Elmbrook Schools LAUNCH turns to EchoSpan for students'
LAUNCH, a program designed to connect students' academic knowledge to
real-world business problems and projects, needed to provide students with
multi-rater feedback to assist with their professional development.
Educators believed 360-degree feedback aligned with the core values of the
LAUNCH program so they turned to EchoSpan for help.
LAUNCH enhances the traditional high school experience by offering a
non-traditional approach to building a culture that promotes tomorrow's
innovators and entrepreneurs today. Students work in teams on challenges
provided by both their instructors and business partners while earning high
school and/or college credit. Students fast forward into their futures and
become fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems,
using industry standard tools and resources while being mentored by educators
and actual employers.
Elmbrook Schools established LAUNCH to provide students with a combined focus
on academic, career, and professional skills that will help prepare them for
life. The program is structured in a way that allows targeted interaction
between students, teachers, business mentors and organizations within the
2017 marked the first year of LAUNCH and included business partners such as
ESPN, GE Healthcare, Harley Davidson, Johnson Controls, Milwaukee Tool,
Manpower, and Northwest Mutual. The program started with 73 juniors and seniors
from Brookfield Central and Brookfield East high schools.
The Challenge and Solution
Developmental feedback is a key component of any professional growth process,
but for high school students in LAUNCH, who are immersing themselves in a
business environment, it's even more vital. As instructors began planning the
LAUNCH program, they met with a number of different business professionals,
learned more about 360-degree feedback, and realized the value it could have in
their own program. LAUNCH instructors needed a customizable 360-degree feedback
tool where they could review students multiple times to measure the students'
growth during the program and a tool that could help measure returns to their
EchoSpan was selected as the 360-degree feedback tool to use because it
allowed LAUNCH instructors to customize the competencies they believed best fit
the learning objectives of their program. An added benefit was that due to the
intuitive design of the EchoSpan tool, it did not require any training for
participants, which saved administrators and end-users time. EchoSpan also
provided instructors a way to confidentially, efficiently and effectively gather
feedback data. Finally, the tool consolidated feedback data into customizable
final reports that were easy to read and comprehend for users.
Implementing and Utilizing the Tool
First, LAUNCH instructors analyzed the competencies and items from the
EchoSpan library that best fit the professional learning objectives of the
program. Their goal was to identify a manageable number of observable indicators
that would give them and the students a basis for evaluating students' progress
in skills and competencies related to success in the workplace. Instructors then
met again to make adjustments to the competencies based on their initial
experience and combined competencies from the EchoSpan library with their own
In advance of the program kickoff, instructors introduced the specific
competencies much the same as they would typically address learning standards as
articulated in rubrics of grading scales. They defined terms, looked at
examples, and discussed meanings. Students received feedback mid-way through the
program so they could set a baseline. Students said, "The review wasn't too
long, but thorough enough to get the message and feedback to our group members."
Then, business coaches were asked to evaluate the students they worked with at
the end of the program. Review response rates were as high as 90%, which
indicated the review process was intuitive and well organized by administrators.
As they prepare for the second year of LAUNCH, instructors will meet to
modify the competencies again based upon students' and business coaches'
feedback, the instructors' own observations, and other criteria.
Applying the Results
EchoSpan was a key tool for the LAUNCH program to provide specific and
individualized feedback to students about their emerging strengths and the areas
in which they could improve on their skills for future success. The feedback
process was a way for students to learn about how peers and professionals
perceived them as communicators, team members, and professionals. Students used
the EchoSpan tool to learn how to improve their interactions with others, take
on tasks that utilized their strengths, and reflect on their growth during the
LAUNCH experience. Once students received their final reports, instructors had
conversations with them about their results and had them set goals based on
At the end of the first year, LAUNCH students were asked about the tool and
its impact on their learning. The results showed that students valued the tool
because it gave them specific and individualized information about what they
needed to do improve. Students told their instructors, "It is more comprehensive
and descriptive than anything else I have taken" and "The tool does an excellent
job on showing areas you need work in." Students also found 360- degree feedback
to be an evaluation process that they preferred in relation to how they are
typically accustomed to receiving feedback: "It was a good system and way better
than traditional grading practices," and "It is definitely the most personalized
and most specific online feedback system."
LAUNCH instructors, business partners, and students agreed that the EchoSpan
tool was a truly significant value to the program, with potential to be even
more valuable as the program moves forward and refines its use of the tool.
EchoSpan puts HR and business leaders in control of their employee
performance management and leadership development programs with a suite of
360-degree feedback review tools. With EchoSpan's Web-based system, every aspect
of a feedback process can be easily configured for a customer's needs, including
review content, rating scales, workflows and report appearance. Founded in 2002,
EchoSpan is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and is trusted by over 4,000
clients on 6 continents. You can learn more about EchoSpan and their software at