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Designing a Change Strategy

The resources available here were developed specifically to help Inquiry Teams through the process of designing a change strategy. You will find tools that help you think through which strategies will work best for your target population, and how you can shape a coherent approach to meet their needs. These tools are designed to complement other resources and focus on just one key step in the broader inquiry process.

Phase I:

Identify Students
and Targets
Step 1: Define a school-wide focus.
Step 2: Define a target population.
Step 3: Define a long-term goal.
Step 4: Define learning targets and short-term goals.

Phase II:

Move the Students
Step 5: Analyze target population conditions of learning.
Step 6: Design and implement
an instructional change strategy.

The work of Designing a Change Strategy is organized around the five steps shown in the circular graphic. Click on each step to find tools and guiding questions.

Step 7: Evaluate and revise based on interim progress measures.

Phase III:

Move the System
Step 8: Analyze school-wide systems that produce conditions of learning.
Step 9: Design and implement a system-wide change strategy.
Step 10: Evaluate and revise based on interim progress measures.

Consider Conditions of Learning

A significant focus of the work of the Inquiry Teams is to understand the conditions of learning that impact the target population students The tool to guide this step will help Inquiry Teams lay out a plan to do this work objectively and systematically so that clear action steps can emerge from the data. Use this tool to:

Guide discussion on the what, how, how well, and who of the conditions of learning
Brainstorm means for Collecting Data.
Plan for analysis of the data: What to Look For.

Considering Conditions of Learning

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Explore the Research Base

The heart of the Scaffolded Inquiry Project is access to relevant research, thoughtfully captured in Abstracts and Variable Maps to help educators quickly pinpoint key variables and potential strategies. The Variable Maps are organized by learning challenge. According to the inquiry process implemented in 2007-08, the level of the learning challenge falls between the sub-skill level and the very granular learning targets. In reviewing the research, we found that this intermediate level was helpful to capture and categorize the bulk of the available studies.

Use the tools linked below to guide exploration of the research in the database and to conduct supplemental research.

Tools include:

Using the Abstracts
Using the Maps Guiding Questions
Variable Map Legend
Understanding Types of Research
Finding Research on Your Own

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Evaluate Strategies

Evaluating strategies is a crucial part of an Inquiry Team's design work. Inquiry Teams search for the strategies that are robust enough to have a real impact on the learning of the target population, and that can realistically be implemented in the school by the teachers. The three tools listed below include the same set of guiding questions, but each presents the questions in a different format to accommodate different ways of thinking about these issues. Choose the one that best suits your needs. Use these tools to:

Guide Discussion
Check the "fit" of the strategy
Determine which modifications may be necessary
Make decisions about implementation

Tools include:

Is this strategy right for our target population? (Option 1)
Is this strategy right for our target population? (Form, Option 2)
Is this strategy right for our target population? (Form, Option 3)

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Generate Hypotheses and a Change Strategy

Documenting the questions you have asked of your data, your assumptions, and the predicted impacts of selected strategies is critical to ensuring alignment and cohesion in the overall approach. Use this tool to:

Guide discussion
Document decisions
Articulate assumptions and theory of change
Integrate strategies for a cohesive and efficient approach
Put it all together into a change strategy

Tools include:

Articulating a change strategy

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Plan for Implementation

A viable plan is one that people commit to and work to bring to life. The process used to develop the direction can make the difference between a plan that collects dust or one that really guides the school in purposeful change. A solid plan will build on the team's extensive work through the previous steps and make those decisions actionable. Use these tools to:

Consider the many elements of implementation
Plan for coordinated activities
Document Inquiry Team decisions

Tools include:

Planning for implementation
Implementation check-up

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