Tell Your Story by Defining Success

The ability to articulate and substantiate a compelling story of student success and school quality ultimately speaks to the return on investment that schools provide the communities they serve. School quality and student success are a matter of definition. For years, federal policy has controlled the definition of student success and school quality as predominately how students perform on state assessments. As educators, we know there are many additional outcomes that predict student success and align closer to the values of local communities. The story of local school districts is more comprehensive than what state report cards capture.

The state report card is only part of the story – unless the missing parts are never told. Absent the rest of the story, the incomplete story told via the state report cards becomes the full story. The idea is to provide communities the full story.

The single most important pitfall for Illinois schools to avoid when interpreting ISBE Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs)

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently released student growth percentiles (SGPs) to Illinois school districts in preparation of the new school accountability system and the launch of the new Illinois school report card. While incorporating student growth into the school accountability system is a step in the right direction, it is important to recognize that ISBE SGP results are reported within an accountability context not a school improvement context.

Goal Setting for School Improvement

The fundamental purpose of setting school improvement goals is to assess the effectiveness of improvement efforts. The utility of the school improvement process rests on the inferences one can draw from meeting a goal. For example, a typical school improvement goal may be “increase the percentage of students meeting standards in grade 4 reading by 5%.” While this type of goal is specific and concise, the results will provide little to no information as to the effectiveness of improvement efforts. Why? Because increasing grade 4 reading by 5% is likely an arbitrary goal that is unrelated to school performance and not evidence-based.

Ready or Not: A Broader Definition

Measuring student success requires moving beyond standardized test scores toward a multidimensional and personalized set of indicators that collectively capture a more modern definition of readiness, empowering students to take ownership of their learning by aligning competencies, interests, motivations and aspirations.

Leadership and Return on Investment

SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADERS face challenges when they attempt to document the relationship between costs and quality. Return on investment analysis is motivated by the strategic intentions of school boards and leadership to increase quality and optimize resource allocation. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and state accountability laws have shaped a definition of…

Driving Student Performance with Systemic Analytics

Improving student performance is more dramatic when school leaders employ systemic analytics. Despite continued emphasis on systemic approaches to school improvement, schools struggle to use data and information in a manner consistent with systems thinking.  Systemic thinking requires an holistic approach, one that focuses on the total school system by examining and understanding the interrelationships…