Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 2009 Contents Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 09 53
• Parent and community involvement
• Personal and social development
• Health and safety.
'The combination of objective and
subjective data allows schools to weigh
their perceptions against the evidence,'
explains Michelle Green. 'For example,
a school's score for the domain "Teacher
quality" gives 50 per cent weight to
the view held by school stakeholders
(including parents, students, exiting
students, teachers and school leaders) and
50 per cent weight to objective measures,
including professional development
expenditure per teacher.'
improvement and strategic planning.
'The school evaluation instruments,
which draw on research and survey
development work we commissioned
from The University of Melbourne and
others, measure performance against
research and evidence-based indicators
of high performing, highly effective
schools,' says Michelle Green. 'At the
same time, the benchmarking component
enables schools to assess their competitive
position in the independent sector. They
can highlight their school's advantages
and frame their marketing and public
presentation policies in the light of what
their school community is saying and in
the context of local demographic data.'
AISV's survey instruments, while
developed in Victoria, have been tested
for their applicability in schools in other
states. The L E A D service is available
nationally and, over time, will allow
benchmarking to be created for specific
groups, for example, on a state basis,
for schools of a particular affiliation
or religious denomination, gender,
geography or particular philosophy.
Group 8 Education is an organisation
that aims to help schools improve
student learning through shifts in school
culture that support student and staff
engagement. Performance measurement
using survey instruments is an important
part of this process and, while the data
gathered are not benchmarked against
other schools' data, they are in effect
benchmarked against an 'ideal' school
or classroom derived from research on
effective learning and teaching practice
and extensive surveys of students,
teachers and parents.
John Corrigan, principal of Group
8, explains that the company and its
research grew from his own concern as a
parent for his children's schooling.
'My corporate background is in
organisations where the relationship
between the employee and customer is
a large part of the value that is created
by the organisation,' he says. 'I had first
hand experience that schools were not
meeting the needs of children or teachers
or parents and I wondered, what would
ASSESSMENT & REPORTING
Principal, Ruyton Girls'
School, Kew, Vic
I've always liked to have data to
underpin planning. It is also very
important in management. For instance,
when discussing with staff the value
of a particular practice or program it
is very useful to have data that shows
where improvement in learning has
or has not occurred, or how many
parents have indicated that they want
a particular program offered by the
school. It's also very important for
governors to have an independent
source of information about school
As part of the review and feedback
process entailed in our strategic and
operational planning at Ruyton we
were running small surveys we had
developed ourselves. This was not
entirely satisfactory as we weren't
able to achieve a full overview of our
performance, or benchmark our results.
We started using AISV performance
instruments in 2007, beginning
with a trial of the BEE (Building
Educational Effectiveness) program.
This was a research based survey
of those aspects of staff input that
contribute to better student learning
including staff opinion of their work
environment, morale, leadership
support, peer support, goal congruence
and professional development.
We were able to break the data down
into levels (early learning, junior
school, senior school) to see first if
there were any differences in staff
perspectives in each of those areas.
We were also able to analyse the
data by factors such as how many
years the staff had been working in
the school and how long they'd been
teachers. So this instrument gave us a
lot of information. At that time also
we used AISV's parent satisfaction
survey, which included questions
and invited individual comments.
At the end of 2007, on the basis of
the data and analysis arising from
the surveys, we decided on an area
of focus for improvement as part of
our operational plan and put in place
strategies to address this. In 2008 we
re-measured, and this showed there
had been improvement and so we felt
confident in continuing our strategies.
not only our detailed school analysis
but can pick up from the graphs a
general impression of where we sit in
relation to other independent schools.
The benchmarking component makes
it easier to prioritise those areas we
identify as needing improvement.
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