Here are four quick rules, in terms of making rapid gains in campus academic performance.

1. Poor instruction is better than no instruction. Filling instructional dead times (start of class, end of class, transitions) with even low grade instruction (worksheets, flashcards, etc.) will make a noticeable impact.

2. Poor aligned instruction is better than excellent non-aligned instruction. I’ll use a sports analogy to explain this. If the goal is to win a football game, then bringing in an expert tennis coach to teach the team how to serve is a waste of time. It does not matter how engaging the tennis instruction is or how important the tennis coach thinks her information is for the team to know.

3. If there are no short-term, common assessments, then there is no scope and sequence. Without regular checks, classes will move at dramatically different paces and cover dramatically different concepts.

4. To deal with the above issues in rapid fashion, use external coaches. The above areas represent staff blind spots. Your external coach will not only be able to identify them faster than you can, there will be fewer hurt feelings when the outside person points out deficiencies than if the news came from an inside person.

A campus needs to address these four areas first, before tackling anything more complex. For those readers who might think that this is rather pedestrian and not ambitious enough, try it first. All the great campuses had to deal with these issues before they could move on to second tier concerns.

Your turn…