Research Findings and Implications (January, 2018)

HOW a school implements the IPI Process influences the overall impact of the Process!

With more than 20 years of quantitative and qualitative analyses ranging from hierarchical linear models to surveys and anecdotal observations over time, it is evident that the manner with which a school approaches the implementation of the IPI Process directly influences the outcomes that accrue for student cognitive engagement, student achievement, and school culture.  The longitudinal studies by Collins and Valentine were the most empirically detailed of the analyses while years of conversations and reflective discussions with leaders and teachers implementing the IPI affirm that a set of “best implementation” practices exist when a school attempts to improve instructional practices using a teacher-led internal process of data collection, analyses, and goal setting.   The purpose of this brief research summary is to succinctly identify the best-practices strategies for IPI implementation.  

Given that research studies have repeatedly confirmed that significant relationships exist between the degree to which students are engaged in higher-order/deeper (HO/D) forms of thinking and student academic success and that studies have also documented that the IPI Process is an in instructional improvement process that can foster increased HO/D thinking, it is critical that schools wishing to implement the IPI consider the “way” in which they implement.  The purpose of this brief research summary is to succinctly identify the best strategies for IPI implementation.     

Research Finding:

Significant relationships exist between the manner with which a school implements the IPI Process and the outcomes of increased HO/D thinking, student disengagement, and student academic success.   

From the beginning of the IPI Process, the developers recommended that the IPI be a teacher-led process, with teacher-leaders being the data collectors, those same teacher leaders organizing the data for faculty study, and those same teacher-leaders leading the faculty in faculty-wide and small-group collaborative study of the data profiles.  From those analyses, goals for student cognitive engagement could be established and faculty could engage in professional development supporting the accomplishment of those goals.  Most educators who attended and completed IPI Workshops that certified them to lead the IPI work in their schools did their best to implement the IPI according to the recommended best other words to implement the IPI Process with “integrity” to its design.  Yes some chose to shortcut the recommended practices while others chose to change/modify those because they thought the modifications would expedite change and/or better fit their school setting.  We know that “once-size” seldom fits all schools, but we also know that some basic tenants for change apply to almost all settings.  By researching schools that implemented the IPI Process, we have been able to determine those practices to use and those to avoid.  In essence, schools that did not adhere to the basic tenants of recommended implementation practices provided fertile grounds to study the pros and cons of varied implementation strategies.  Those recommended below represent an abbreviated list of what we have learned over our twenty-plus years of IPI work.  For a more detailed read of best IPI implementation practices, see IPI Research Summary B: Strategies for Effective Implementation of the IPI Process.   A copy of that paper is located in the “IPI Research Summaries” section of this website.    


Implementation Recommendations:

Teacher-Leaders Lead the Process

Leadership for the IPI should come from within the ranks of teacher-leaders.  Teachers who are highly competent and respected by their peers should form the school’s IPI team.  Those teachers will collect the IPI data, organized the data for faculty study and lead the faculty in the study of the data.

Administrators Support but don’t Lead the Process

Successful implementation needs the support of school and districts administrators.  They need to understand the process in-depth but they also need to allow the teacher leaders to lead the process.  If administrators are too closely involved with the IPI Process, the faculty will have difficulty relaxing during data collection days and “doing what they would normally do.”  Instead IPI data collection days become “showcase” days when faculty Jazz-Up the lessons, increasing higher-order instruction thus inflating the engagement data, making it difficult for faculty to understand what engagement really looks like on a daily basis.  So the key for administration is knowledge and support, not overt formal leadership.  The IPI needs to be a “teacher-owned” process so change comes from reflective study, not from mandates.

IPI Team Collects Data Quarterly

Our analyses of optimum impact of the IPI Process indicate that four data collections each school year are best.  One data collection rarely builds a common vocabulary and understanding of the process and how to improve cognitive engagement. Two data collections build vocabulary and understanding but produce minimal changes in engagement.  Three data collections increase engagement significantly and four data collections do so even more than three.  But more than four do not seem to create additional positive impact...thus four data collections with faculty study of the data after each is optimum.

Certified Data Collectors are Essential

Successful completion of the basic IPI Level I Workshop is the beginning threshold for a teacher-leader to complete before serving as a member of the school’s IPI Team.  The workshop is designed to produce data collectors who are valid (accurate), reliable (consistently accurate with themselves), and inter-rater reliable (consistently accurate with other data collectors).  A passing score on the IPI Data Collector Assessment administered at the end of each IPI Level I Workshop is the endorsement necessary to be an IPI Data Collector.  

IPI Team Leads the Faculty Study of the Data

The IPI team plans the faculty study session that follows each data collection.  They lead the faculty in reflection about the authenticity of the data collection, analyses of the data profiles, and professional learning related to the school’s cognitive engagement goals.  Some sessions are whole-faculty, some are by grade level (elementary schools) and some are by content areas (middle schools and high schools). 

IPI Team Leads the Faculty in Annual Goal Setting  

Each year the school faculty should provide input into the development of a goal statement for the upcoming year.  Typically the goal statements are related to increasing higher-order/deeper thinking, reducing student disengagement during class time, and/or reducing the IPI ratio of lower-order/surface (LO/S) thinking time compared to higher-order/deeper (HO/D) thinking time.  In the IPI Process, that is referred to as the LO/S to HO/D ratio and is an important number as a school works to create more of a balance of HO/D thinking time and LO/S.  



Fredericks, J., McCloskey, W., Meli, J., Mordica, J., Montrosse, B., and Mooney, K. (2011). Measuring Student Engagement in Upper Elementary through High School: A Description of 21 Instruments. (Issues and Answers Report, REL 2011-No. 098). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Retrieved from

Kachur, D., Stout, J., and Edwards, C. (2010). Classroom Walkthroughs to Improve Teaching and Learning, Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Conference Papers

Collins, J. and Valentine, J (2010).  Testing the Impact of Student Engagement on Standardized Achievement: An Empirical Study of the Influence of Classroom Engagement on Test Scores across School Type.  University Council of Educational Administration, Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA  October 30, 2010.

Valentine, J. (2009). The Instructional Practices Inventory: Using a Student Learning Assessment to Foster Organizational Learning.  National Staff Development Council, Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO, December 8, 2009.

Valentine, J. and Collins, J. (2009).  Analyzing the Relationships among the Instructional Practices Inventory, School Climate and Culture, and Organizational Leadership. American Educational Research Association, Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 14, 2009.

Collins, J. and Valentine, J. (2008).  A Study of Student Engagement and Achievement at the School and District Levels.  University Council for Educational Administration Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, November 1, 2008.

Valentine, J., Cockrell, D., Herndon, B., and Solomon, B. (2006). Project ASSIST: Comprehensive, Systemic Change Initiative Impacts School Culture, Climate, Leadership and Instruction.  American Educational Research Association, Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, April 9, 2006.

Conference Presentations

Valentine, J. (2010). Student Engagement Does Make a Difference in Student Achievement. National Middle School Association, Annual Convention. Baltimore, MD. November 4, 2010.

Valentine, J. (2010).Establishing a Faculty-wide Collaborative Study of Student Engagement, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. March 14, 2010.

Valentine, J. and Collins, J. (2009).Improving Instruction by Profiling Student Engaged Learning and Creating Collaborative Teacher Learning Conversations.  National Association of Secondary School Principals, Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, March 1, 2009.