Powerful Partnership in School Improvement Announced

NWEA and UChicago Impact partner to combine research-based tools and services to help schools and systems improve learning environments and student outcomes.

NWEA and UChicago Impact partner to combine research-based tools and services to help schools and systems improve learning environments and student outcomes.

Portland, Ore. and Chicago, Ill. – June 29, 2021 – NWEA and UChicago Impact – two not-for-profits providing research-based solutions and learning services in K-12 education – announced today a new partnership focused on driving systemic improvements in U.S. schools. This collaboration will pair NWEA assessment data, research, professional learning, and school improvement services with UChicago Impact’s research-based 5Essentials Framework, 5Essentials Survey, 5Essentials Reports, and 5Essentials Professional Learning to accelerate school improvement and student learning outcomes. By empowering school leaders as central agents of change, this partnership will focus on building capacity in instructional leadership, data-driven cycles of improvement, and creating supportive school environments.

“NWEA is making a purposeful pivot with student data still needed as a critical resource for insights but it alone cannot drive outcomes. Three tests a year doesn’t change a kid’s life. To ensure student learning is truly at the center of what we do, we must be more engaged at a systemic level including in the classroom alongside educators,” said Chris Minnich, CEO of NWEA. “UChicago Impact is a perfect partner to us. We’re both wired around quality research and data as a driver for the real work of schools in improving conditions and outcomes for kids.”

This partnership underscores NWEA’s evolution as a provider of quality student learning data to serving as a driver of improved student outcomes and impactful systemic educational change. The use of UChicago Impact’s 5Essentials is a key component and foundation of NWEA’s holistic improvement services.

“This partnership will enhance the reach of UChicago Impact and NWEA, building on each organization’s skills and expertise in data-driven school improvement,” noted Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dean of the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, the academic home of UChicago Impact, a unit of the University’s Urban Education Institute. “Combined efforts across NWEA and UChicago Impact will enable more schools to leverage the 5Essentials’ powerful research-based framework, survey, and data coupled with high-quality professional learning supports to improve organizational conditions and student outcomes,” said Elliot Ransom, Co-CEO of UChicago Impact. “We are excited to partner with NWEA, supporting the work of committed educators as they enhance the educational experiences and growth of all students,” added Dean Gorman-Smith.

The 5Essentials System is comprised of a research-based school improvement framework and survey developed by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, as well as reports and professional learning supports, that together define, measure, and draw attention to the most important organizational conditions, including aspects of a school’s culture and climate, to improve student outcomes. The 5Essentials provides schools insight across five key factors research has shown to be most critical for school improvement: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Supportive Environment, Involved Families, and Ambitious Instruction.

Starting this fall, NWEA and UChicago Impact will provide a select group of district partners with school improvement services designed to support and develop school leaders to be stewards of sustainable, meaningful, and equity-focused school improvement. These services will include administering the 5Essentials Survey and facilitating professional learning as the cornerstone of a holistic approach to improvement efforts that are backed by research and centered on the specific needs of each school and district.

Learn more about NWEA’s School Improvement services utilizing UChicago Impact’s 5Essentials at  https://www.nwea.org/school-improvement/.


About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our state solutions that combine growth and proficiency measurement. Visit NWEA.org to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, simona.beattie@nwea.org or 971.361.9526


About UChicago Impact

UChicago Impact is a not-for-profit within the Urban Education Institute in the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. UChicago Impact develops and distributes systems of support, including surveys, assessments, and professional learning, that are designed to foster improved school and student outcomes. Specifically, UChicago Impact offers support in improving literacy instruction through the STEP Literacy Assessment and Professional Learning, as well as school organizational conditions—including culture and climate and learning environments—through the 5Essentials and Cultivate Surveys and Professional Learning. UChicago Impact positions educators to use research and actionable data to inform and improve their practice in ways that promote positive student outcomes.

UChicago Impact has reached more than 10 million students, parents, and teachers across 36 states and over 6,000 schools, including some of the highest performing school districts and networks nationwide. Learn more at uchicagoimpact.org.

Contact: Hanna Frank, Associate Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy, 708.334.3205, hannaf@uchicago.edu