Self-review and why it matters

Ongoing school self-review is a strategic process of inquiry. It enables schools to systematically find out about successes and challenges in teaching, learning, and school operations. 

A regular, planned review process is about fostering a sustainable culture of professional reflection that is focused on student achievement and school improvement.

Effective self-review should link into the school’s annual review, planning, and reporting cycles. See an example of a primary school calendar linking planning, assessment, reporting, and appraisal with regular reviews.

Why it matters

For principals and boards, an effective process of self-review helps to address these questions:

  • Are we ensuring the best possible learning outcomes for all students, with reference to the National Education Guidelines (NEGs), including National Education Priorities?
  • Are we meeting our obligations, with reference to the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs)?
  • Are the school’s resources being used effectively to meet the needs of students?
  • How well do the school’s strategic goals and targets promote ongoing improvement?

What it achieves

The process helps schools to:

  • systematically find out about successes and challenges in teaching and learning
  • monitor progress in relation to strategic goals
  • demonstrate effectiveness of teaching and learning through improved achievement outcomes
  • work collaboratively towards improved learning outcomes
  • identify professional development and resourcing priorities
  • ensure that a safe physical and emotional learning environment is provided
  • find out about the effectiveness of school operations
  • identify priority areas for improvement.

Self-review and effective school leadership and pedagogy

Evidence of effective school leadership and teacher practice identifies the crucial importance of creating a reflective professional culture of self-review that focuses on student progress, achievement, and the identification of teaching and learning priorities:

"Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is best understood as an ongoing process that arises out of the interaction between teaching and learning. It involves the focused and timely gathering, analysis, interpretation, and use of information that can provide evidence of student progress."

(Ministry of Education, The New Zealand Curriculum, 2007, p. 37)

"Leadership promotes teacher learning via communities that are focused on improving student success." 

(Robinson, Hohepa, and Lloyd, Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, 2009, p. 42)

"Teachers and principals need to collect the effect sizes within their schools and then ask 'What is working best?', 'Why is it working best?', and 'Who is it working for?'"

(Hattie, Visible Learning, 2009, p. 240)

"How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote student learning – engagement, progress, and achievement? This is ERO’s major evaluation question. ERO wants to know how well your school uses its self-review and the information it collects on the achievement of all students to improve teaching and learning."

(Education Review Office, Framework for Schools, 2011, p. 11)

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