This good practice report shows the range of ways schools have effectively done and used internal evaluation for improvement. ERO visited 13 schools in Terms 3 and 4, 2014, that had been identified during their regular ERO reviews as having effective internal evaluation.1

ERO investigated:

  • how the schools knew what and how to improve
  • how the schools knew how they were going
  • what conditions and actions supported the schools' internal evaluation activities
  • how the schools had developed capability and expertise in evaluation

While schools are required to maintain a programme of ongoing internal evaluation in relation to the National Administration Guidelines 2, they can develop their own approach to improving student learning and addressing national priorities within their own context.

Section one of the report outlines the key role and actions of leaders in creating the conditions and building the capability and capacity for effective school internal evaluation. Section two describes the typical processes involved in school internal evaluation and the evaluative reasoning that informs them. The third section shares specific examples of school internal evaluation from each of the 13 schools including commentary about the processes and evaluative reasoning used.

In all the schools internal evaluation was deeply embedded in everyday practice.

Internal evaluation was business as usual rather than a discrete exercise completed solely for accountability purposes. Schools had sophisticated processes in place to support teachers, leaders and trustees to critically inquire into the effectiveness of their practices. They fostered a professional culture of inquiry and were committed to continuous improvement to benefit the learning of all students.

Leaders, teachers and trustees appropriately focused on developing their capability and collective capacity to gather, analyse, interpret and use information for improvement. These schools had developed the conditions in which leaders, teachers and trustees could take an honest and open approach to review, working from the belief that 'we can do better'. Rather than accountability and improvement being conflicting purposes, trustees, leaders and teachers were accountable for improvement.

This good practice report is part of a package of publications that includes School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 3 and Effective school evaluation: how to do and use internal evaluation for improvement. The latter is a resource for schools and communities of learning published jointly by ERO and the Ministry of Education. These publications are intended to assist schools and communities of learning to develop their capacity and capability to use internal evaluation for improvement.