Why UChicago Impact

Typically, education research and education practice are disconnected—never fully influencing or inspiring the other. UChicago Impact changes that norm.

Our Mission

By coupling rigorous education research and fundamental education practices, UChicago Impact® works to empower educators to use research and actionable data to improve practices that promote positive student outcomes.

Our Vision

To see that all students have educators who support and develop them to realize their fullest potential and become contributing members of society.

Our Values

People are Our Greatest Asset

Respect, gratitude, and integrity guide our interactions with colleagues and partners. We embrace the diversity of our staff and partners as key to meeting our greatest potential. We support one another and encourage work-life balance in order to establish a positive, collaborative, and productive work environment.

Improvement is a Continuous Process

As a learning organization, we strive to be reflective, using data to help us improve and a sense of optimism and positivity to persevere. We believe success and failure have the potential to be great teachers and when thoughtfully reviewed, will help us continuously grow and improve.

Collaboration Helps Enhance Our Work

Working as a team, within Impact and across UEI, produces our most impactful work. We assume best intentions in all interactions and strive for constructive, clear communication. We embrace an empathetic, humble stance in order to foster trusting, supportive relationships.

Passion and Purpose Produce Results

We are passionately dedicated to improving educational outcomes for students. Our partners and other educators across the country share in this common purpose. In return, we support professional development and elevate practices through our ongoing efforts and interactions.

At UChicago Impact, we are committed to creating a work environment that is supportive, safe, and meets the diverse needs of our team members. Read our statement on fostering a supportive environment here.

Our Offerings

UChicago Impact is a not-for-profit organization within the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute that develops diagnostic tools and supports for school leaders and educators grounded in decades of rigorous, foundational education research on what matters most for school improvement and student success. We then partner with schools and school leaders to implement these systems of support designed to drive school improvement and student success.

Our systems of support are designed to help close the gap between common beliefs about what drives school improvement and student success and the knowledge and preparation that research shows matters most for achieving improved school and student outcomes. UChicago Impact has reached more than 5 million students, parents, and teachers across 36 states and 6,000 schools, including some of the highest performing school districts and networks nationwide.

Our Supports Include:

The Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP™) Literacy Assessment System:

In 1992, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed the majority of students nationwide did not meet proficiency levels in reading. More than 20 years later, progress in improving student outcomes in reading has been minimal. 2017 NAEP results show 78 percent of low-income fourth graders and 63 percent of all fourth graders are not proficient in reading.

Our formative assessment, data management, and professional development system, STEP™, was created in response to the need expressed by teachers and researchers for a comprehensive literacy assessment that would evaluate and provide student data on the critical milestones research has shown all students need to meet in order to be proficient in reading. STEP provides educators with clear goals students should meet at each grade level to be considered on-track to reading proficiency, and gives educators the ability to track each students’ progress throughout an academic year and tailor their instruction to students' individual needs.

Students using STEP have a greater likelihood of outperforming peers in third grade literacy state standards. Students who reach STEP 12 by the end of third grade have an 86 percent chance of meeting or exceeding state standards.

Learn more about how STEP™ supports educators in improving student achievement in literacy across grade levels.

The 5Essentials® System:

Typically, school improvement efforts prioritize the technical aspects of schooling such as grades and test scores, while neglecting the social components of a school's culture, such as trust and commitment. However, research shows sustainable school improvement requires investments in both the technical and social factors of a school's environment.

Our school improvement system, The 5Essentials® System, expands the conversation beyond just technical components of school improvement and digs beneath the surface of school culture and climate challenges. The system helps schools organize, prioritize, and evaluate what education research shows matters most in achieving sustainable school improvement. Research shows schools strong on at least three of the five essentials for school improvement were 10 times more likely to show substantial gains in student learning.

Through The 5Essentials System, over 5 million students, parents, and teachers have contributed to school improvement processes nationwide.

95% of nearly 900 leadership team members stated that their 5Essentials Survey results were useful for improving student outcomes

Learn more about how The 5Essentials System supports school leaders in creating sustainable school improvement.