Monday, 21 March 2016

Unpacking Effective School Evaluation

In 2015, the New Zealand Education Review Office collaborated with the Ministry of Education to produce the trial publication - Effective School Evaluation: How to do and use internal evaluation for improvement. It is a companion to the trial  School Evaluation Indicators and is supported by Internal Evaluation: Good Practice. Under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence, I am able to share my brief synopsis with you so you can ascertain at a glance, the content of this valuable resource. I have also included my latest board report template below. It reflects some of the content of these ERO documents. You are welcome to adapt this for your own use or contact me for more information.
The ERO indicators framework highlights six domains that are key influences in improving learner outcomes.
The resource aims to assist with the understanding and practice of effective evaluation and to inform the development of strategies that are successful in raising achievement. It shares the work of case study schools that successfully use inquiry processes and evaluative reasoning.
P 5 Summary of the resource and each of the five sections.
P 6 Context for the resource. It stresses the importance of teachers and leaders inquiring into practice, evaluating the impact and building knowledge about what works. The primary purpose of school evaluation is to achieve equity and excellence in outcomes for all learners.
P 7 Definition of equity with a focus on fairness and inclusion.
The ERO indicators framework is designed for ERO's evaluators but also for school's internal evaluation,
P 8 Further explanation of the framework including the six domains and the four concepts that can transform the learning environment within a cultural context.
P 9 Effective internal evaluation is driven by the motivation to improve to do better for students.
When internal evaluation is done well, processes are coherent and align with schools’ visions and strategic goals. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively across teams, syndicates, departments, faculties and in some cases communities of learning, to ensure that the efforts that go into evaluation lead to improvement. The urgency to improve is shared by all, and can be articulated by all. 
Strategic, business as usual and unforeseen (emergent) are the three types of internal evaluation
P 11-13 Explanations of the three types of evaluation and examples of them.
P 14 -19 Processes and reasoning - The 5 interconnected learner- focussed processes integral to effective evaluation for improvement. Each one is explained in a diagram with a series of questions and statements to support a robust reflection. They align with the spiral of inquiry outlined in my earlier post.
P 22-23 Rubric style statements for developing the organisational conditions, capability and collective capacity to do and use evaluation for improvement.
P 24 Improvement actions emerge out of the evaluation process as the school aims for equity and excellence. It is at this stage, the school decides if they have the internal capability to make the necessary changes or to seek external expertise for professional learning and growth. It's vital for leaders at this point to understand what it takes to bring about significant educational change.
P 25 - 27 Improvement actions lead to shifts in practice with the biggest shifts penetrating to the core of teaching practice. Examples of shifts in practice across the six domains.
P 29 - 38 Examples of a short term and longer term school improvement journey
P 39 How to use the school evaluation indicators to support continuous improvement.
P 40 Table 2 Example of how you can use the indictors in your own school.

How do I support our St Joseph's board to understand the domains and indicators ?
Here is a sample of my latest principal's report. It is a one page report that includes the six domains and a Catholic character domain for our school. Matters reported on are recorded in the best fit domain. I have this with me and read through it while I write the report. It helps me to understand the domains and the indicators. Then I record the page and highlight where it fits within the three types of internal evaluations with a different colour for each one. There are also hyperlinks to blogposts as well. This report is shared on our board blog and board members are expected to read the report and come prepared to ask questions at the meeting. They have their own copies of the indicators to refer to as well as the Catholic review indicators. Using the highlighted colours helps to show at a glance where,for example, our Catholicity crosses over into other domains to show the extent and integration of our Catholic special character. The questions from the learner focussed evaluation process above would be helpful for board members too.

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