A Validation of the Four Key Foundations

I’d like to celebrate the exceptional work recently completed by one of our fellow dedicated educators, Nicholas Richter. We’ll start with a bit of background though. Previously I introduced the “Four Key Foundations Assessment“, a survey delineated in my book, Strong Schools, Strong Leaders. The instrument was developed to assess evidence of four bedrock practices of successful schools, which include:

  1. Foundation #1: Listening to People and the Environment
  2. Foundations #2: Building Agreements
  3. Foundations #3: Co-Creating Purpose
  4. Foundations #4: Fostering Effective Teams

Although the foundations stemmed from an extensive survey of the literature, as well as my research on PLCs and the teams within those communities, I was never quite sure if evidence of the foundations actually had a positive impact on student achievement. Well, I’m excited to announce: There is now empirical data that confirms that they do!

Nicholas (soon to be Dr. Richter) just wrapped up Chapter 5 of his dissertation which had two overarching objectives: (a) To determine whether or not the “Four Key Foundations Assessment” is a valid, reliable tool; and (b) To find out if there is a correlation between the Four Key Foundations and student achievement in schools across California.

All in all, Nicholas concluded (based on an analysis of the data) that there is in fact a statistically significant difference on the Four Key Foundations between high achieving schools and low achieving schools. That’s such great news! In other words, use the framework and test scores increase. He also asserted that the tool is valid and reliable, in which he recommended that school leaders implement the “Four Key Foundations Assessment” at least twice a year to serve as a guidepost for success. For a copy of the “Four Key Foundations Assessment” click here.

I commend Nicholas for taking on this hefty project and wish him the best of luck on his upcoming Oral Defense. I’ll certainly be there.




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