Key Questions

Phase l: We focused on defining “success” and identifying the factors that are critical for success in young adulthood, particularly in college and at the beginning of a career. Questions included:

1. What does a successful young adult look like?

2. What characteristics, attitudes, skills, and behaviors help people succeed in typical young adult settings?

3. What institutional, societal, and economic forces should we consider as we develop a framework for the critical factors needed to promote young adult success?

Phase II: Building on the critical factors identified in Phase l, we sought to understand how each factor developed over the course of early life, from the preschool years through young adulthood. We focused on the identification of leverage points for best supporting children’s holistic development, keeping in mind that child and youth development occurs in multiple settings. Questions included:

1. How do the critical factors identified in Phase I develop from early childhood through young adulthood?

2. What are the most salient areas of development during each stage of early life based on research and practice knowledge of “normative” development?

3. What do we know about the roles that youth’s environments and important others (including caregivers and other adults) play in supporting successful development during each stage of development?

Phase III: We aimed to consolidate current understanding of how critical factors of young adult success can be fostered in a holistic, coordinated way across schools, community organizations, and homes, from early childhood to young adulthood. We focused on a ground-level, practitioner perspective in considering how to best organize adult efforts to promote the development of children and youth. Our work during this phase focused on the following key questions:

1. What are the key setting components and experiences youth need to support the development of each factor in each stage of life?

2. What should adults consider as they are designing effective practice with developing youth?

3. How do intentional practices interact with youth experiences to lead to positive development and learning?


In the 2012–13 school year, Chicago Public Schools unveiled its new teacher evaluation system in all of its almost 600 schools. This study draws on 32 interviews from a random sample of teachers and two years of survey data from more than 12,000 teachers per year to measure their perceptions of the clarity, practicality, and cost of the new system. Relationships between these measures and teacher characteristics and indicators of leadership and school community are also explored. We find teachers are positive about the new system—especially the observation process. However, they have concerns about the inclusion of student growth in their evaluation. We find teacher perceptions about evaluation are positively correlated with their perceptions of leadership and professional community.

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in Educational Researcher, 44(2), 105-116 by SAGE Publications Ltd./SAGE Publications, Inc., All rights reserved. © 2015