School Evaluation Indicators

Indicators framework 

The School Evaluation Indicators reflect our deepening understanding of how schools improve and the role of evaluation in that improvement process. Evaluation indicators were first introduced by ERO in 2003 and revised in 2010.

ERO recognises that the evaluation indicators and supporting material will evolve and change over time in the light of new research and evaluation findings.

The indicators are grouped under six domains that current research and evaluation findings show have a significant influence on school effectiveness and improvement. One of these domains focuses on effective leadership.

Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence

Leadership is the exercise of influence, whether based on positional authority, personal characteristics, or quality of ideas.[9] While only formally appointed leaders have positional authority, any teacher can potentially exercise the other two sources of influence. Every member of a school's teaching team needs to exercise context and task-specific leadership if the work of the team is to contribute to the collective goal of achieving equity and excellence of student outcomes.[10] This is why the domain interprets leadership in its broadest sense - across those with formal leadership positions and the entire staff team.

Effective leadership is a defining characteristic of communities of learning where student outcomes are equitable and excellence is the norm.[11] In pursuing equity and excellence, effective leaders explicitly attend to the relationships, structures and processes that perpetuate inequity and lack of opportunity to learn:

[They] engage in dialogue, examine current practice, and create pedagogical conversations and communities that critically build on, and do not devalue, students' lived experiences ... [they take] account of the ways in which the inequities of the outside world affect the outcomes of what occurs internally in educational organisations[12]

The dimensions of leadership practice that have a significant impact on student outcomes include: establishing goals and expectations; resourcing strategically; designing, evaluating and coordinating the curriculum and teaching; leading professional learning; and ensuring an orderly and supportive environment.[13]

Effective leaders work with the school community to establish a compelling vision. They link this vision to a small number of priority improvement goals that are grounded in an analysis of relevant student data and information about teaching practice. They analyse how school practices may be contributing to the current situation, consider research evidence about what is effective in terms of raising student outcomes, and then determine improvement strategies. They support the agreed strategies with a coherent approach that interweaves pedagogical change, organisational change, and the building of leader and teacher capability.

Effective leaders strategically align resourcing to support improvement goals and strategies. For example, to ensure that teachers have sufficient opportunity to develop the necessary new knowledge and skills, they may rearrange staff responsibilities, provide time allowances, and repurpose and restructure meetings.

Under effective leadership, a school community works together to create a positive environment that is inclusive, values diversity, and promotes student wellbeing; and it organises the teaching programme so that all students are given equitable opportunities to learn from a rich curriculum.[14]

Effective leadership develops, implements and reviews school policies and routines to ensure that money, time, materials and staffing are allocated and organised in ways that support student participation and engagement. Attention is paid to establishing an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing. In the absence of such an environment, improvement is difficult.[15]

Leaders in high-performing schools directly involve themselves in planning, coordinating and evaluating the curriculum and teaching. They are likely to be found observing in classrooms, providing developmental feedback, and participating in professional discussions about teaching, learning and student outcomes. Research evidence shows that when leaders promote and engage in professional learning alongside teachers this has a significant influence on student outcomes.[16]

In high-performing schools, leaders ensure that evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building activities are purposeful, systematic and coherent, interconnected at student, teacher, classroom and school levels, and supported by the selection, design and use of smart tools. By building relational trust at all levels of the school community they support openness, collaboration and risk taking, and receptiveness to change and improvement.[17] They understand that growing evaluation capacity is a key to sustaining and embedding improvement.

Effective leaders value parents, whanau and the wider community and actively involve them in the life and work of the school, encouraging reciprocal, learning- centred relationships; these extend to other educational institutions that serve the students. As a result, the school curriculum is enriched by community and cultural resources while reciprocal learning opportunities lead to increased participation, engagement and achievement.

a meeting of a group of people

[9]     Robinson, V., Hohepa, M. & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why - Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

[10]     Goddard, Y. L., Goddard, R.D., & Tschannen-Moran, M. (2007). A theoretical and empirical investigation of teacher collaboration for school improvement and student achievement in public elementary schools. Teachers College Record, 109 (4), pp877-896.

[11]     Ishimaru, A. & Galloway, M. (2014). Beyond individual effectiveness: Conceptualising organisational leadership for equity. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 13 (1), pp93-146.

[12]       Shields, C. (2010). Transformative leadership: working for equity in diverse contexts. Education Administration Quarterly, 46 (4), 558-589 (pp. 571,584).

[13]       Robinson, V., Hohepa, M. & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why - Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

[14]     Schmidt, W., Burroughs, N., Ziodo, P. & Houang, R. (2015). The role of schooling in perpetuating educational inequality: an international perspective. Educational Researcher, 44 (7), 371-386.

[15]     Grissom, J. A. & Loeb, S. (2011). Triangulating principal effectiveness. American Educational Research Journal, 48 (5), 1091-1123.

[16]     Robinson, V. M. J., Lloyd, C. & Rowe, K J. (2008). The impact of leadership on student outcomes: An analysis of the differential effects of leadership type. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44 (5), 635-674.

[17]     Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: transforming teaching in every school. United Kingdom: Routledge.