Figure 1: School Improvement Process
It is the school's responsibility, with guidance from and the approval of the Office of Charter Schools, to develop a school and organizational improvement process. An example of such a process is shown in Figure 1 (below). In general, improvement efforts should follow a cycle of: (1) needs assessment, (2) planning, including design of processes, selection of measures, and deployment of requirements, (3) execution of the plan, (4) assessment of progress, and (5) revision of plans based upon assessment of findings, learning, new inputs, and new requirements.
Continuous improvement is a never ending cycle in which areas for improvement are selected, plans are developed to improve the areas selected, actions are carried out to make the improvements, the results of the improvements are checked through data analysis, and the results are used to determine further action. A model of the continuous improvement cycle is shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: Continuous Improvement Cycle
The Office will assist in the analysis of data. This will ensure the reliability and validity of data and provide a uniform data analysis methodology for all charter schools. Central and crucial to the success of the concept of excellence is a well-conceived and well-executed assessment strategy. The characteristics of such a strategy should include the following: (4)
- Clear ties between what is assessed and the school's mission and strategic goals.
- Focus on improvement of student performance, faculty capabilities, and overall organization performance.
- Embedded, ongoing, assessment components with prompt feedback.
- Assessments that address key learning goals and overall performance requirements.
- Guidelines regarding how assessment results are used and how they are not used.
- Ongoing evaluation of the assessment system itself to improve the connection between assessment and student success.