Home Glossary


Ability status

One's physical or mental ability to perform everyday tasks. “Able-bodied” or “someone with a disability” are terms used to define an ability status, which can carry social, historical, and cultural implications for equity work.


Able to be reached by removing barriers.


To direct toward a specified object or goal. In CI4E, the aim is determined using an asset-based approach and data that concretely measures equity goals.


The scope of a concept or activity. Each stage of CI4E includes three to four areas where equity can be applied: representation, structure, and process.


Considering the diversity of knowledge, experiences, world views, culture, and traits as assets rather than deficits. Asset-based approaches recognize the bias and overvaluing of certain (often White, western, straight, or masculine derived) forms of knowledge or information.


Genuine; rooted in real experiences and facts. Education teams practicing CI4E practicing authentic engagement and decision-making by recognizing and valuing the different world views among communities and stakeholders.



Prejudice in favor of one group over another. The equity questions support teams to identify and understand personal and systemic biases in their contexts.



A person who provides direct care for children (e.g., parent, grandparent). Caregivers are key members of the community whose needs, knowledge, and experience in support of children should be integrated in equity work.


The systemic oppression of the lower class and middle class to the advantage of the upper class. Continuous improvement for equity deliberately aims to identify, address, and dismantle oppressive structures and behaviors, including those that perpetuate classism.


To create something jointly.

Communities being served

Populations that receive services and support from a school or district. See also “stakeholder.”

Communities most affected by inequity

Populations within an education community who are historically oppressed and are actively targeted or neglected by policies, institutions, and systems.


A unified body of individuals from diverse backgrounds with common interests living in a particular area. Communities can be defined by their relationship to institutions such as schools or districts or by shared cultural or social history and experiences.


The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs. For CI4E, context includes systemic functions such as the distribution of resources, programs, competencies, history, services, policies, and practices that can sustain equity and inequity.

Cultural identities

A social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication through cultural elements—including symbols, art, language, customs, etc.



Factual information used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation; in CI4E, data is used to measure improvement that meets equity goals.

Decision-making procedures

The process of deciding something, especially with a group of people, using a defined set of steps. In CI4E, procedures for equitable decision-making require incorporating the knowledge and experiences of marginalized populations and prioritizing structures and procedures that promote consensus and shared leadership.


A statistical characteristic of human populations, such as race, gender, or English Learner status.

Disciplined inquiry cycles

Cycles of data analysis, action planning, collecting evidence, and using evidence to adjust practices.


The representation or composition of various social identity groups in a work group, organization, or community. People have multiple identities; it is critical to recognize that social identities are intersectional and have different salience and impact in different contexts.


All the ways in which people differ, and all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender, but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, and many more factors.

Drivers for change

An internal or external pressure that shapes change to an organization or system. Drivers for change may improve equity, exacerbate inequities, or do both simultaneously.


Education-based solutions

Solutions developed and implemented to address education-specific issues.


To make something integral to a larger component. Education teams can assess the success or sustainability of their equity efforts by examining the degree to which equity is embedded in their programs and systems.


Working collaboratively through shared dialogue, leadership, and action. In equity work, engagement should be approached equitably, taking into account resources, history, power, oppression, and other factors often unrecognized when communities work together.

English Learners

Students who are in the process of learning English.


An ongoing process of assessing needs, eliminating systemic barriers, building greater access to resources and learning opportunities, and creating conditions for optimal outcomes by members of all social identity groups. Equity occurs when all students have access to those resources and learning opportunities they need to thrive.


Tools, materials, or sets of routines, typically grounded in theoretical principles, that have been subject to rigorous empirical study. 


Developing or changing gradually. Continuous improvement for equity relies on evolving theories of improvement in order to identify effective testing interventions that will help reach the aim.



A person’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. A person’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.


Overseeing the control and direction of an organization, network, or system.


A publication that provides directions or instructions to help readers understand how to complete an action. The CI4E Resource Hub library contains guides that can be utilized to support next steps in implementing continuous improvement for equity.



A person’s sense of self, influenced by their socialization, characteristics, and social roles. Identity can often be imposed onto a person, or community, by those in power.


The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have been excluded historically. Teams practice inclusiveness in order to cultivate environments where all people feel heard and feel that they belong. Along with equity and diversity, inclusion is one of three tenets needed so that every member of a community has full opportunities to learn and thrive.


An instance of injustice or unfairness or a history of injustices that excluded and/or harmed a person or community. Inequities are the result of – and lead to – systemic and personal racism, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, and other forms of discrimination. Historic inequities are inequities that have been experienced for an extended period of time.

Input measures

Input measures monitor the resources that go into developing, maintaining, or delivering a product or service. Teams measure input when they identify and track what goes into an effort. Examples of inputs can include classroom practices, language, and other strategies to work toward educational equity.


Organizations and/or individuals that serve as connectors, advisors, and strategists for other organizations, schools, districts, or companies.


Practices and strategies employed by educator leaders and researchers to support student success. The process of testing interventions refers to trying multiple interventions to identify what works best to support student needs.



Perspective; something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension, or evaluation. Each person’s lens is affected by their upbringing and identities.


To set at liberty; to free. Continuous improvement for equity works toward a liberated future, where all systems are characterized by equity and fairness.


Marginalized groups

Communities that experience discrimination and exclusion because of the design of social and education systems. People are marginalized along the lines of identity, including race, socioeconomic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Continuous improvement for equity recognizes that systems have historically removed and ignored certain populations and identities across all aspects of community engagement and work, including in education settings.



Coalitions of organizations, schools, district(s), and/or researchers that work together to improve outcomes for students by using continuous improvement for equity practices. Networks operate differently depending on funding and approach.


The ways in which people behave and relate to each other, whether consciously and explicitly or not. Educator teams identify, agree to, follow, and hold each other accountable to norms in order to engage, sustain, and deepen dialogue, especially on difficult subjects.



Unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power. As an outcome, oppression looks like unequal group access to power and privilege. As an action, oppression happens when a group uses power and privilege to maintain the status quo of that unequal division of power.

Output measures

Output measures monitor how much was produced or provided. Education teams measure output when it comes to identifying and tracking what came out of an effort to improve student outcomes. Examples of outputs can include improved student test scores, increased graduation rates, and other outcomes that relate to education equity goals.


Power dynamics

The distribution of decision-making power, authority, and both formal and informal influence among individuals and organizations. Power dynamics affect how decisions are made and who is included in making decisions that impact students and school communities. Traditional power dynamics are often based on status, race, gender, and wealth.


One who practices a profession. Within the context of the CI4E Resource Hub, “practitioner” is shorthand for “educational practitioner,” or anyone who works in an educational setting.


In the context of oppression, when one group benefits at the expense of another. Privilege extends across lines of social categories, including race, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and citizenship status.


A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.


Qualitative data

Data collected through questionnaires, interviews, or observation. Qualitative data is valued as a way to present a fuller narrative of students, families, and education contexts. In the CI4E process, qualitative data can be collected through equity audits, focus groups, community conversations, or other opportunities where participants have the ability to share anecdotal data.



Any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry. Race is a social construct that has real-world implications, especially considering educational and social opportunities.


The systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another. Continuous improvement for equity deliberately aims to identify, address, and dismantle oppressive structures and behaviors, including those that perpetuate racism. 


The body of people representing a constituency. The CI4E Resource Hub invites users to reflect if their teams are inclusive of the people that they intend to represent. Solutions cannot be created without including the knowledge and experiences of those most impacted by the problem.

Root cause

The basic cause of an issue. Root cause analysis is a problem-solving technique that aims to address the core cause of a problem rather than treating symptoms of the problem.



Prejudice or discrimination based on sex. Continuous improvement for equity deliberately aims to identify, address, and dismantle oppressive structures and behaviors, including those that perpetuate sexism.


A period or step in a process, activity, or development. There are six stages in the continuous improvement process: Understanding the System; Creating a Collaborative & Diverse Team; Determining an Aim; Designing a Theory of Improvement; Testing Interventions; and Convening a Network.


One who is involved in or affected by a course of action. The CI4E Resource Hub uses the term “stakeholders” to refer to members of education communities who are impacted by school or district-wide decisions, referring to students, families, school and district employees, and community members.


Any policy, practice, or procedure in schools that make up the larger education system.


An organization characterized by a set of interactions among the people who work there, the tools and materials they have at their disposal, and the processes through which these people and resources join together to accomplish its work. The CI4E Resource Hub uses the term “system” to refer to interconnecting structures that impact students, like education, housing, transportation, jobs, and economics.

Systemic biases

Prejudice, bigotry, or unfairness directed by institutions towards individuals of an oppressed group. Within the context of this website, the equity questions aid teams to identify and understand systemic biases in their contexts.



A group of people associated together in work or an activity. The CI4E Resource Hub uses the term “team” to refer to the people involved in developing and executing CI4E practices.

Testing interventions

The action of undergoing disciplined inquiry cycles to collect and analyze data to assess if changes are an improvement.

Theory of improvement

A set of hypotheses about key drivers necessary for achieving an improvement aim. A theory of development is developed by blending observations with relevant research and judgments from practitioners.


An action-oriented compilation of resources or tools that can guide users to develop a plan or organize efforts.


White supremacy culture

The systemic, institutionalized centering of Whiteness that explicitly and implicitly privileges Whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-White professional standards related to dress code, speech, work style, and timeliness. Characteristics of White supremacy culture include perfectionism, sense of urgency, defensiveness, quantity over quality, value of the written word, individualism, and right to comfort.


The aggregated base of knowledge, intuition, skills, and assets that communities bring to solving their collective challenges. In the continuous improvement for equity process, wisdom is valued as a way of understanding the problem and developing solutions that are considerate of historical examples and dynamics.

World views

A comprehensive conception of the world from a specific standpoint.

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