top of page

Pareto Principle - Using the 80/20 Rule to Set Targeted Goals For Second Nine Weeks

Author: Dawn Mitchell


Hi everyone,

It can be frustrating to create a thorough and detailed plan of instruction for the week that builds student understanding and application with multiple activities and opportunities for student learning only to find out midway through the week that it took twice as long as you had anticipated, you still didn’t finish everything, and students struggled through several items… leaving you feeling behind and overwhelmed.

One concept that I would like to introduce to you that has been impactful to me as I create and develop instructional plans and course work is the 80/20 Pareto Principle.  Basically the concept says that 20% of what we do leads to 80% of our outcomes.  This helps us to really focus on targeted goals that we are working towards instead of multiple tasks or activities.  See the link to a quick video that explains this concept.

My favorite quote from the video states:

“Time is our most precious resource.  We all have the same amount of time in our day.  Most of us don’t use that time efficiently. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. 

Most people think that working more hours will give you better results.  However, it is not about the time you put in; it’s about how well you spend that time.  If you haven’t applied the Pareto Principle you are most likely being busy.  If the principle is applied correctly, it will allow you to do more by doing less.”

I want to challenge you as we near the end of the first nine weeks and enter into the second part of the semester to really prioritize your goals on the ones that will have the most impact in your students’ success.  If classroom management is your biggest area to improve, then focus your energy and attention on planning to ensure that you are able to consistently reinforce your expectations and procedures.  This may mean doing less in a class period for the short term in order to ensure students are able to have the time, the support, and the feedback they need in order to make gains.  This focus will allow you to make targeted gains and grow towards your next goal.



Dawn Mitchell

South Carolina ASCD President



bottom of page