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S.T.A.R. Model

Selection Criteria Education STAR Model

S.T.A.R. Model - How to Structure Your Selection Criteria Response

A template for your leadership stories

When you are ready to start writing your selection criteria response, what should it look like?  S.T.A.R Model is a classic. This blog will cover how to know when to use it and what each section should include for your leadership stories.


You either use one of two structures:

  1. Your State’s model of change or
  2. S.T.A.R model


If your state has a model of change that is used to make change in schools, you should be using that to write your responses. For example, in Queensland Australia, the model of change is called "The Inquiry Cycle". If you work in EQ, here is the link to the Evidence Hub.


If you cannot find a set model of change in your school, either:

  1. Ask a Head of Department/Head Teacher what your school prefers.
  2. Get advice from the school's Executive Leadership team.
  3. Search on your state's education website.


If you cannot find a specific model or just want to get started, I would recommend the S.T.A.R. Model.

The benefits of the S.T.A.R. model are it is:

  • Simple. Four sections, easy to distinguish between them.
  • Time tested. It’s been around a while so you can find resources around the place. It is often given as a way of structuring a response for an interview. I would not use it explicitly in an interview. There are better ways to structure interview responses.
  • Easily modified. If you find out later that there is a model you could use for your educational ecosystem, then it you can easily adapt S.T.A.R. to that model. In most cases, you will be splitting one of the 4 sections into smaller sections.


Let us get into some more detail about S.T.A.R Model.

S.T.A.R. is an acronym for Situation, Tasks, Actions and Results.



  • What was the situation?
  • Why did you embark on this project/programme/story?
  • What was the 'hole' that needed fixing?
  • Which document/policy/priority is addressed or aligned to through this project/programme/story?
  • What data did you use to know this situation was an issue?



This section should include a few lines to summarise how decisions were made and then dot points of the key tasks.

  • What were the priority tasks you decided on?
  • Mention how you came to these priority tasks.
  • What were the 3-5 big strategies you put in place to address the 'hole'?


Now you start to step out how you went about putting those tasks in to action.

In the how, you can get specific about the actions. Cover what you did and how you did it.

  • Start every dot point with a Power Verb. Here is a blog about Power Verbs.
  • Put these actions in a sequential order of the how, even if you did not to do them in that order chronologically.
  • Here is where you show off your leadership capability
  • If there were any issues that you had to resolve, put them in here so that the panel can see how you resolved problems
  • Include any pivots that needed to be made due to unforeseen circumstances
  • What was the data you were collecting to ensure your solution was addressing the 'hole'?


  • What was the outcome?
  • Prioritise numerical data early on in your results section, then use qualitative data later.
  • How do you know you addressed the 'hole'?
  • Use graphics here to show the improvement. A visual representation really helps the wall of text you have just written. It also shows that you were cognisant of collection meaningful data along your leadership journey. You could use:
    • a table showing the data increasing. Colour using traffic light colours to show the improvement.
    • a graph to show the increase over time. Ensure the axis are clearly readable.
  • Include anything about longevity and sustainability here as well.
  • Is the program still running?
  • Has it grown bigger?
  • How was it modified to encompass more staff/students?


Like a copy of S.T.A.R. model

If you would like a PDF with these prompts in it for yourself, you can access the Resource Library for Aspiring Leaders here.