Client Stories

Evaluation of ElevatEd: a K-12 Strategic Planning Platform

Time Frame:

Fall 2015


  • Heuristics Evaluation
  • Interviews
  • Prototype analysis
  • Sociotechnical walkthrough
  • Task-based usability test
MU Hook Center

Evaluate the usability of ElevatEd, and more specifically, study:

  • whether the users were able to use the tool;
  • whether it is usable for creating and conducting strategic actions more efficiently; and l whether the users were satisfied.
ElevatEd is a web-based knowledge management system designed for school administrators and teachers. It was designed and created by MU Hook Center intended for K–12 schools with the main goal to improve workflow related to strategic planning in schools, e.g., creating and executing data driven strategic improvement plans.

The IE Lab started with user evaluation of the ElevatEd system in Fall 2015. The main goal of the study conducted by the IE Lab focused on evaluating the usability of ElevatEd. The IE Lab studied whether the users were able to use the tool, in particular, whether it is usable for creating and conducting strategic actions more efficiently, and whether the users were satisfied (ISO Norm 1998/2015; Sheehan, & Lucero, 2015). These goals guided the overall usability study. Through the evaluation of the web-based application, IE Lab was able to recommend improvements.

The final recommendations were concluded based on the data collected from both participants and IE Lab experts and the data analyzed. Some key recommendations were:

  • Keep the system as simple as possible; it shouldn’t require too many clicks.
  • It should be accessible with tablets and laptops without major alteration to page structure.
  • The system should be able to sync the existing school calendar to the new app and/or to Google/Outlook Calendar.
  • Terminology and labeling needs some revision.
  • The system should consider integrating a student-centered view that focuses on progressing individual students. In addition, the system should consider enabling a user to visualize their roles within the system.

It would be better for teachers to see graphical display at a glance of the results once they have input the data into the system.

Herrmann, T. (2009). Systems Design with the Socio-Technical Walkthrough. In Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design. New York: Hershey, pp. 336-51.

Hook Center. (2018). About. Retrieved from Hook Center for Educational Leadership and District Renewal :

ISO 9241-11 (1998), Standard Usability Framework, International Standard Organization, revised 2015,

Sheehan, B. & Lucero, R. (2015). Initial Usability and Feasibility Evaluation of a Personal Health Record- Based Self-Management System for Older Adults. In eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes), Vol. 3, Issue 2, Article 3, 2015 DOI:,

Example of ElevatEd webpage

Example of ElevatEd webpage