The Efficacy Institute, Inc.

The Efficacy Institute, founded by Dr. Jeff Howard, is a training and consulting firm dedicated to the belief that intelligence is a developmental process, not something that is fixed at birth or by socioeconomic or cultural factors. As Efficacy trainers tell adults and children: "Smart is not something you are. Smart is something you get."

One of the largest and most effective educational reform organizations in the country, the Efficacy Institute provides training and application methods to adults in school systems and community organizations throughout the United States. The training is designed to enable educators, parents and community leaders to recognize that all children have the ability to learn at the highest levels and to give them the tools that will help all those children reach high levels of achievement. The training focuses on the root causes of the poor academic performance of so many American children, especially children in urban settings.

The Efficacy Institute has become a radical and hopeful voice in the national dialogue over school reform, compiling a record of results that prove all children can significantly improve their levels of achievement. There is a growing body of research which supports the belief that all children, including those who have previously been labeled as "slow," can develop higher-order skills if the adults who teach those children expose them to a rigorous curriculum and provide a commensurate level of support. Efficacy provides the tools to implement higher standards and create an environment which sets high expectations for achievement, fosters high levels of confidence and shapes effective effort.

Our Approach

It isn't enough to believe that all children can learn. In fact, nearly all children can learn whatever they need in order to become highly developed adults. Adults need to take responsibility for showing young people why they should become committed to their own development, for teaching them how to do it, and then for managing the process. Efficacy provides a model to teach children how to develop themselves, and a framework to teach educators and other adults how to create and maintain environments that support the development of children. The tools provided in our approach are designed to builds skills and to enable each child and adult to:

The ideas and applications that coalesced into what has become a distinct and formal approach to the social construction of intelligence and capability known as Efficacy, began nearly 20 years ago when Jeff Howard was a doctoral student at Harvard. Over those years, the Efficacy seminar has evolved as the primary way of transmitting knowledge of the principles and practices of the process of development directly to adults and students in school, corporate and community settings.

Efficacy may be introduced to school systems and community agencies through presentations and/or an Executive Seminar for key policy-makers. The Efficacy Seminar for educators and the Community Services Efficacy Seminar for community agencies are the formats for learning Efficacy concepts and principles. Direct implementation of the Efficacy approach and on going follow-up support is delivered in the form of specific services, including Applied Efficacy, Curriculum Instruction and Consultations, in the effort to transform school and community outcomes.

Jeff HowardJeff Howard, President of the Efficacy Institute in Lexington, MA, discusses his belief that all children can excel in school but that educators often do not make students feel that they have the capability to learn difficult information. [Audio file, 297k] Excerpted from the videoseries Schools That Work: The Research Advantage, Videoconference #7, Preparing Students for Work in the 21st Century (NCREL, 1992). A text transcript is available.

In school and community settings, substantial evidence has emerged to confirm that Efficacy, applied by individuals within their lives, on their jobs, and in their classrooms, has consistently produced dramatic improvements in achievement and overall development. As a result, the Efficacy approach has been used successfully in over 60 urban school districts across the country and in numerous community agencies.

Diane JacksonDiane Jackson, the Efficacy Coordinator for the Detroit Public Schools, describes the efficacy model used for educating America's youth and training teachers. [QuickTime slide show, 702k] Excerpted from the video series Schools That Work: The Research Advantage, Videoconfernce #7, Preparing Students for Work in the 21st Century (NCREL, 1992). A text transcript is available.

Some commonly asked questions include:

What is the Efficacy Institute?

We are a not-for-profit organization working with educators and parents to establish a simple belief:

If high level student development is a function of one simple belief, how do you get adults to act on that belief?

We take educators and parents through seminars and workshops to prove that effort is the key to high achievement, not innate 'gifts and talents.' Beliefs change when teachers and parents experience the power of the Process of Development and see what is possible when they are truly convinced that smart is something you can get. We offer concrete, proven approaches which can be used to build confidence, increase effort and educate all at high standards.

What are the elements of the Efficacy Model?

Our Model symbolizes the Process of Development:
Confidence--> Effort--> Development
Building confidence in people inspires them to commit the necessary effort. That effort leads to real development. That development becomes the foundation for increased confidence in the next round. Think of this as a process where success increases confidence and effort leading to even more success, and so on.
Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and copyright information.