Student Heat Map Tool

This protocol helps teams to identify groups of students to target for their next sprint

Additional materials:

  • Accessible student assessment data on the FOCUS learning area for the current round of sprints

Use this protocol to:

  • Begin the process of identifying which specific group of students to focus on during the next sprint
  • Map students according to their progress and likely achievement level in a particular learning outcome area
  • Make sense of existing student assessment data


  • Prep

    Ensure easy access to student assessment data in the learning outcome (this is often most readily available in the areas of literacy and numeracy).

    Replicate the 2-2 matrix (expected achievement – below expected achievement, adequate progress – inadequate progress) from the template onto a wall poster. The team needs to be familiar with their students and have access to assessment data in the area of focus.

  • Step 1

    Define achievement and progress (5 minutes)
    The team comes to an agreement about how to define ‘expected achievement’ and ‘adequate progress’ in this learning outcome area, based on the data available. (Note - In different schools or systems you will have different benchmarks of what expected achievement looks like in a particular subject area. In some there are clear grade/stage level benchmarks for expected achievement. In others, the team will need to make this professional judgment).

  • Step 2

    Map students on the matrix (10 mins)
    The team works to map the students against the 2x2 matrix according to each student’s progress (adequate to inadequate) and expected level of achievement (expected to below expected). This can be done with post-it notes of student names being placed on the matrix or in an electronic table format. Healthy debate is encouraged: even if team members agree, the team leader should encourage the team to justify their placements of outcomes on the matrix.

  • Step 3

    Analyse and discuss (10 mins)
    Look at each quadrant and identify clusters/groups of students. Consider the distribution of students and discuss:

    - What patterns do you notice? What surprises you?
    - Where are there particular concentrations of students? Where are there some outliers?
    - Which students/groups have been the focus of specific teaching interventions in the past?
    - Which groups of students could be a potential target for the next sprint?

  • Step 4

    Decide (5 mins)
    As a team decide on a group of students to be the target for the next sprint and justify why this specific group should be prioritised.