Register for Starting Strong 2021 and prepare to launch the EL Education curriculum.

Quality Work Protocol

EL Education is distinguished in the educational landscape by an explicit focus on high-quality student work as an essential part of student achievement. One reason that others avoid this topic is that it is messy. Quality cannot be easily defined and quantified. We believe, however, that when schools regularly engage in the difficult process of working together to define, recognize, and analyze quality work (and even quantify when possible), the results are positive and powerful. When a student is done with schooling, she is judged for the rest of her life not primarily by her ability to perform on tests, but by the quality of person she is and the quality of work she does. Developing an ethic of quality in students is vital.

Quality is best viewed not as an end-state, but as a discussion. A stellar symphony orchestra or sports team can only keep quality high by constantly analyzing and critiquing – discussing quality during rehearsals and practices and after performances. If the analysis and discussion stops, quality will deteriorate. 

Steve Seidel , Harvard Graduate School of Education

This document includes everything schools need to facilitate the quality work protocol combined into a single PDF file:

  • Facilitation Guide
  • Protocol for Participants
  • Attributes of High-Quality Student Work
  • Note Catcher
  • Summary Sheet
  • Dimensions of Student Achievement

Once or twice per year, schools are encouraged to conduct a Quality Work Protocol. The purposes of this 2.5 hour process are:

  • Engage in discussion to develop a shared vision of quality work characterized by complexity, craftsmanship and authenticity.
  • Identify patterns related to quality across student work to inform goal setting and action steps. Like an instructional learning walk, this protocol provides participants with the opportunity to view many examples quickly and search for patterns of strength and areas for growth based on common criteria. 
  • Create a “body of evidence” that a school can use to reflect on how student work has changed and improved over time.  This body of evidence is also what schools reference when applying to become a credentialed EL school. 

Resource Downloads

Please log in to access the downloadable resources.


Created By

EL Education

Resource Downloads

Please log in to access the downloadable resources.