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Building to Impact

Building to Impact
The 5D Implementation Playbook for Educators

First Edition

Foreword by Dylan Wiliam

May 2022 | 232 pages | Corwin

Turn ideas into goals—and goals into impact

The road to school improvement and student achievement is paved with good intentions—so why does the destination seem so far away? If you’re like most educators, the answer is a pothole known as the implementation gap.

This book provides a road map to bypassing that gap in your school or district, offering a carefully researched, field-tested methodology that takes leadership teams, professional learning communities, and educators all the way from good ideas to systematic impact. Following the five Ds, you’ll: 

  • Discover goals worth pursuing and problems worth addressing
  • Design instruments and actions that generate deep impact
  • Deliver interventions and collect data
  • Double-back to monitor your progress and evaluate the impact
  • Double-up to enhance, sustain, and scale your success

You became an educator to make a difference in students’ lives. With this playbook, you’ll transform research and ideas into achievable actions—and make maximum impact.

About the Authors
List of Figures
D1 Discover
D2 Design
D3 Deliver
D4 Double-Back
D5 Double-Up
Appendix 1: Mapping 50 Implementation Methodologies
Appendix 2: Key Areas of Divergence Across 50 Implementation Models
Appendix 3: 23 (Relatively) Common Implementation Activities
Appendix 4: Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis of Implementation

How helpful is the material within this book? Extremely! Navigating the prolific amount of advice and research available on school and system improvement proved to be a complex challenge when some of us started on that journey in 2010 in the Northern Territory. Having key partnerships and the intellectual input from many of the people and organizations credited in the preface of this book enabled a grassroots initiative to grow to a system-wide and systemic improvement journey with impact that continues today.

Maintaining focus for sustained implementation and delivery of improvement amongst the whirlwind of competing priorities is challenging and often exhausting.  To have alignment from the ‘boardroom to the classroom’ through the iterative process of change was and continues to be a deep inquiry process. 

It’s wonderful to have the processes and implementation strategies articulated in such an accessible manner. It also validates the complexity of the process and just how hard it can be to remain on track and to sustain when key personnel and context change. What a wonderfully useful resource Arran, Douglas, Janet, and John have delivered. As an educator and/or system leader who wants to see student progress accelerate, you will find real value in engaging with this book, and it will help as you talk with others to gain their input and support as you build for impact."

Vicki Baylis
Former Chief Executive, Department of Education, The Northern Territory, Australia

"Building to Impact seeks to address one of the most perplexing issues currently facing education. That is, despite the best efforts of thousands of educationalists across the world, the long-term effects of educational underperformance, currently being highlighted and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, continues to disproportionately affect and marginalize the poor and those from ethnic and cultural minorities. The authors attribute this problem to the ‘implementation gap'—the profound gap between the empirical wisdom locked in the research and the translation of those pearls into impact in schools and classrooms at scale.

Enough of grand ideas and theories, say the authors. This playbook identifies how crucially necessary immediate, deep, effective, and practical education reform can be implemented. What makes this book so potentially powerful in the right hands is that its model of change is based on evidence from an intensive meta-analysis of 50+ effective implementation methodologies. This model, carefully detailed, provides a sound base for rigorous, impactful education reform."

Russell Bishop, PhD, ONZM
The University of Waikato, New Zealand

"Educational research and books on teaching and learning are filled with advice on effective practices, but research shows that very little of that advice translates into a positive impact on student achievement. Hamilton, Reeves, Clinton, and Hattie propose that it’s an implementation issue, and in this book, they clearly lay out how schools can effectively improve on that."

Peter DeWitt, EdD
Corwin Author, Education Week Blogger, and Web-show host, Leadership Coach, US

"Building to Impact is an extensive field manual for achieving quality implementation of evidence-based practices in schools. Readers are guided through a process that will help them think through the complexities involved in making what’s supposed to work actually work in their schools and districts. The authors have done an excellent job synthesizing and distilling key concepts from implementation science literature. The Appendices are a huge added bonus."  

Jenni Donohoo, PhD
Author and Educational Consultant, US and Canada

"The mystery of implementation has been solved. We can take ideas and innovations and ensure that they are taken to scale. The processes outlined in this book take us from the discovery phase through design and delivery, but it doesn't stop there. The authors provide systems that allow educators to double-back and double-up, which allow us to monitor our progress and determine impact. Imagine if we all used the tools in this book to take effective practices to scale, in every classroom and school. The impact would be astonishing, with students learning more and educators knowing that they had an impact." 

Doug Fisher, PhD
Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University

"This book is an excellent tool for analyzing ways to identify and overcome seemingly intractable problems in education. Five rigorous and compelling stages of designing, implementing, and evaluating systematic school improvement are offered. The focus on methodology regardless of educational priority is refreshing and will provide teams with a powerful route map. Building to Impact is not to be missed."

Dame Alison Peacock, DL, DLit
The Chartered College of Teaching, England

"Did your educational improvement project run into the sand? Here’s why, and how to succeed next time. This book provides bottled wisdom you can’t afford to ignore. I so wish I'd had this impressive book 30 years ago."

Geoff Petty
Author and Education Consultant, UK

"It would be tempting to dumb down the complexity of implementation. Through clear concepts, superb diagrams, and multiple tools, these authors avoid oversimplification and show how to achieve results through a systematic and thorough approach."

Viviane Robinson, PhD, ONZM
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

"The authors present a rigorous approach that I believe represents the state-of-the-art in school improvement...Right now, I know of no better guide to this process than the book you have in your hands."

Dylan Wiliam
UCL Institute of Education

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1. D1: Discover

Chapter 2. D2: Design

Arran Hamilton

Dr. Arran Hamilton is Group Director of Education at Cognition Education. Previously he has held senior positions at Cambridge University Press & Assessment, Education Development Trust, the British Council, Nord Anglia Education, and a research fellowship at Warwick University. His core focus is on translating evidence into impact at scale, and he has overseen the design, delivery, and evaluation of education programs across the Pacific Islands, East Asia, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Arran’s recent publications include The Gold Papers and The Lean Education Manifesto. More About Author

Douglas B. Reeves

Dr. Douglas Reeves is the author of more than 40 books and more than 100 articles on leadership and education. He has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series and was named the Brock International Laureate for his contributions to education. His career of work in professional learning led to the Contribution to the Field Award from the US National Staff Development Council, now Learning Forward. He was also named the William Walker Scholar by the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. His recent books include Deep Change Leadership, Achieving Equity and Excellence, From Leading to Succeeding,... More About Author

Janet M. Clinton

Dr. Janet Clinton is the Deputy Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), Director of the Teacher and Teaching Effectiveness Research Hub, and Professor in Evaluation, at MGSE. She has wide international experience as an evaluator and educator and has an extensive publication record. She has led over 120 international evaluation projects across multiple disciplines, in particular education and health. Her major interest in program evaluation is the development of evaluation theory, mixed methodologies, and data analytics. Janet’s current evaluation work focuses on development of evaluation frameworks and implementation... More About Author

John Allan Hattie

John Hattie, Ph.D., is an award-winning education researcher and best-selling author with nearly 30 years of  experience examining what works best in student learning and achievement. His research, better known as Visible Learning, is a culmination of nearly 30 years synthesizing more than 1,700 meta-analyses comprising more than 100,000 studies involving over 300 million students around the world. He has presented and keynoted in over 350 international conferences and has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to education. His notable publications include Visible Learning, Visible Learning for Teachers, Visible... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071880753

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