Indicators of School Quality
"The great thing about KEYS is that it is so simple to implement. It's a simple concept based on lots of research." - Tom Marchand, kindergarten teacher and past president of the Memphis Education Association
KEYS is built on solid research, starting with a time-proven survey that provides the perspective of those who know the school best: its own staff, parents of its students, and community members. Gathering information is not just a logical starting point, it's common sense. School improvement is like a trip: you can't plan it unless you know where you want to go.
The KEYS survey used today is the product more than two decades of research leavened by real-life experience. In 1990, NEA embarked on a major project: to identify indicators of school quality, especially conditions associated with high levels of student achievement. The theoretical underpinnings of the effort were empirical studies of effective schools and Edward Deming's principles of continuous improvement, widely credited for increased U.S. productivity during World War II and Japan's post-war economic revival.
NEA introduced the first KEYS survey in 1993 and KEYS 2.0 in 2000. The current version is available online, so school staff, parents, and community members can complete it at their convenience. Responses are compiled and analyzed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the school as a whole, determine how it compares to other schools, pinpoint where it needs to improve, and create an informed blueprint for change.
The KEYS 2.0 survey includes 42 indicators of school quality, grouped in six categories:
- Shared Understanding and Commitment to High Goals
- Open Communication and Collaborative Problem Solving
- Continuous Assessment for Teaching and Learning
- Personal and Professional Learning
- Resources to Support Teaching and Learning
- Curriculum and Instruction