completing advanced STEM courses for at least three years.

hat are the expectation of teams?

What are the expectation of teams?

Teams should be invested in consistent collaborative inquiry into helping more students successfully complete advanced STEM courses.

Teams will be responsible for:

  • thinking about how the problem affects learning in the local context;
  • engaging in cycles of inquiry to learn about the problem; and
  • committing to the systematic effort it will take to develop interventions, collect data on their implementation, analyze data and develop next steps.

The team will communicate with school and/or district administration so that the work of Project ASCENT can align with other initiatives.

hat does it mean for the various sites in the Networked Improvement Community to engage in a common problem of practice?

What does it mean for the various sites in the Networked Improvement Community to engage in a common problem of practice?

Beginning with our work in summer 2015, we will engage in a process of refining and fleshing out how we understand the causes and effect of the problem of increasing the number of students who are successful in upper-level STEM courses. We expect that there will be similarities and differences in the problem directions across the networked sites, and that these differences will allow us to learn from one another.

ust the “pressing, ubiquitous problem in STEM education” affect both math and science education within my local context?

ould it be possible for our site to have team members who teach outside grades 9-12?

hat will KSTF contribute to sustain our local Networked Improvement Community?

What will KSTF contribute to sustain our local Networked Improvement Community?

KSTF will cover the costs associated with attending Project ASCENT meetings. Additionally, we expect that each site will have unique needs that support engagement in various parts of the cycle of understanding the problem component, coming up with interventions, collecting and analyzing data and deciding on next steps. We will make available KSTF staff as consultants, and have also set aside funds to support local sites in other ways, which could include covering the cost of released time for team participants.