Create a Practical Measure

for Improvement

3. Create a Practical Measure

Identify measurement needs

You need to identify the process or leading outcome in your theory of improvement related to the driver you are focusing on. To help you figure out what to create a measure of, ask yourself:

  • What do you expect your change ideas to move—that is, what are your change ideas meant to change?
  • What do you need to know in the short term related to your primary driver?

An example of a Theory of Improvement

Mentor support of teachers on writing

  • Mentor strategy huddle
  • Mentor teacher/new teacher around writing
  • Reflective mentor planning protocols
  • Mentor teacher/new teacher on instructional writing

Design of lesson plan

  • New teacher orientation to writing initiative
  • After-school writing sessions
  • School-wide lesson planning session
  • Writing room creations

Feedback from teacher leader/principal

  • Veteran teacher learning walks
  • Content team-based peer-to-peer observations
  • Co-planning session
  • Feedback conversation protocol

Practical Measures from the Primary Drivers in Previous Example

  • Average duration of time on mentor support on writing
  • Average duration of feedback sessions
  • Average duration of planning and enacting lesson plans
  • Sustained participation in lesson planning


Student Independent Writing Time


The Student Independent Writing Time measure is relatively simple and straightforward. It does what the name suggests — tracks the number of minutes students spend in independent writing…



The Student Independent Writing Time measure — and other measures such as the Writing Conference Tracker — is a part of a system of measures developed to test a theory of improvement…


Practical Measurement Research Briefs

Like continuous improvement, the development and use of practical measurement is a journey. It is rarely linear and often comes with opportunities and challenges. Check out these stories of improvers designing, iterating, and leveraging practical measures to create change in the system. Get ready to be inspired by their experience and lessons learned.


Developing Exit Tickets in an Improvement Network

Ms. Johnson, an English teacher at an urban middle school, was concerned that her students were not doing as well in her class as they could be. Her district had recently…



Case Study of ORF as Practical Measure Brief

In this post we describe the identification and use of Oral Reading Fluency (ORF), a common and widely used Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) measure, as a…


Additional Resources