School Improvement in Maryland

Introduction to the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process (CFIP)

Classroom-Focused Improvement Process

Key Understandings for CFIP

Preparing for CFIP

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

Introducing the Process:

Conducting CFIP Resources:

CFIP Template (PDF, DOC) includes:

  • The specific protocol questions needed to conduct CFIP
  • Directions for how to complete the CFIP questions
  • Worksheet to help guide teamsí work as they conduct CFIP using the template

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 identify the:

Step 1: Relevant assessments and the terms used in the assessment reports

Step 2: Questions to answer in the data dialogue

Step 3: Major patterns of students' strengths and needs at the class level (if possible, by using more than one data source)

Step 4: Instructional factors that might have contributed to the patterns of student weaknesses and the steps that team members will take to address these patterns

Step 5: Students who excelled and those who still need assistance and the in-class enrichments and interventions that will be put in place for these students

Step 6: One or two improvements in future instruction that they will implement


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, 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