Outcomes Heat Map Tool

This protocol helps teams to consider the most important learning outcomes to improve

Use this protocol to:

  • Determine the most essential learning outcomes in a particular subject, topic or curriculum area
  • Identify outcomes that are hard to teach but important for students to learn
  • Prioritise focus outcomes for your next sprint


  • Prep

    Replicate the 2-2 matrix (less important to learn – essential to learn, easy to teach – hard to teach) from the template onto a sheet of chart paper. The team needs to be familiar with the outcomes in their curriculum content areas or grade levels. The team leader may wish to have curriculum, syllabus outlines, a scope and sequence or a specific learning continuum available for the team to refer to.

  • Step 1

    Identify (5 minutes)
    With reference to the specific Focus outcome area already determined for the next round of sprints, the sprint leader asks the team to list specific learning outcomes prompted by the following prompts:

    - The most important outcomes for students to grasp are...
    - The important outcomes that we teach, but many students do not learn are...
    - As a team we struggle with teaching our students to learn...

    Each specific learning outcomes should be written on separate post-it notes.

  • Step 2

    Sort (5 minutes)
    The team takes the post-its and begins to place them on the matrix according to their relative level of importance for students to learn (less important to essential) and level of difficulty to teach (easy to hard).

    Healthy debate is encouraged: even if team members agree, the sprint leader should encourage the team to justify their placements of outcomes on the matrix and discuss the ‘relative’ importance and difficulty. Consider the following:

    - What evidence do you have to support the placement of that specific outcome?
    - Given your classroom teaching experiences, do other people agree?
    - Has that been a trend over time or do you think it is cohort specific?

  • Step 3

    Focus in and prioritise (5 minutes)
    The team takes all of the post-its in the upper right ‘essential to learn/harder to teach’ and breaks down the topics into more specific learning outcomes. These can be listed on separate post-it notes. The team then prioritises which highly specific learning outcome/s they should prioritise for the next sprint.