Building to Impact
The 5D Implementation Playbook for Educators
- Arran Hamilton - Group Director, Education, Cognition
- Douglas B. Reeves - Creative Leadership Solutions
- Janet M. Clinton - University of Melbourne, Australia
- John Hattie - The University of Melbourne, Australia
Foreword by Dylan Wiliam
Administration & Leadership | Data-Driven Decision Making | Visible Learning
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.
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."