Instructional Improvement Cycle Toolkit
A Teacher’s Toolkit for Collecting and Analyzing Data on Instructional Strategies
This toolkit, developed by REL Central at Marzano Research, in collaboration with York Public Schools in Nebraska, provides a process and tools to help teachers use data from their classroom assessments to evaluate promising practices. The toolkit provides teachers with guidance on how to deliberately apply and study one classroom strategy over the course of one unit and systematically document and compare results to consider the effects of a given instructional strategy on student learning. The process for testing the strategy uses a scientific approach by comparing the performance of students who receive the strategy to the performance of a similar group of students who do not receive the strategy. Teachers can use this information to reflect on their practice and consider adjustments to their instruction to increase student learning.
Introductory Video: A Teacher’s Toolkit
This video introduces the Instructional Improvement Cycle Toolkit.
An Introduction to the Instructional Improvement Cycle: A Teacher’s Toolkit from Institute of Education Sciences.
Robert J. Marzano, Trudy L. Cherasaro, Mark W. Haystead, Marianne Reale
IES Project Page
Cherasaro, Trudy L.
(303) 766-9199, ext. 314
Part 1: Planning
This tool provides step-by-step instructions and worksheets for teachers to plan to test a strategy using the instructional improvement cycle. The tool provides four steps to follow: select an instructional strategy, select classes, select a content assessment, and determine when and how to use the strategy.
To complete Part 1: Planning Guide, please first download and print the below document.
This following video provides guidance on the first tool: the planning guide.
Part 2: Analysis
This tool analyzes student learning data to provide findings on how well the strategy worked. The analysis produces three results:
- The baseline equivalence result tells whether the two groups of students had preexisting achievement differences that could not be controlled for in the analysis, making the results uninterpretable because effects related to pre-existing differences cannot be ruled out.
- The effect size tells how the achievement of students who received the strategy compares with the achievement of students who did not receive the strategy. Specifically, an effect size indicates, in a standardized way, how much better or worse on average students in the group that received the strategy did compared with students in the group that did not receive the strategy.
- The confidence level tells whether a similar effect is likely to happen in similar classes.
To complete Part 2: Excel Analysis, please first download the excel tool and follow the additional instructional document below.
This video provides a step-by-step guide through the Excel analysis tool.
Part 3: Reflection
This tool provides instructions for teachers on how to use the results from the Excel analysis tool and a worksheet for teachers to interpret and reflect on the results. The worksheet guides teachers to think about how they implemented the strategy, their classroom context, the assessments used, and other factors that may have influenced the results, so they can plan for future instructional use of their strategy.
To complete Part 3: Reflection Guide, please first download and print the below document.
This video provides a step-by-step guide through the reflection guide.
Toolkit in Action
Teachers follow the four steps in the planning guide to plan for testing an instructional strategy using the instructional improvement cycle:
- Select an instructional strategy.
- Select classes.
- Select a content assessment.
- Determine when and how to use the strategy.
Implementing the Instructional Improvement Cycle:
To implement the instructional improvement cycle, teachers first determine whether their selected classes have baseline equivalence on the pre-test by entering their pre-test data into the Excel analysis tool. If the Excel analysis tool indicates that the classes do not have baseline equivalence, different classes should be chosen. If the classes have baseline equivalence, teachers should follow the remaining steps of implementation:
- Teach content.
- Administer content assessment and record data (post-test).
- Interpret and reflect on results using the reflection guide.
Additional Video: Implementing the Instructional Improvement Cycle
This video describes implementation and reflection of the Instructional Improvement Cycle Toolkit.
For further resources, please read the REL Central Instructional Improvement Cycle report on the IES website.
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