Mamzelle Adolphine

Teacher - Elementary School

Brooklyn, NY

Interests: Curriculum Development...

  • Joined 3 Years ago
  • 808

Quality of Quality Reviews

 

The school quality review process would be more reliable and the results more valid if the process included an unannounced visit and a follow-up by the reviewer.

Quality reviews are done to determine a school’s performance with regard to organization for and effectiveness of instruction.   The process usually involves (a) the completion of a self-evaluation by the school, (b) an observation, (c) feedback and (d) some sort of appeal process.  The school is notified of the review date, given time to prepare for the observation and is required to submit documentation that supports the self-evaluation. 

In the same way that a teacher’s evaluation determines overall performance, a quality review influences a school’s overall rating.  As such, a review is considered a “high stake assessment.”  What this means is that the school moves heaven and earth to ensure a positive outcome.  Teachers who have not been observed for years are suddenly observed.  Normal school activities such as picture taking day, which generates a lot of excited noise, are rescheduled and replaced with more subdued activities that give an aura of quiet learning.  Faculty meetings once dormant are held every week.  Professional development activities increase.  And the list goes on.  This type of response exemplifies what Richard P. Rumelt, author of Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, refers to as “look busy doorknob polishing.”  Only an astute reviewer, and or one who is unaffiliated with the school’s system (who therefore does not have a stake in the outcome) would be able to look beneath the appearance of these efforts to determine and record that there is really no effective coherent instructive system of people, process and procedure.   For instance, though professional development activities have increased, transfer of knowledge and skills from such activities are not evident in practice.

If the review process begins with an unannounced visit, the reviewer has the opportunity to see the school “as is.”  Armed with more reliable evaluative results, the reviewer can better determine the validity of the school’s self-evaluation, can prescribed more appropriate action in the feedback stage after the observation and can better determine through follow-up, the gap between school expectations and actual school performance.  The reviewer would also be able to provide further direction that addresses improvement needs.

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