ISIP, the International School Improvement Project coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), began in 1982 and united fourteen OECD countries and their experts on the topic of school improvement. The project was formally ended in 1986 and resulted in a library of fourteen books and reports, summarising the knowledge of educational experts in the participating countries on school improvement. It is generally acknowledged that the ISIP body of knowledge on school improvement in the 1980s was an international foundation of the school improvement movement.
The professional network created in the 1980s remained intact by means of the Foundation for International Collaboration on School Improvement (FICSI). FICSI proved to be a network in which the members had irregular face-to-face contacts, but it did turn out to be a useful means of organising international conferences and workshops at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meetings in the United States, and at the annual meetings of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI).
At AERA 92 in San Francisco, the board of FICSI decided it would be useful to make formal links with other networks, and the resulting connection with ICSEI made it possible to bring together for the first time two different ways of approaching the phenomenon of creating more effective schools, involving on the one hand the research knowledge on effectiveness and on the other hand the practical and research knowledge about school improvement. The resulting symposium at ICSEI '93 led to a conference in Cardiff in which the participants decided to lay out the outcomes of the meeting in a publication, in which basic ideas and concepts about school