Home' Independence : Independence Vol 43 No 1 May 2018 Contents 66 INDEPENDENCE VOL 43 NO 1 MAY 2018
THERE is a growth in demand by school
Boards for measuring outcomes, to
define key performance indicators of
Principals and senior staff, to create
challenging benchmarks, to demonstrate
value add for parents paying fees and
to validate to parents why they should
send their son or daughter to an
The review to achieve educational
excellence in Australian schools (the
Gonski 2.0 Review) may move into more
demonstrated performance indicators.
That accountability trend is right and
proper. School Boards and Principals
need a framework from which to
start meaningful conversations about
the measurement of success of their
The challenge is that so much of
what we do in schools obstinately
refuses to allow itself to be measured.
Ambitious mission statements, aims
or goals are set that are lifelong in
nature yet measurement is often
required immediately to justify actions
or expense or policies or practices or
Difficulties can arise when educators
who come from a non-business
background seek to get consensus
on success indicators from Board
members who may come from the
business world that is used to metrics
and clear performance indicators.
Soft edges can clash with hard edges.
Complexities of a ‘people’ industry can
clash with a perceived lack of improved
accountability measures for teachers.
Where is the agreed area between
hard metrics and the complex world of
educating five to eighteen-year olds?
This is a world full of so many variables.
A school is a human construct where
the development of the human spirit
can most appropriately defy accurate
This paper seeks to provide a framework
for Boards and Principals to use to
define what works best for them.
Fundamental starting point
The Board via the chair must determine
the prime role of the Principal (CEO).
There is a sliding scale of responsibilities
for Principals in most independent
schools given the nature of their
complex operation. At one end of the
scale is the CEO as the Chief Education
Officer, responsible for driving the
successful educational agenda. At
the other end is the CEO as the Chief
Executive Officer responsible for the
efficient running of the school as a
MEASURING SUCCESS OF
AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL
How do we measure educational excellence in our schools when,
according to Dr David Mulford, Headmaster, Newington College NSW,
much of what we do in schools obstinately refuses to allow itself to
be measured? Dr Mulford suggests a number of indicators to be used
to define and measure success.
MANAGEMENT AND MEASUREMENT DR DAVID MULFORD
Most Principals slide up and down the
scale according to the task. Most ‘lean’
towards one end. What does the Board
want? What support is provided for the
weaker end? Or what structures are in
place so that both ends are adequately
For large schools a distinction is often
made that the Principal should be about
‘tomorrow’ and his or her senior staff
are about ‘today’. However, this needs
clarification and endorsement prior to any
measurement of success of a Principal.
Two separate categories are presented
to provide a framework for the Board
and the Principal to determine how they
define and/or measure success. They
are broken into five Group A indicators
and six Group B Indicators. Yet in the
end all eleven indicators must be seen
as a whole package of interlocking
Five Group A indicators
All five suggested indicators in this
group can be reported upon with a
quantifiable or measurement element.
Table 1 provides the outline for each
element and some complexities are
suggested to add to the richness of the
Six Group B indicators
The next grouping of secondary
indicators moves into a much more
diverse analysis. Six variables are
suggested in Table 2 as the framework
for this grouping. Some have a
quantifiable element to some of
their category. Yet others do not lend
themselves to numbers at all. Some
demand a qualitative background story
be told if the indicator is to be used for
This paper deliberately did not delve
into another important factor in the
success of a school. That factor is the
efficiency, operation and leadership of
the Board. School Boards are usually
entirely voluntary, can have external
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