In California, Portfolios of Whole-School Progress

California asks all schools involved in its School Restructuring Initiative to continually document their progress toward four key goals: developing habits of inquiry through examining student work; impacting the whole school in that process; addressing the learning needs of every student; and engaging the district in their effort. Schools do this all year long (for several years), compiling a School Portfolio in which they provide evidence of regular critical looks (which they call “protocols”) at student work, and receiving visits from “critical friends” who provide feedback. At the end of each year they send a team to a statewide symposium at which they analyze their progress, using the following questions:

– What actions did your school take and why? (These are linked to previous inquiry processes.)
– How did your school use the examination of student work to judge what impact these actions are having on students? How were students and their parents involved in this examination? Who else was involved?
– What inquiry processes did you use to collect other data and information to see what impact these actions are having?
– What happened as a results of the actions you took?
– Whose assessment is this? Who might disagree?
– Where is your school community now in relation to the four goals?
– What feedback did you get from the visitation process and how was it used?
– What student work and other data did you examine? Share a few examples; and share how you analyzed the data.
– What other evidence might you need, and why?
– What were the standards by which the work and data were examined?
– What things are not working in making progress toward the four goals?
– What things are working?
– What questions or insights do you have that will guide your next steps?