Evaluation Advice- How to get started

First you need to do a needs assessment. You may not realize it, but your school probably does this all of the time. Any time you have a discussion among faculty, parents, or students that poses questions that lead to change, you are conducting a needs assessment. Unless you routinely document everything that is discussed at faculty meetings, at special council meetings like curriculum council or the athletics booster clubs, or in department meetings, you will want to do a survey to collect people's opinions.

Your school naturally makes changes throughout the year. How do you decide to make these changes? To get started on the self-study, document everything that leads to a change being made. If the school sits down and discusses test scores by departments, have someone take notes. If the teachers decide to go through a Cycle of Inquiry because the test scores went down- document how they came up with this decision.

If you only have a small select group of students and parents that are involved with school activities, that is fine, but make sure you document everything they do on behalf of the school. Ideally if you are planning for a visit from a WASC (or other accreditation organization) visiting team, you will do a global survey and ask every parent, staff member, and student their opinions on specific topics.

When was the last time your school looked at its Mission Statement? Do teachers reflect on the school's mission when they create assignments or assessments? How about student goals (formerly Expected Schoolwide Learning Results or ESLRs)? How are you measuring what students learn and are capable of doing other than looking at standardized test scores? If you do not have answers to these questions, then the school needs to spend some time collaborating on why they are there and what do they do with all the time they get to spend with the kids?

Use this small set of links to move back and forth between the Evaluation Pages:

Link to WASC site so you can download the most recent documents from their website.