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HTH 305

Inquiry into Practice II: Iterative Learning Cycles to Guide Improvement

3.0 units

Course Meetings: Thursdays, 4:45pm-7:45pm

Instructors: Ryan Gallagher, Daisy Sharrock, & Sara Islas

Phone: Ryan (619)849-0317, Daisy (619)793-8964, Sara (619) 849-9668
Location: Forum Classroom 227


Working from their Theory of Action, students engage in iterative cycles of reflective learning
using Plan Do Study Act cycles to guide improvement at their site. In this course, students are
supported in designing both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools, such as field
notes, exit cards, interviews, surveys, focus groups, student work samples, etc. Students learn
techniques for data analysis to inform evidence-based decision-making throughout the project.
Students will a) identify or develop measurement tools that allow them to gather baseline data;
b) undertake Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles; and c) identify preliminary findings and/or learnings
which emerge from this process. In addition, students will return to the relevant research
literature in order to strategically inform their learning cycles. Students will document their
learning cycles, methods, and evolving findings in an expanded and comprehensive Learning
Journey 2.0 and share their learnings in a final Improvement Review with their advisor and
graduate committee.


What data can I collect to understand the problem now?

What high impact, low energy change ideas could I implement?
How will I know if the change is an improvement?
How are my understanding of the root causes and my theory of action changing?
How can the research literature and existing craft knowledge continue to inform my

HTH GSE is committed to developing reflective practitioner leaders who work effectively
with colleagues and communities to create and sustain innovative, authentic, rigorous
learning environments for all students. This shared vision is articulated in our institutional
learning outcomes (ILOs) for all HTH GSE studentsto Practice Thoughtful Inquiry and
Reflection, Design Equitable Learning Environments
, and Engage in Leadership for School Change.
Through this course, students will be supported in pursuing the specific program learning
outcomes italicized below.

Practice Thoughtful Inquiry & Reflection (IR)

Reflective Practice (IR1): Reflect on and critically analyze their own practice to guide future
Connection (IR2): Synthesize and connect relevant theory and scholarship to their practice.
Scholarly Inquiry (IR3): Design, conduct, and share inquiry that addresses essential questions
from their practice.

Design Equitable Learning Environments (D)

Instructional Design (D1): Work with colleagues to design approaches to learning that
emphasize personalization, connect to the world beyond school, and offer access and challenge to all
Program Design (D2): Demonstrate understanding of how the allocation of adult and student
resources affects the creation of equitable learning environments in schools.

Engage in Leadership for School Change (L)

Facilitation (L1): Support and facilitate student and teacher dialogue focused on improving
teaching and learning.
Collaboration (L2): Engage colleagues and students in sustained efforts to create equitable,
engaging learning environments.

The curriculum for this course is based on the above essential questions and program
learning outcomes, as well as the corresponding set of course level learning outcomes,
activities and products. Together, they represent the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for
this course.

Course Learning Outcomes mapped to program learning

outcomes Activities/Products
305-1 The student takes thoughtful action to
promote equitable learning communities at his/her Methodology workshops
school site. (L1, L2) Learning cycles
305-2 The student synthesizes relevant theory about 2-2 scans
school design and applies it to the implementation of Stakeholders Review
their inquiry project. (IR2, D2) Data analysis workshops
305-3 The student analyzes data collected from a Data dives
number of sources. (IR3)
305-4 The student evaluates data to assess inquiry
project implementation and to determine next steps.
(IR1, D1, D2)
305-5 The student creates a plan and prototype of a
product that links their inquiry project to a broader
audience. (IR3, D2)


Haiku Posts
From weeks 2-10, you will be alternating between posting either a 2-2 scan to further flesh
out your literature review, or posting a reflection on a learning cycle which will become the
methods section of your Learning Journey 2.0. Posts are due Tuesday night.

Learning Cycle Reflection and Peer Response:

These are designed to scaffold the methods section of your Learning Journey 2.0.
Every other week you will be responsible for posting a reflection on your most recent
PDSA/learning cycle and responding to your groups reflections. Your reflection should
include: What did you do? What did you discover? What are you learning about your
problem? Was your change an improvement? What will you do next?

2-2 scans
These are designed to scaffold the literature review section of your Learning Journey 2.0.
2-2 Scans will be completed every other week to help you develop the literature review portion
of your Learning Journey 2.0, and as a scaffold for the final 310 course product. A 2-2 Scan
entails reading 2 articles/chapters relevant to your improvement topic and having 2 conversations with living
resources who can inform your thinking. These sources - living and text - should be diverse and
provide multiple (sometimes conflicting) perspectives on the issue. You will be asked to capture
your learning from these scans in the following way:
APA citations of the 2 sources, along with a brief annotation that includes key quotes and the
central ideas/themes relevant to your work.
A synthesis of take-a-ways from these sources and your conversations with living
resources: What are you learning about the issue/problem? What questions are
emerging? How might this inform your next steps and your evolving theory of
action? What other relevant sources do the texts or your Living Resources identify
that you want to explore?

Data/Dilemma Consultancies
In order to provide feedback and support for one another, dilemma consultancies or data
spotlight opportunities will be provided throughout the course.

HTH 305 Improvement Review

This is the culminating presentation and discussion of your improvement work over the 305
course. It will be follow a dilemma consultancy protocol and cover key learnings/findings,
next steps, and ideas for a preliminary change package for others interested in engaging in
the work. Your committee should include your advisor, your site-based critical friend, your
cohort critical friend, and two or more stakeholders from your improvement team at your

Learning Journey 2.0

This serves as a summative assessment of IR1 and IR2 and formative assessment of IR3; Link to rubric
Synthesis of Relevant Literature & Craft Knowledge (5-6 pages) - Drawing on
seminal texts and recent articles, discuss and synthesize research related to your
identified problem. What are the current perspectives on your topic? What are the
counter arguments in the field? How has the literature informed your learning cycles?
Methods/Actions (2-3 pages) - What actions did you take through your PDSA
cycles? How did you collect/analyze data to guide learning, monitor progress and
know if (and for whom) the actions were leading to improvement? How did one
PDSA inform the next?
Preliminary Findings (2-3 pages) - What have you discovered/learned? Surprises -
what did you predict and what happened? Themes emerging?
How has your understanding of the problem (i.e. fishbone) and your theory
of action (i.e. DD) evolved?
Which change ideas have evidence indicating improvement?
Forecasting Forward (<1 page): What more do you want to know? What more do
you want to try? What are your next steps? What are your ideas for a preliminary
change package that helps others do this work in their own contexts?

Detailed daily agendas will be distributed during each class.

Date Assignments Topics

Week 1 Complete IRB

11/17 Baseline Data
Backward Plan & Suite of Measures
outcome measures &
- Baseline
gathering baseline
- Tracking over time
Continuous learning for next week:
1. Collect baseline data
2. Reading: Lessons From Tony
3. ***Please collect your baseline data by
12/6/16 ***
11/24 NO CLASS (Thanksgiving week)
Week 2 Plan Learning Cycle 1
Continuous learning for next week: Run Charts
1. Complete learning cycle 1/collect
baseline data Launching into inquiry
2. Post learning cycle on Haiku - what did cycles
you do, what did you learn?
3. Reflect on your critical friends post

Week 3 CF Planning Time

12/8 Spotlights preliminary analysis of baseline data Making sense of baseline
2-2 Scan data

Continuous learning for next week:

Post your 2-2 scan to Haiku
Learning from the literature
Week 4 CF Planning Time
12/15 Spotlights preliminary analysis of baseline data Inquiry cycles
Plan for Learning Cycle 2

Continuous learning for next week:

Forge ahead in your learning cycle 2
Post learning cycle reflections on Haiku
- what did you do, what did you learn?
Reflect on your critical friends post


Week 5 CF Planning Time
1/5 Revisit Fishbone & Theory of Action Learning from the literature
2-2 Scan
What are we learning about
Continuous learning for next week: our problem?
Post your 2-2 scan to Haiku
Post your revised Fishbone & DD to What are we learning about
Haiku our theory of action?
Week 6 CF Planning Time
1/12 Plan for Leaning Cycle 3 Inquiry cycles
Looking at Data
Looking at data
Continuous learning for next week:
Forge ahead in your learning cycle 3
Post learning cycle reflections on Haiku
- what did you do, what did you learn?
Reflect on your critical friends post

Week 7 CF Planning Time

1/19 2-2 Scan Learning from the literature

Continuous learning for next week:

Post your 2-2 scan to Haiku

Week 8 CF Planning Time

1/26 Plan learning cycle 4 Inquiry cycles
Stakeholder review

Continuous learning for next week:

Forge ahead in your learning cycle 4
Post learning cycle reflections on Haiku
Reflect on your critical friends post

Week 9 CF Planning Time

2/2 Data Spotlights Literature review
2-2 Scan
Examining data
Continuous learning for next week:
Post your rough draft literature review
with minimum 18 sources to Haiku

Week CF Planning Time

10 Plan learning cycle 5 Literature review
2/9 Spotlights for Literature Reviews

Continuous learning for next week:

Post rough draft of methods section to
Reflect on your critical friends

Week 11 Methods spotlights

2/16 Data dive prep
Spotlights on methods Consolidating -- preparing
for next weeks
Continuous learning for next week: improvement reviews
Prep for Final Improvement Review

Week Final Improvement Review & Data Dive



Course Structures and Routines

Opening: 30 minutes of some kind of presentation or check-in
50-60 minutes: In-class consultancies on projects, using a variety of structures
45 minutes of semi-structured work time with a goal of transferring learning from
the consultancies to your own projects

Credit Hours
This is a 3.0 credit course. Each credit represents 45 hours of learning, for 135 total hours.
There will be 36 hours of face-to-face instruction, 12 hours of out-of-class instructional time
(via online forums and coaching conversations)) and 87 hours of out of class work (e.g.
readings, assignments, final product, digital portfolio maintenance, and documentation of
learning cycles ).


If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. ~ Proverb

Assessment in this course is discourse-based, combining reflection, peer critique, and
instructor response. Final projects and overall course participation are assessed in a
student-led comment format, where the participant presents a self-assessment and the
instructor responds. Contributions to the forum are not assessed formally, but become a part
of the ongoing dialogue with peers and the instructor. The instructors recognize that
assessment is a two-way street and invite critique on the course content and process through
exit cards following each session and in a course evaluation at the end.

The effectiveness of our learning community depends upon each persons consistent and
thoughtful participation. GSE courses are pass/fail. Rather than focusing on grades, we will
strive to create our best work. The learning process throughout will be supported through
conversation, critique, and multiple opportunities for revision. We will create work that is
worth doing and worth sharing, often discussing the idea of audience and how to make a
broader impact on the educational community. Each students participation in this course will
be assessed in accordance with the following criteria:
Pass: Students class participation and outside work reflect professionalism, effort, and
dedication; readings and assignments are completed on time. In order to earn a passing grade,
students must achieve the learning outcomes stated on the second page. The final product
must meet or exceed the criteria stated on the rubric and students will be required to
revise their work if they approach the criteria. Students attend every class session, providing
advance notice in the event of unavoidable absence and making up for missed work in a
timely manner, as approved by the instructor.
Fail: The student makes little to no progress toward completing course assignments, and fail
to achieve the learning outcomes for the course. Assignments are missing, or class
participation and/or outside work are below average. The final product is missing,
incomplete, or fails to meet the assignment parameters and/or the standards set by the class.
As stated in the GSE catalog, if a candidate misses more than 20% of a course, she/he will be
required to take the course the following year. In extreme cases, please talk to the instructors
if you must miss class or need an extension.