School Improvement Plans – Why is it Important to Track Action Metrics and Impact Metrics

August 23, 2020

Why is Keeping Score with Metrics Important

We all know that changes to student outcomes requires changes to educator inputs. And changing educator inputs requires changing adult behavior.  The right Metrics are the key to effectively change behavior because they allow you to keep score.

People and teams play differently when they are keeping score, and the right kind of metrics motivate the teams to win. People play differently when they are keeping score. If you doubt this, watch a group of students playing basketball or soccer. See how the game changes the minute score-keeping begins, it’s not a subtle change. Bowling through a curtain is not that much fun. People perform best when they are emotionally engaged and the highest level of engagement comes when people know the score: whether they are winning or losing the game. It’s that simple.

Steven Covey

The rest of this short article and supporting videos will provide some tips specifically for using metrics to keep score when implementing a school improvement plan.


Why is it important to track both action and outcome metrics

Tracking metrics lets you observe the overall results of a school improvement plan and align your team and processes with your organizational objectives.  Metrics also allow you to guide your team and to lead, coach, and collaborate more effectively.


  • Measure performance – vital for hitting your goals
  • Provide an actionable way to achieve overall strategies and goals.
  • Make sure your staff is aware of what’s important, by showing them what their success is measured against.
  • Highlight any issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, meaning that efficiency and productivity are given a continual boost.


Why is it Important to Use Metrics to Correlate Effort to Impact

 Why is it Important to Use Metrics to Correlate Effort to Impact

RespondAbility’s Founder,  Gavin Doughty, discusses the power of correlating effort to impact to ensure you hit your plan’s strategic targets


Think About Your Staff When Setting Metrics

Successful school improvement plans are driven by metrics that are required to attain improved performance.  This is especially true for schools that are in state-mandated improvement mode. It’s important to remember that you don’t always control the goals.  They are set for you.  But you do control your metrics.

So don’t just think about student outcome data when you’re setting metrics, think about your teacher’s and administrator’s inputs – because your people are the most important factor when it comes to success or failure.  You need to tie student outcome metrics to their action metrics. Metrics need to be achievable yet challenging.  Simple yet meaningful. Finally you need to make it easy for your staff to report on metrics on a regular basis. 


Quick Example of How the Right Metrics are Used to Inspire and Empower a Team


The Most Critical Step of a Metric

The most critical capability of a metric to drive real results is the ability to determine what behavior is impacting desired outcomes in specific student populations. RespondAbility provides the reporting capability and capacity to see these correlations.  Below are two examples of how a progress management tool with easy to read dashboards allows both leadership and staff to see the correlation of their actions to the impact it is having on student outcomes.  The first dashboard shows a tactic that is working (walk-throughs).  The second shows a tactic (lesson plan alignment) that needs to be addressed.

Walk Throughs Are Happening and are Correlated to the Desired Outcome

Lesson Plan Alignment is Happening but Is Not Correlated to the Desired Outcome




How to Choose the Right Metrics

 Striking the right balance is always important. You can always change and add metrics to help you hit targets when you need to. You can add additional metrics when a goal is achieved or you can change a metric/tactic when it is not producing the desired results.

 Sharing and setting the right metrics is key. Start by looking at high-level programmatic actions that are crucial to your success. Successful metrics will help you to monitor efficiency and ensure that individual departments are aligned with overall school goals.



High School Principal, Chad Thomas, Shares How He Uses Metrics 

 Long time RespondAbility partner, Chad Thomas, shares how RespondAbility helps his entire team to collaborate effectively to improve student outcomes


Metrics need to be specific, and targets should be set for individuals as well as teams. They also need to be easy to analyze, to enable you to be able to see the benefit, and readily allow teachers and administrators to identify and communicate about efforts that need additional support or resources to be effective.  This is one of the areas where we believe RespondAbility provides you a key advantage as an educator.  Our focus is on helping schools and educators align and achieve school improvement plan goals.  Professional Development (which includes converting your improvement plan into metrics) is part of your software subscription.  Once you’ve defined your key goals we will help you to develop the key metrics important for your specific school and/or district.


Why Is It Important to Work With a Team With a Proven Track Record

Ed Morris Junior, RespondAbility’s VP of Educator Engagement discusses the value of working with a team that understands how to implement school improvement plans


About RespondAbility

RespondAbility focuses on helping two types of schools:

  • Schools on a short timeline that need an immediate catalyst to expedite the work inside their school – facilitating rapid progression with student outcomes, cultural outcomes, and data generation that will prove those outcomes are occurring.
  • Schools that are at the precipice of tipping over into being exemplary in their district – they need that one push to go from good to great.

Watch This Short 1 Minute Overview for a Quick Summary of RespondAbility

RespondAbility is a cloud management software that helps districts and schools successfully implement their school improvement plans.  Once you have a plan we help you:

  • Turn your school improvement plan into a living document
  • Implement and collaborate on school improvement actions
  • Monitor and adjust your school improvement plan based on the impact to student outcomes

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Simplify Program Management with RespondAbility

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Say goodbye to the headaches of complex education program management with RespondAbility. Streamline workstreams, improve meeting efficiency, and set clear expectations. Click and learn more!

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