Conditions for early learning success

Thank you for taking the conditions for early learning success self-assessment! This tool is designed for school districts to reflect on their readiness to create or improve an early learning transformation effort. The self-assessment will evaluate the vision, strategies, infrastructure, systems, and relationships necessary to improve 3rd grade reading performance at the district level.

Note that while the self-assessment is designed to be taken by school districts, other key stakeholders (funders, collective impact organizations, and policymakers) can use this self-assessment rubric to better understand the conditions for success necessary to drive an early learning transformation and to help identify how they can provide support to school systems.

What this tool is…
  • A framework and reference guide outlining the key conditions that facilitate early learning success
  • An opportunity to honestly reflect on your district’s current conditions for success to identify helpful next steps
  • A self-diagnostic to identify strengths and areas for improvement as your district considers an early learning transformation
  • A vehicle to spark ideas for how you can start or accelerate an early learning initiative
  • A tool to drive conversation between stakeholders to collaboratively identify areas of need and help illuminate how policymakers, funders, collective impact organizations, and others can support school districts in launching or accelerating an early learning transformation

What this tool is not…
  • An exhaustive means for judging the quality of an early learning transformation effort
  • A quantitative tool for benchmarking your district’s outcomes against others

Each rubric row corresponds to an indicator on the conditions for early learning success framework (on the preceding page). Guiding questions are included for each indicator to help you consider relevant information and make an appropriate rating.

Complete the self-assessment with leaders of your district’s early learning efforts as well as select team members involved in key early learning initiatives who can provide honest insight about the work. We estimate that reviewing this assessment, seeking out concrete evidence (where applicable) to inform your rating, and submitting your ratings along with your team should take no longer than 1-3 hours. We encourage you to engage in discussion with your teams as you go through the rubric to align on your ratings. 

Next steps:
  1. Identify team members to participate in the review process
  2. Meet with these team members and review the rubric
  3. Where feasible, identify and review concrete pieces of evidence relevant to a particular condition for success to inform your rating; while evidence is not required, it can help to accurately self-assess your early learning efforts
  4. Based on this review of evidence, choose the rating level description that fits best for your district’s early learning efforts and mark it on the notes sheet on the last page of this document
  5. Once self-ratings have been finalized, complete the online survey to submit self-ratings and feedback via the link emailed to you
Remember, this self-assessment is a chance to reflect and better inform next steps for an early learning transformation effort, and not a permanent evaluation. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact

Briefly review the abbreviated glossary of terms and example pieces of evidence. Then, start the self-assessment!

Glossary of terms

Achievement gap: A meaningful and persistent difference in student outcomes between subgroups (e.g., students of color and white students)

Continuous improvement: An intentional and ongoing process of planning, operating, tracking, analyzing, and evaluating key initiatives on a continuous basis to inform strategic decisions, driven by a strategic plan

Early learning continuum: Prenatal through 3rd grade

High-quality classrooms: Classrooms where student-teacher interactions strongly facilitate learning based on research-validated measures

Key initiative: Specific actions to achieve strategic priorities

Problems of practice: Dips in performance or negative trends to investigate and correct as part of the continuous improvement process

Progress monitoring: Consistently reviewing data to track performance in relationship to a goal over time

Strategic priorities: Focus areas to achieve a vision; lays out the steps to be taken to achieve the vision

Vision: Aspirational goals; where your organization wants to be 5-10 years from now

Whole child: Supporting all categories of a child’s needs (basic, physical/mental health, academic, social-emotional)

Note: evidence is not required to complete the self-assessment, but the process of searching for and reviewing relevant artifacts of early learning work can help you determine your rating. For instance, easily identifying meetings dedicated to reviewing goal progress might be indicative of consistent progress monitoring, while difficulty locating a strategic plan might indicate that it is not consistently used.

11% Complete