Topic 4: Integrated and Compensatory


A key feature of Implementation Drivers is their integrated and compensatory nature.

  • Integration – means that the philosophy, goals, knowledge and skills related to the program or practice are consistently and thoughtfully expressed in each of the Implementation Drivers.
  • Compensatory – means that the skills and abilities not acquired or supported through one driver can be compensated for by the use of another driver.

Implementation Drivers Triangle; Left side (selection, training, coaching); right side (systems intervention, facilitative admin, data systems); Base (leadership); top (fidelity). Middle of triangle: Integrated and compensatory.


In too many human service programs, typical selection, training, supervision and fidelity assessment processes are not integrated. That is, selection processes may not tap into the skills and attributes needed for a particular position or practice, training and professional development opportunities may or may not be related to on the job expectations and actual skills needed to improve student outcomes. In addition, supervision may occur, but not coaching. Likewise, supervision is more likely to be focused on timeliness of reports, general work ethic and general professionalism than on adherence to effective practices.

While fidelity assessment protocols often address a generic set of work requirements such as punctuality, ability to get along, lesson planning, attention to curriculum, etc., such processes often do not include direct measures or indicators of teachers’ adherence to best instructional or innovation practices. Have teachers been given enough support, training, coaching and time to gain the competence and confidence to use evidence-based programs and practices? We can’t answer this question unless we have measures of fidelity.

Overall, the staff development process may unintentionally be quite disintegrated.  Such disintegration makes it extraordinarily difficult to facilitate the development of a skillful workforce focused on mastering evidence-based and effective processes. Rather, each person hired brings what they can to the educational environment and is offered modest support.

Even when the use of the Implementation Drivers starts out as highly integrated, it can get “off track” and become disintegrated quite easily. That is, if the Drivers become silos, then practitioners will not benefit. For example, one time professional development events place an undue burden on teachers and staff to make changes in their classrooms and schools in the absence of coaching, student data systems, and fidelity feedback. Administrators and leadership teams need to ensure that each Implementation Driver is playing a role in supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices and programs that can improve student outcomes. When used in an integrated and compensatory manner with an eye toward active implementation, the Implementation Drivers can ensure that educators become increasingly competent and confident, have a supportive administrative environment, access to functional data systems, and the support of transformative leadership.

Key Functions

Benefits of Integrated Drivers Benefits of Compensatory Drivers
  • Increased communication
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved fidelity and outcomes
  • Builds on strengths
  • Considers the source of expertise
  • Increases efficiency and effectiveness


Activity 2.4a
Mapping Feedback and Feed Forward Pathways

Integration of Implementation Drivers, including creating information/communication pathways, is a key facet of doing Active Implementation.  Using the Implementation Drivers diagram map your current, then improved information/communication pathways between Drivers. Then name three ways to get there.

Download PDF

Activity 2.4b
Locus of Responsibility

To what degree do you have control and responsibility over Implementation Driver resources, personnel, or processes?  The purpose of this activity is to help you quickly assess locus of responsibility in your system, then develop action plans to improve the quality, access and integration of Implementation Drivers.

Download PDF