What Makes a Great School?

What Makes a Great School?

What Makes a Great School? Deconstructing the school-quality rankings that parents rely on — and finding a way to measure what matters – an excellent new (Oct 2017) article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, all about measuring what we value, not valuing what we measure!

Test scores don’t tell us a tremendous amount about what students are learning in school. As research has demonstrated, school factors explain only about 20 percent of achievement scores — about one-third of what student and family background characteristics explain. Consequently, test scores often indicate much more about demography than about schools.

Even if scores did reflect what students were learning in school, they’d still fail to address the full range of what schools actually do. Multiple-choice tests communicate nothing about school climate, student engagement, the development of citizenship skills, student social and emotional health, or critical thinking. School quality is multidimensional. And just because a school is strong in one area does not mean that it is equally strong in another. In fact, my research team has found that high standardized test score growth can be correlated with low levels of student engagement. Standardized tests, in short, tell us very little about what we actually value in schools.

About the Author:

Everyone thrives in a great school. Students are fully engaged and enjoy learning; relationships across the school are positive and respectful; creativity, diversity and critical thinking are valued and everyone feels they belong; it takes courage and commitment to create such a school. Growing Great Schools™ was established by Sue Roffey with partners around the world to promote ways for all schools to become great schools. Our partners are individuals, organisations and schools whose main purpose is education for wellbeing – to build healthy relationships, resilience and social and emotional development.