A logic model is a great way to get started in organizing and focusing school improvement efforts. Developing a logic model can help you think about and visualize what school improvement means to you, the activities that need to happen, and the expected results of the activities. The end product is a document that can be used for implementation and evaluation of your school improvement efforts. Your logic model can also be helpful in having conversations with all individuals who are involved in your school improvement efforts to develop a shared understanding of what needs to happen to accomplish your goals. My colleagues and I have worked with state education agencies and districts on their school improvement efforts, starting first with the logic model. We have heard time and time again that the logic model helps them to prioritize efforts and stay focused so that they can accomplish their school improvement goals.
Getting Started with a Logic Model
To begin developing a logic model, start by crafting a situation statement, which is a short description of the issue that your school improvement effort is trying to address. You may have many problems but focus on only one for your logic model. There are six key components of a logic model: the resources, activities, outputs, and short-, mid-, and long-term outcomes. The resources are available funding, materials, and personnel that you may have at your disposal to accomplish school improvement efforts related to your problem. The activities are what you intend to do to address the problem. Outputs are evidence that you completed the activities. For instance, if you conducted a training as part of the activities, then you might have attendance records as an output documenting how many attendees were present. The outcomes are what you intend to see as a result of using the resources to implement the activities. In the short term, you might expect to see changes in knowledge or beliefs; in the midterm, you might expect to see changes in behavior; in the long term, you might expect to see systemic changes or changes in student outcomes.
Using If-Then to Connect Components
As you develop your logic model, think of “if-then” statements. Many school improvement plans may show an activity like providing teacher training connected to a goal associated with increased student learning. A logic model specifies how the training results in improved student outcomes. For instance, if you have trainers as a resource, then you can do training; if you do a training, then you would expect a change in knowledge for those who attended; if attendees’ knowledge changes, then their behavior might change; if behavior changes for multiple individuals, then student learning should improve.
Once you have completed your logic model, you can use it to think of a plan for implementation and evaluation. Look for our second blog to cover this important piece of school improvement!