Policy Brief

Learning What Works: Continuous Improvement in California’s Education System

Susanna Loeb
Brown University
David Plank
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
In a new PACE Policy Brief, Susanna Loeb and David N. Plank argue that to raise student performance and satisfy public expectations California’s education system must be transformed into a continuously improving system that encourages innovation, carefully measures the impact of different policies and practices, and—most importantly—learns from experience. Loeb and Plank identify the essential features of a continuously improving system, which include clear and specific goals, timely and reliable data, strong capacity to support change, decision-making flexibility, and aligned incentives. They explain how each of these features supports continuous improvement, and discuss the differences between a continuously improving system and the education system that California has now.