Creating and refining a process for assessing school performance
How will your team know if its efforts are successful? Will you define your success by the school’s mean proficiency score, or some other way? How will you ensure your team is accountable for meeting the mission, vision, values, and goals it establishes?
In Trusting Teachers with School Success, Kim Farris-Berg, Edward J. Dirkswager, and Amy Junge suggest that one way teams can determine their success is to measure the extent to which they are emulating the cultural characteristics of high-performing organizations. Teams can use the survey in Appendix C of that book to determine whether individual members believe the team is emulating those characteristics, and then use those findings to guide improvement.
Teachers can also draw on their evaluations, test scores, measurements of student engagement, and other indicators of student, teacher, and team success. The key is to be open and committed to a process of inquiry, discussion, and improvement.
There are many ways to approach this work. Teams could have a committee dedicated to assessing whole school success that occasionally meets with individuals and the entire team. Teams could also delegate aspects of assessment to grade-level or subject-area teams that meet regularly about student and teacher assessments. Another option is to create a committee dedicated to measuring and analyzing your team’s overall performance, informed by the grade-level or subject area teams.
After your team determines how it will assess performance, and after you conduct your process, you will need to determine how to report your findings. Some teams only report what their states and school districts require. Others produce annual reports with that data, plus additional data and stories that are consistent with the team’s values to broaden the definition of achievement and assessment. Examples of each are in the resources below.