A modeling framework for analyzing the education system as a complex system
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In this thesis, the Education System Intervention Modeling Framework (ESIM Framework) is introduced for analyzing interventions in the K-12 education system. This framework is the first of its kind to model interventions in the K-12 school system in the United States. Techniques from systems engineering and operations research, such as agent-based modeling and social network analysis, are used to model the bottom-up mechanisms of intervention implementation in schools. By applying the ESIM framework, an intervention can be better analyzed in terms of the barriers and enablers to intervention implementation and sustainability. The risk of failure of future interventions is thereby reduced through improved allocation of resources towards the system agents and attributes which play key roles in the sustainability of the intervention. Increasing the sustainability of interventions in the school system improves educational outcomes in the school and increases the benefits gained from the millions of dollars being invested in such interventions. In the first part of this thesis, a case study of an Engineers Without Borders chapter is modeled which helped in the development of a more generalized framework, applicable across a broad range of education system interventions. In the second part of this thesis, the ESIM framework is developed. The framework developed is divided into four phases: model definition, model design, model analysis, and model validation. Each of these phases has detailed steps in order to build the agent-based model of the particular intervention. In the third part of this thesis, the ESIM framework is applied to a case study of a curriculum intervention, Science Learning: Integrating Design, Engineering and Robotics, involving the design and implementation of an 8th-grade, inquiry-based physical science curriculum across three demographically varying schools. This case study provides a good comparison of the implementation of the intervention across different school settings because of the varied outcomes at the three schools.