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“Imagine that you are at a park where a group of teenagers is playing basketball. You’re not close enough to hear them, but you can see them. Can you tell, just by watching, if they are keeping score? You can, and the indicators are obvious. First, you’ll see a level of intensity in their play that you wouldn’t see if they weren’t keeping score. You’ll also see teamwork, better shot selection, aggressive defense, and celebration each time they make a basket. These are the behaviors of a fully engaged team, and they only play at this level when the game matters—in other words, when it matters enough that they are keeping score.”         (McChesney, Covey, Huling  The 4 Disciplines of Execution)


No data.

No spreadsheets.

No graphs or charts. Keeping score.

In education, we need to figure out how to keep a scoreboard that involves all the teammates in their pursuit of the win.

Let me be perfectly clear here on “the win”. The win I’m talking about it is the all-out learning success of our students.

In part II of this series, I shared the difference between the focus on lag measures and lead measures. We need to be collecting and posting progress on our lead measures.

That’s tough when we’re so accustomed to displaying graphs and charts with numbers and percentages in cool looking colors.

Could we change our thinking a little and start to measure progress on our practice to grow readers and writers? What would happen if we began to display growth in the fidelity of our instructional moves?

In 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey and Huling:

People play differently when they are keeping score. Now, we need to shift the emphasis to be even clearer: People play differently when they are keeping score. This creates a very different feeling than when you keep score for them. When team members themselves are keeping score, they truly understand the connection between their performance and reaching their goal, and this changes the level at which they play.

What might that look like?

This year our K-2 teachers joined together to impact patterns we’d seen emerge over the last few years. We realized our students were struggling to transfer proficient reader skills they were learning to their own independent practice. As a PLC, we determined that in our early grades read-alouds needed to increase in number and in quality of instruction. The goal we set was to intentionally plan rich instruction through the use of high quality books read aloud to students in grades K-2.

So, was a chart with BOY, MOY, EOY DIBELS and TRC goals going to engage the players?


That’s an emphasis on lag measures.

How about a scoreboard that shows progress on lead measures? If a teacher made a commitment to increase the number and quality of read-alouds to model proficient reader strategies so that students would transfer that learning to their own independent reading, wouldn’t that be something worthy of keeping score?


“When everyone on the team can see the score, the level of play rises, not only because they can see what’s working and what adjustments are needed, but also because they now want to win.” (McChesney, Covey and Huling, 2014)

Let’s do it, you guys.

Let’s change the focus from collecting data (at the end when one can no longer have an impact) to keeping score in real time so we have power to make adjustments and improve on our practice.