School Improvement in Maryland

Introduction to the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process (CFIP)

Classroom-Focused Improvement Process

Key Understandings for CFIP

Toolkit for a Data-Driven Culture

Conducting CFIP

Schools and LEAs which receive Title I, Part A funds and are in the Comprehensive Needs or Developing Needs Pathways of Maryland's Differentiated Accountability Pilot must meet the statutory requirements of being so identified. § 1116; 34 CFR Part 200, and §§ 200.36-200.43

The Classroom-Focused Improvement Process (CFIP) is a six-step process for increasing student achievement that is planned and carried out by teachers meeting in grade level, content, or vertical teams as a part of their regular lesson planning cycle.

The flow of the model is intuitive and responds to the overall question, "What do we know from available data about current levels of student performance and how will we respond to these data?" The CFIP model has six steps, each one based on one or more focus questions to direct the team's inquiry. In these steps, team members:

Step 1 (The Orientation Step): Describe the assessments under consideration and define the terms used in the data reports.

Step 2 (The Question Step): Identify the questions to answer in the dialogue.

Step 3 (The Patterns Step): Identify the major patterns of students" strengths and needs at the class level.

Step 4 (The Action Step): Identify the instructional factors that might have contributed to the patterns of student weaknesses. Determine the steps to be taken to address the patterns of need and when and how re-assessment will occur.

Step 5 (The Differentiation Step): Name the students who excelled and those who still need additional assistance. Identify, implement, and evaluate in-class enrichments and interventions.

Step 6 (The Future Step): Identify, implement, and evaluate one or two improvements in future instruction.


Pre-conditions for the successful implementation of the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process include:

  • A cohesive and collaborative grade-level, departmental, or vertical team which shares common subject matter and common assessments, either developed by the state or school system (such as MSA, HSA, PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or benchmark assessments) or by the teachers of an individual school themselves
  • Common planning time for team members consisting, at a minimum, of one hour twice weekly, of which one hour every two weeks is devoted exclusively to the CFIP
  • A principal who is a strong instructional leader and who is comfortable with the concept of shared leadership
  • Norms to guide the team's process of collaborative data analysis
  • Autonomy for the team to adjust teaching practices and interventions based on data from assessments of their students' learning
  • Use of short-cycle, common, formative assessments by the team
  • On-going professional development to enhance the team's capacity to continually adjust their teaching practice in response to student performance data