Assessing whole school performance for continuous improvement

As your team relishes in the joys of being in the Performing stage, it’s important to remain committed to continuous improvement.

The best way to do so is to assess whole school performance, particularly to ensure that your school and team are emulating the characteristics of high-performing organizations and that students are learning well.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your state will provide assessment requirements with which your team must comply. However, your team can broaden its approach to assessment, as many teacher-powered schools do. For example, you could use The Hope Survey to measure students’ sense of engagement, autonomy, academic press, and belonging in order to adjust your school’s overall approach or individual students’ learning plans. You could also require students to defend their learning portfolios to ensure they can explain what they are learning.

In addition, you could use the Raised Responsibility Rubric developed by the teachers at TAGOS Leadership Academy in Janesville, Wisconsin, to assess students’ ability to take on increased responsibility and autonomy in various learning areas. This rubric gives teachers and students a means to track progress and learn in new, more self-directed ways.

Your team’s success will largely depend on its commitment to assessment and its ability to act on those findings. Engagement in this process will help your team determine how to remain in the Performing stage without unnecessary diversions back to the Storming stage. This process will also help you recognize when change is necessary (such as returning to the Storming stage).

Author tip

Revisit the Storming stage step designing assessment of student learning to improve your processes.

Revisit the Norming stage step creating and refining a process for assessing school performance to improve your processes.


Assessing whole school performance for continuous improvement

Assessment Tool For Observing Advisory/Classroom Culture

Rubric. This rubric developed by Phoenix High School teachers helps the teacher team to determine if their advisories (mixed-grade groupings of students who share a teacher-advisor) have the kind of culture they set-out to cultivate, and encourages implications for future practice.

Assessing What Really Matters in Schools: Creating Hope for the Future

Book. Ronald J. Newell and Mark J. Van Ryzin offer a fresh perspective on student learning, one that recommends serious efforts to measure success and offers a practical way to inform discussions about schools as learning environments.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) Analysis

Protocol. A SWOT analysis guides you to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses (S-W), as well as broader opportunities and threats (O-T). This resource from Community Tool Box helps teams develop a fuller awareness of their situation, which helps both strategic planning and decision-making.

Defining Success: Discussion Starters for Creating a Teacher-Powered School

Discussion Starters. Teams starting or improving a teacher-powered school should use this resource to explore how to measure success and then readjust for greater success.

Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots, Chapter 9

Book. Chapter 9 describes how teacher-powered schools broaden the definition and scope of achievement and assessment. Teacher-powered schools can also use the survey in Appendix C to measure the extent to which they are emulating the cultural characteristics of high-performing organizations.

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