2019

QP REVIEWS

Process Management in Education: How to Design, Measure, Deploy, and Improve Organizational Processes

Robert W. Ewy and Henry A. Gmitro, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 120 pp., $38 member, $63 list (book).

The intent of authors Ewy and Gmitro is to provide tools and insights that allow educators to deliver results. This book is geared toward educators in K-12 curricular sequences and is organized for quick referencing of details about process management tools specific to designing, implementing, measuring and improving educational programs. It is more than just a reference book, however, and is intended for hands-on, in-process use.

This book presents tools, with supporting theories, for effective program management by teachers, administrators and supervisors. The book starts by exploring what a process is, how processes are influenced, how data is gathered, how decision points are identified and how to monitor in-process activities, as well as confirm outcomes. Usable graphics, exhibits and visual tools support the book’s effective narrative. The index offers a quick-find approach to information and resources.

The book is a guide for use in all stages of the process, from pre-planning to post-assessment. The book offers examples for schoolwide or classroom-specific use, and tools for a curricular standards-specific activity or for a specified learner population. There is also a project related to at-risk learners. Standards-based instructional processes are explored and project examples offer specifics to implementing a standards-based or standards-compliant project.

For educators committed to delivering predictable results by managing processes effectively in educational programs, this book will be a useful resource. This is a how-to reference guide for the project manager’s desk, not just the bookshelf in the library. This resource is offered for use in planning and managing processes in education.

Gerald Brong
Ellensburg, WA


Problem Solving in Plain English

Craig Cochran, Paton Professional, 2010, 122 pp., $26.95 (book).

This book is a primer on the art and science of systematically solving business problems. It consists of six chapters, each of which covers one step of the problem-solving process. The book starts with a description of how to select the right problem to solve. This is important because problems vary in difficulty and extent.

Chapter two consists of how to write a problem statement when the right problem is selected. Emphasis is put on specifying the who, what, when, where, why and extent of the problem when defining it. Chapter three covers defining the current process, and chapter four deals with uncovering the problem causes. Flow charts and brainstorming are tools used to make sure the process is fully understood before proceeding to solve the problem.

The last two chapters discuss planning and implementing corrective actions and verifying effectiveness. These chapters emphasize documenting evidence that the problems have been corrected. The appendixes contain templates, while preceding chapters have examples on how to use the templates.

The main weakness in the book is it does not distinguish between common cause and process improvement problems from special cause and troubleshooting problems. In addition, the method used for finding causes is better suited for common cause and process improvement problems. Overall, it is a good book that can be used by anyone who wants an easy, systematic way of solving problems in which process improvement is needed.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY


Home Builder’s Guide to Continuous Improvement: Schedule, Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Cost and Safety

Jack B. ReVelle and Derek N. Margetts, CRC Press, 2009, 224 pp., $82.95 (book).

This book covers a wide range of continuous improvement tools and techniques while illustrating their use in and impact on the home-building industry. Each tool described uses terms and applications from the industry. At the end of each chapter, examples are provided from the authors’ practical experience.

A number of case studies from homebuilders are provided, demonstrating the impact of such tools. These case studies are available to readers as downloads. The topics cover problem identification and solutions, cycle times, dealing with data, root cause analysis, corrective action, continuous improvement tools, quality function deployment and design of experiments. One chapter focuses on various software packages that are available and have been applied successfully by builders.

This is a comprehensive review and application of quality tools and techniques for the industry and is not an introductory text.

Denis Leonard
Business Excellence Consulting
Bozeman, MT


Continuous Improvement in the History and Social Studies Classroom

Daniel R. McCaulley, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 168 pp., $24 member, $40 list (book).

In this book, McCaulley shares his 38 years of experience teaching history and social studies at Maconaquah Middle School in Bunker Hill, IN. During this time, the author learned the principles of integrating quality improvement in public education from the work of Lee Jenkins, specifically Jenkins’s Improving Student Learning: Applying Deming’s Quality Principles in Classrooms. McCaulley describes his journey into understanding the importance of attitude, philosophy and community as he learned how to apply quality tools in his classroom.

He explains the fundamentals of the American quality movement and how it has begun to impact education. The book looks at K-12 education and a typical American classroom through the eyes of a quality professional.

McCaulley presents a starter tool kit for implementing continuous improvement in a social studies classroom, how to organize a classroom around key statistical outcomes that can be measured, other factors in the classroom that can be measured and his seven deadly sins of continuous improvement.

In addition, he explores appropriate ways to celebrate successful accomplishments and provides a sobering perspective on the future of history and social studies curricula in American public schools and how continuous improvement can strengthen this future.

The appendixes cover handy, essential facts for study, and present examples of measurable outcomes unique to history and social studies curricula. This is one of the titles in the Quality Press series that applies continuous improvement principles in English, science, mathematics and language arts curricula. It is highly recommended for all public school history and social studies teachers, as well as public-school leadership.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX


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