You’ve planned, prepared, and implemented a change initiative at your school. Your stakeholders are on board and they’re already seeing improvement among students. So how can you sustain this momentum? And where do you go from here?
Sustaining improvement at the school level requires continuously aligning and realigning learning to your overall vision. Perhaps that vision is to prepare students for a 21st century workforce, increase graduation rates, or establish a data-driven culture at your school. Whatever your vision, the key to creating sustainable change and continuous improvement is regular, ongoing evaluation of your progress and results.
As a school leader, you set the tone for school-based evaluation and make the primary decisions about which evaluation methods are best aligned to identifying gaps and tracking progress. This process also involves building the capacity in school personnel to assess their own performance and discuss this self-assessment with peers. Teachers don’t always know whether performance is improving. By practicing self-evaluation, they learn to identify the indicators of improvement, as well as the challenges they face. Participating in self-evaluation builds trust and makes possible a more collective approach to finding solutions to challenges.
Like self-evaluation, school-based evaluation measures depend on data. It’s helpful to use multiple measures when evaluating your school’s performance, such as:
A way of collecting information that represents the views of a whole community or group, whether it be written, face-to-face, or online. Surveys are especially useful for collecting information about attitudes and reactions, levels of satisfaction, and opinions.
A discussion or a series of discussions can be used to exchange ideas and opinions on a particular issue or topic.
Use these small-group discussions, guided by a trained leader, to gather data that is representative of specific stakeholder groups within the school. This may include students, parents, or specialized teacher groups such as counselors and coaches.
Watching situations or interactions can provide a lot of data. Information may be about the physical surroundings or about ongoing activities and processes, for example, “How many boys versus girls participate in class discussions?” or “How often do teachers conduct their class outside of their classroom?”
Maintaining accurate and thorough records of evaluations of student performance is useful when assessing the impact of changes and school-wide initiatives on students.
Review samples of work produced by students or instructors.
Reflection on Planning and Lesson Implementation
Guided reflection can be an evaluation of what is working and what needs improvement.
Implementing systemic change takes time. It is a journey, not an overnight sensation. To sustain and support your successful implementation, you need to remember to take time to celebrate the milestones and the short-term successes. This will give your team encouragement to continue in the right direction.
How do you go about sustaining school-wide improvement? Which evaluation measures do you find to be the most informative? Engage with your colleagues and join the conversation below.