Saturday / June 22

Achieve CLARITY Using the 14 Parameters

This graphic, displayed throughout the book, depicts the 14 Parameters. The graphic is a visual representation of how the parameters–when all applied together–can exponentially increase the achievement of all students. You will see examples of this in the many case studies and vignettes in this book. The parameters are discussed and defined, not in order, but when a “big idea” is related to a particular parameter. The dial in the middle of the circle points to a specific parameter as it is being discussed. Encompassing the parameters is the wrap-around concept of establishing a culture of learning at every level of a system: classroom, school, district, state. I call that culture of learning the Third Teacher.

In my work with system and school leaders developing high-impact improvement approaches, the 14 parameters have consistently proven to work – across contexts – in countries, states, districts, and schools, each with differing variables. The 14 Parameters unwrap the core tenets of successful School Improvement Processes. My research with Michael Fullan (2009, 2012) established that when these 14 Parameters are present at high levels, in systems and schools where leaders are focused on them, there were increased levels of student growth and achievement.  

Although the 14 Parameters may seem complicated, systems and schools begin simply as follows: 

  • Using their data to consider their areas of immediate need 
  • Selecting two or three of the Parameters as immediate goals to be actioned, in addition to Parameters 1, 6, and 14, which are always the nonnegotiables 
  • Developing an action plan with benchmarks and timelines to progress the work of implementing the selected Parameters in addition to the three nonnegotiable parameters

We can demonstrate that student achievement has increased under this collective professional enterprise more than it has in systems we have examined in which schools have worked individually to “choose their own adventure” (Sharratt & Fullan, 2009, 2012). The 14 parameters represent a “system-ness approach” to improvement. System-ness demands that everyone is responsible and accountable (Parameter #14). Using data to select areas of immediate need enables professionals in educational systems to collaboratively focus their work to further develop their collective capacity. Once these areas of need are transparent, teams select the parameters that are likely to be the most impactful in addressing student need. With success in the two or three selected first, teams can move toward their next collaboratively selective priority, and then the next, until they are self-assessing as “high” against all 14 Parameters.  

Written by

Dr. Lyn Sharratt is a highly accomplished practitioner, researcher, author, and presenter. She graduated with a B.A. in social work from the University of Waterloo, a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario, an M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and a doctorate from the University of Toronto. Lyn coordinates the doctoral internship program in the Leadership, Higher and Adult Education department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She has worked in four school districts across Ontario as a school superintendent, superintendent of curriculum and instruction, administrator, curriculum leader, and K–10 and Special Education teacher. Lyn has taught all elementary grades and secondary-aged students in inner-city and rural settings. She has analyzed and commented on public policy for a provincial trustee organization, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association; has taught preservice education at York University and master’s and doctoral students at University of Toronto and Nipissing University; and has led inservice professional development in a provincial teachers’ union head office. Lyn is a widely published researcher and author. Her books with Corwin include: CLARITY: What Matters MOST in Learning, Teaching, and Leading, Leading Collaborative Learning: Empowering Excellence, Good to Great to Innovate: Recalculating the Route to Career Readiness, K-12+and many more

Visit her at; Twitter @LynSharratt; and on LinkedIn where Lyn owns the “Educational Leadership” LinkedIn group made up of 69,000+ members. Search for Lyn’s “Good to Great to Innovate” video on There you will see her speaking in Ontario about the leadership it takes to achieve system and school improvement. 


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