October 22, 2019

School Performance Frameworks: Lessons, Cases, and Purposeful Design

By Bonnie O’Keefe | Brandon Lewis | Jennifer O’Neal Schiess | Jason Weeby

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In the past decade, school performance frameworks (SPFs) have become an increasingly popular way for school districts to measure and communicate information about school quality. Whether locally designed or adapted from state rating systems, SPFs vary greatly in their goals, design, metrics, and target audiences.

School Performance Frameworks: Lessons, Cases, and Purposeful Design” is a deep dive into how local education leaders can create, implement, and sustain effective SPFs. The report details established, locally focused SPFs in New York City, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., and draws on research and interviews with SPF experts across the country.

There is no single recipe for creating a successful school performance framework — options depend on the specific goals and priorities for how the SPF will be used. This report focuses on how SPF design and implementation choices vary according to three “use cases” for SPFs:

  • System Management and Accountability: Leaders at a district or system level use the SPF to define school performance, track progress, and inform decisions such as school improvement, interventions, expansion, opening, or closure.
  • School Continuous Improvement: Principals use the SPF to understand how their school is performing, identify key strengths and weaknesses, and inform school strategy and management decisions.
  • Family and Community Information: Families and community members use the SPF to inform the choice of where to send their child to school, and/or understand how their school is performing and engage with school and district leaders.

The report includes an SPF planning guide for education leaders at the local and state level who are beginning to design an SPF, considering an SPF redesign, or implementing an existing SPF.

An interactive companion website at SchoolPerformanceFrameworks.org summarizes and condenses key takeaways from the report for local education leaders to learn about durable, purposeful SPF creation and design.

Download the full report here or read it in the viewer below.

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