Evaluation of the Networks for School Improvement (NSI) Initiative

Business meeting

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation established the Networks for School Improvement (NSI) to increase the proportion of students, especially those who are Black, Latino, or experiencing poverty, who are on track for high school graduation and college enrollment. The initiative supports intermediary organizations that work with networks of schools in using continuous improvement (CI) methods to identify and test strategies that improve teacher practices and student supports.

AIR, RAND, and Mathematica are collaborating on an evaluation that addresses three main research questions: 

  1. How do intermediaries design and implement their NSI? 
  2. To what extent do participating schools implement CI activities? 
  3. What is the impact of the NSI on student outcomes? What aspects of the NSI approach are related to impacts on students? 

RAND leads work on Research Question 1, AIR leads work on Research Question 2, and Mathematica leads work on Research Question 3

AIR collected the following data to study Research Question 2 (how schools implement CI): 

  • CI artifacts created by each CI team that document schools’ implementation of CI and the core components of CI; 
  • A school leader survey for each NSI school to understand the school context; 
  • Intermediary staff interviews to understand intermediaries’ approach to supporting CI in schools; and 
  • Case study interviews of staff in NSI schools to understand CI and the supports for teaching and learning.
Ryan Eisner
Senior Researcher
Image of Laura Stein
Principal Researcher
Michael Garet
Vice President and Institute Fellow