Self-assessment frequently asked questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the School Excellence self-assessment process. If you have any further questions, please see the contact us page to see who to direct your query to.

General questions

Self-assessment is a reflective process that enables schools to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Collating, analysing and reflecting on your evidence as part of this process will help you assess the impact of current practices and inform future decisions and directions. Self-assessment is an ongoing process within the school planning and reporting cycle. Schools record their judgements annually through the self-assessment survey and report the results in their Annual Report.

Self-assessment using the School Excellence Framework is a key component of the school planning and reporting cycle. Ongoing self-assessment supports school improvement by ensuring critical and timely assessment of achievement. It facilitates regular systematic reflection on progress and the impact of improvement strategies to sustain growth in student learning and whole school practice.

At reflection points (e.g. mid-year and annually) schools consider their achievements and progress using the domains of the School Excellence Framework. The Framework assists schools to make informed and consistent judgements and supports informed decision making.

For more information on this process, view the School Excellence policy.

Schools will conduct their self-assessment in different ways, depending on their circumstances. Some schools may conduct their self-assessment over one or several days, whereas other schools might embed ongoing reflection and self-assessment using the School Excellence Framework in their school processes throughout the year. This might be through executive, faculty or project meetings or school development days.


Self-assessment involves analysing data and information gathered by your school to make evidence-based decisions about impact and progress. It is important that you use evidence to inform your self-assessment, rather than making an assessment and then finding evidence to support this.

You are not required to use any specific pieces of evidence, but we encourage you to use a variety of high-quality evidence to get a balanced, holistic view of your school’s performance and progress.

Different kinds of data can reveal different things about the same program or project so it is important to use both qualitative and quantitative data and data from different sources. This can include both school-level data (i.e. internal surveys or classroom observations) and system-level data (i.e. NAPLAN or the HSC).

There are a few things to keep in mind when collecting and analysing your data, such as whether it is reliable and relevant. For more information about what to consider when using qualitative and quantitative data, please visit the guidelines for using data page.

For a list of possible data sources, please visit the sources of evidence page. There is also more detailed information about how you can use your Tell Them From Me results and Scout reports.

You should continue to gather, collate and analyse data as part of your ongoing self-assessment and evidence-based practices. It is also important to think about how you will collect evidence in the future. For example, if you are implementing a new program, you should include data collection in the program’s implementation plan. This will allow you to build a strong evidence base as you go.

You are not required to include all the evidence you used for self-assessment in your external validation submission. A target of 7-10 carefully selected, robust sources of evidence should be sufficient to support your school's judgements across the 14 elements of the Framework. Keep in mind, a well-selected piece of evidence may be relevant to more than one element.

Each piece of evidence should be annotated and analysed to support your school's judgements and show how it links to the school plan and the SEF statement of excellence.

Self-assessment survey

The School Excellence Framework self-assessment survey is designed to support the capture of a school’s annual self-assessment. The survey allows schools to track their individual judgements over time as well as providing aggregated data for the system on school performance. All schools must complete the self-assessment survey each year.

The self-assessment survey forms part of the planning and reporting cycle and should be completed prior to writing your school’s annual report. The annual report is due by the end of Term 1 each year.

Completing the online self-assessment survey will involve recording a snapshot of progress at a moment in time. Schools will generally complete the self-assessment survey following their self-assessment process. It is generally expected that schools will have already analysed their data and reached a conclusion about where their practice sits in the SEF prior to completing the survey. Schools may choose to make completing the self-assessment survey the focus of a professional learning conversation amongst the school leadership, or a broader school group.

Once you have completed the self-assessment process, filling in the survey involves selecting the descriptors that apply to your school, and selecting the on-balance judgement for each of the 14 SEF elements. It should take no longer than 20 minutes.

No. Your response to the SEF self-assessment survey and the section on self-assessment using the School Excellence Framework in your Annual Report should be informed by your evidence, but you are not required to submit this evidence with your survey. You are, however, required to submit evidence when you undertake the external validation process every five years. To find out more, visit the self-assessment and external validation page.


Schools can seek the assistance of their Principal, School Leadership in any aspect of School Excellence including school planning and reporting, ongoing self-assessment and preparing for external validation. PSLs can provide support to schools through collegial, professional learning conversations. PSLs can provide schools with advice on what evidence they could consider to inform their self-assessment. PSLs can also work with schools to help them interpret their evidence or test the validity of the conclusions they have drawn from their evidence.

Directors, Public Schools can also provide guidance in School Excellence self-assessment process by engaging in regular professional conversations about school planning, self-assessment and reporting. Directors, Public Schools also play a role in endorsing the schools planning processes, monitoring its implementation and affirming the external validation submission for each school in their network.

Please visit contacts and resources to see who to address your query to.

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