The Plan-Do-Check-Act Instructional Process ensures that teachers teach and students learn by using data and focusing on individual students and the core curriculum elements of English/language arts and mathematics. The process is grounded in the proven ideas of Effective Schools Research, Total Quality Management (TQM) and the Shewhart Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act used by businesses for continuous improvement.
Larry Lezotte, Ron Edmonds, and Wilbur Brookover challenged the notion that schools had no effect on what was considered the destiny created by family background and economic status. They located schools with outstanding records of achievement, particularly in educating at-risk students and defined effective schools as those in which: (a) Equal proportions of low and middle income level children evidence high levels of mastery of the essential curriculum; (b) There are no differences in the proportion of students mastering the basic skills as a function of the group to which they belong; and (c) No child is condemned to educational failure because of family background, race, socioeconomic status, or gender.
These researchers established that, given five specific conditions, teachers at any school anywhere could achieve similar results. The five characteristics identified by the Effective Schools Movement are:
1. Strong instructional leadership. The principal sets the example and tone for instructional excellence by defining the school vision, managing instruction and curriculum, and promoting a positive school climate.
2. High expectations of student achievement. The school staff believes all students can attain mastery of the core curriculum and expects them to do so.
3. Pervasive and broadly understood instructional focus. The staff accepts responsibility for all students. They believe the school controls enough of the variables to assure that all students do learn.
4. Safe and orderly school climate conducive to teaching and learning.Students have a safe environment in which to learn. The adults work in a collaborative, cooperative environment.
5. Achievement is an indicator of program success. Student academic progress is measured frequently through assessments, using results to improve teaching and support student learning.
Total Quality Management is designed to improve any organization at any level – classroom, school or administration. Built on the premise that reduced variation in the system produces a more consistent result, practitioners understand that doing it right the first time eliminates re-work. A 20-80 Rule prompts the focus on the 20 percent of objectives that produce 80 percent of the results. And the TQM system honors the belief that, “In God we trust; all others bring data.”
Through his research, Dr. W. Edwards Deming advocated the Plan- Do-Check-Act Cycle – used in Effective Business Models – as an approach to process analysis and improvement. This 4-step cycle involves constantly defining and redefining the customers’ needs and wants. Within the 8-Step Process, adherence to this cycle ensures that improvement remains continuous and that the power to make changes lies squarely with those on the front line: our teachers and our principals.
Plan: Staff buy-in; data disaggregation; development of instructional calendar
Do: Instructional focus supported by research-based effective practices
Check: Frequent assessments; maintenance; and process monitoring
Act: Tutorials and enrichment