Book Review

Improving Student Learning: Applying Deming’s Quality Principles in Classrooms

Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger,
Professor of Leadership and Technology,
Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.


W. Edwards Deming was the quality guru who enabled Japan to emerge from the ashes of Hiroshima to become a preeminent industrial producer of high-quality goods and services. During the 1980s, Deming brought his concept of total quality management to General Motors, Ford and Xerox and, prior to his death in 1993, he consulted with educational leaders in the United States.

One of these leaders, Lee Jenkins, has adapted the Deming theory of quality in the Enterprise, Calif., School District, where he is superintendent. The essence of the system is: customer satisfaction, continuous improvement and focus on the people who make it happen.

Improving Student Learning is a step-by-step outline of the orchestration and optimization of human, physical and intellectual resources in a public school district, resulting in a documented record of improved student learning and a significant reduction in dropouts and failures.

Jenkins has captured the excitement and synergy that develops when quality comes to the classroom. He uses creative examples to demonstrate how relatively simple statistical techniques can enhance the teaching and learning process in any subject, program area or system. This readable text provides educators with a comprehensive framework for conducting authentic assessments of their efforts on behalf of children.

(Improving Student Learning: Applying Deming’s Quality Principles in Classrooms, by Lee Jenkins, American Society for Quality, 507 W. Edgerton Ave., Milwaukee, Wis. 53207, 1997, 250 pp., $30 hardcover)