Achieve CLARITY Using the 14 Parameters




In my work with system and school leaders developing high-impact improvement approaches, the 14 parameters have consistently proven to work – across contexts – in countries, states, districts, and schools, each with differing variables. The 14 Parameters unwrap the core tenets of successful School Improvement Processes. My research with Michael Fullan (2009, 2012) established that when these 14 Parameters are present at high levels, in systems and schools where leaders are focused on them, there were increased levels of student growth and achievement.

Although the 14 Parameters may seem complicated, systems and schools begin simply as follows:


  • Using their data to consider their areas of immediate need

  • Selecting two or three of the Parameters as immediate goals to be actioned, in addition to Parameters 1, 6, and 14, which are always the nonnegotiables

  • Developing an action plan with benchmarks and timelines to progress the work of implementing the selected Parameters in addition to the three nonnegotiable parameters


We can demonstrate that student achievement has increased under this collective professional enterprise more than it has in systems we have examined in which schools have worked individually to “choose their own adventure” (Sharratt & Fullan, 2009, 2012). The 14 parameters represent a “system-ness approach” to improvement. System-ness demands that everyone is responsible and accountable (Parameter #14). Using data to select areas of immediate need enables professionals in educational systems to collaboratively focus their work to further develop their collective capacity. Once these areas of need are transparent, teams select the parameters that are likely to be the most impactful in addressing student need. With success in the two or three selected first, teams can move toward their next collaboratively selective priority, and then the next, until they are self-assessing as “high” against all 14 Parameters.


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