Schools everywhere are striving for better results, but what are their success criteria? After years of working with schools of many scales, we are usually confronted by these issues:
Students are failing the competency framework.
Students in one class are having achievement gap.
Students are not prepared for the work of future.
Even those they are academically bright; their mindsets and characters are in questions.
We come up with this framework to help schools self-assess their problems,
First, each school must have a clear vision as the foundation for model design, system design, curriculum pathway, and its educational culture. Where is your focal point? Preparing students for university entrance exam? Teaching them real-world knowledge? Cultivating their characters or building life-long fire for learning?
Second, how to build the student competency framework that suits the mentioned visions? One common blindsight is that those who build the framework usually base their design on their knowledge of the subject they teach. They do not count in factors like their students’ brain development, psychological progress, and other foundation frameworks (besides the specific competency of a subject). Consequently, this framework is often rigid and biased.
Third, building a product system and educational activities. One common pitfall is people see coursebooks as the program. Coursebooks, along with supplementary materials, learning sources, extracurricular activities, are all parts of the program. This misconception makes school leaders spend a great deal of time choosing coursebooks, but being negligent to other important parts of the school instructional design.
Fourth, establishing a teacher competency framework in alignment with the school’s overall vision. A teacher that performs well in a university-prep oriented school might suffer when being relocated to a school focusing on students’ character development. Hence, it is critical for leaders to acknowledge that and forming a clear guideline for teachers to lay their focus on. This guideline illustrates components of a high performing teacher that align with that school's vision.
For example, in a university-prep oriented school, one key component might be the ability to help students memorize the course content; while this exact component would not make it to the priority list of a character-focused school.
Fifth, only after the teacher framework is formulated should leaders build the teacher professional development system with measurement scheme. It helps school spend less of their precious resources on countless teacher workshops that promise to bring out the most novel teaching techniques that are hardly align, sometimes contradictory, to school’s values.
Sixth, management framework. It guides how educational leaders should understand about this particular context, how to develop and expand management’s capacity, which directs them to what is core to education leaders. This framework is crucial in maintaining a school because when any underperformed teacher is left behind, those he teaches are also left behind.
Seventh, Quality Control & Quality Assurance is a must for every school. It includes interconnected data points that capture the teaching-learning experience and results. Without this support systems, leaders could not be sure on whether their students are receiving all the great visions that their school promised.
Finally, after all of those built frameworks and systems, now we talk about student assessment. Students should be the last factors to be assessed. If schools failed in building any of those mentioned components and progressing to student assessment, it would leave students stressed and demotivated while achieving nothing of good to students. We will discuss how to assess students in another article.