Making continuous improvement second nature – Eastern Middle School - DEMO
Making continuous improvement behavior second nature is challenging to do, not just in education but in any enterprise. It is particularly true in education because the goals we develop are often so broad and amorphous that it's impossible to know whether or not we've achieved them, let alone improved on them. Schools need to move toward clearer and clearer targets so that really hitting or exceeding the mark can be celebrated and missing it can be analyzed, not for laying blame but for how the effort could have been approached more effectively. Think about athletes who need to measure their performance with precision and accuracy. Although they are concerned with the ultimate performance results they get, they also use data to analyze the variety of things they do that contribute to that performance. They focus not just on their golf score, but the swing that they need to perfect; not just on whether or not they won the tennis game, but the serve that they need to perfect.
- Goals need to be clear and measurable. Learning goals in particular need to be concrete and specific.
- Richer measurements of learning need to be developed. If standardized test results are the only means by which we measure ourselves, we run the risk of a curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep.
- The key processes that contribute to student learning results should be regularly analyzed and refined.
- The action research cycle should become a normal practice throughout the school. Students themselves need to be involved in the process of assessing their own progress toward goals and examining the processes they used to achieve them.
- Data must be viewed as information for improvement and not as a weapon to be used against individuals, departments, or schools. School leaders and policy makers must reduce any real or perceived threat from setting goals and using data.
- There should be an emphasis on short-term successes as well as long-term improvements. Regular times should be scheduled throughout the school year for the staff to discuss these.
Keys indicators related to making continuous improvement second nature
If you have not already done so, take a closer look at these specific indicators and the areas of this guide that address them.
Curriculum is student-centered.
School operates under the assumption that all students can learn.
School district administrators support staff efforts and monitor progress toward achievement of goals.
Student assessment is used for decision making to improve learning.
Academic programs are regularly assessed.
Assessment results have consequences for students and staff.
A variety of assessment techniques are used.
Teachers are prepared to use state or district curriculum, assessment, or performance standards.
Classroom observations and constructive feedback from teachers and principal are included in professional development.
Teachers have strong knowledge of their subject matter areas.
Curriculum includes "learning-how-to-learn"activities.
Varied, engaging, and collaborative strategies are used in instruction.
Curriculum provides opportunities to study topics in-depth.
Curriculum includes attention to accuracy and detail.
Instruction includes strategies to improve performance among students who are not succeeding.
Students are provided with personal instruction and feedback.
Action research conducted at a school influences programs and instruction.