What Matters Most Framework

Solutions

Research on schools, districts, and programs that change the odds for students reveals five opportunity areas where improvements can lead to dramatic gains in student achievement. McREL’s What Matters Most framework identifies these areas and provides guidance to educators seeking an answer to the question, “Of all the things I might do, what matters most?”

Ensure curricular pathways to success. High-performing systems guarantee that all students, no matter what their aspirations, are provided with both challenging and personalized learning experiences that prepare each of them for life success.

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Guarantee challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction. At the core of effective systems are teachers who challenge students, develop positive relationships with them, and are intentional in their use of a broad repertoire of teaching strategies.

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Provide whole-child student supports. Setting high expectations requires providing students with the scaffolding they need to succeed—a just-in-time, personalized response to students’ cognitive, psychosocial, and academic needs.

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Develop data-driven, high-reliability systems. High-performing school systems put data systems and processes in place to ensure high-quality learning experiences for all students, as well as real-time responses to student failures.

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Create high-performance school cultures. Effective schools ensure high-quality learning experiences in every classroom. At the same time, they develop a culture of high expectations for learning and behavior, which is an even more powerful predictor of student success than socioeconomic status.

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