Webs of Improvement: Data, Organizations, and the Spread of School Innovation
Jose Eos Trinidad

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Chicago

Primary Discipline

When many urban school reforms fail and falter, why do some succeed and spread? Often, studies explain this through top-down state capacity or grassroots mobilization. But many evidence-based policies and enthusiastic individuals often fail to spread their initiatives. Thus, this research explores how ?outside? organizations?that is, the network of research, philanthropic, and school improvement organizations?were crucial in spreading school innovation. Using the case of ninth-grade early warning indicators (EWIs) and data systems that have been adopted in many schools and districts in the United States, this research uncovers how webs of meaning, organizations, and practices contributed to the initiation and institutionalization of this practice. Situated in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York?cities that started EWIs at scale?this research brings together organizational documents, interviews, and social network data to suggest organized and organic strategies that led to the adoption of these predictive data systems that tried to address and prevent high school dropouts. Theoretically, the research contributes to the literature on new institutionalism by showing how organizational change is influenced by flexible rather than set logics, entrepreneurial interactions rather than individual entrepreneurs, and everyday organizational routines rather than abstract cultural changes. Practically, it suggests how various organizations outside schools can leverage data and state-society networks to initiate, implement, and institutionalize school innovation. More broadly, the research explores how educational change happens not primarily through policy changes or social movements, but through webs and networks of school improvement.
About Jose Eos Trinidad
J. Eos Trinidad is pursuing a joint Ph.D. in Sociology and Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Bringing together organizational and education sociology, his research investigates the spread of school innovation through networked organizations outside the school system. Over the past five years, he has published 28 peer-reviewed journal articles and two books, one of which won the Philippine National Book Award. His research has three strands: (1) quantitative studies on educational programs and policies that have been published in International Studies in Sociology of Education, Studies in Educational Evaluation, and Social Psychology of Education; (2) qualitative studies on organizational change and leadership in higher education published in Journal of Further and Higher Education, College Teaching, and Industry and Higher Education; and (3) causal inference studies regarding youths using quasi-experimental methods published in Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Pediatrics, and Race Ethnicity and Education. His research has been supported by the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation, American Sociological Association/ National Science Foundation, Asian Development Bank, RAND Corporation, and the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. Eos has taught classes on research methods, education innovations, and human development. He has also served as peer reviewer in various education, sociology, and quantitative social science journals. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University, and his M.A. from the University of Chicago, winning the Johnson Prize for his graduate thesis.

Pin It on Pinterest