School self-assessment is a key component in the school planning and reporting cycle. As a reflective process, the school regularly collects, analyses and evaluates a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence to inform their overall performance in relation to the desired improvements in the school plan.
Once during a five-year cycle, schools undergo an external validation of the evidence of their school self-assessment. Each year approximately 20% of schools will be selected as a representative sample across Operational Directorates.
Schools engage in discussions with an external panel and have their self assessments validated using the School Excellence Framework (SEF). The panel, comprising of a Principal School Leadership (PSL) and a peer principal, meet with the school leadership team and determine whether the school's evidence supports their self-assessment using each element of the SEF. An external validation panel report, which includes the school determined next steps in the self-assessment process is provided to the school following an external validation.
The SPaRO software is used by:
- schools to prepare the external validation submission and school determined next steps in the self-assessment process
- Directors, Public Schools NSW to review and affirm the external validation submission
- panels to view validate and report on the external validation submission .
Implementation guidelines for external validation with attached appendices including external validation using SPaRO, timeline for schools participating in external validation, sample executive summary and panel report, and panel checklist can be found on the School excellence page of the department's Policy library.
Ongoing self-assessment supports school improvement by ensuring critical and timely assessment of progress and achievement on performance. It prompts schools to regularly reflect on activities and the impact of improvement strategies to sustain growth in student learning.
Schools develop their own processes for ongoing self-assessment specific to their context.
In determining self-assessment processes, schools may be guided by the reflection questions:
- How are we doing?
- How do we know?
- What are we going to do next?
School Excellence Framework
The School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey (SEF S-aS) has been designed to support schools to capture a 'point-in-time' judgement that has been informed by their ongoing self-assessment processes using the School Excellence Framework.
This SEF S-aS requires school leadership teams to work collaboratively to:
- collate and reflect on evidence gathered as part of their ongoing self-assessment using the School Excellence Framework
- provide an on-balance judgement of which stage best describes the school's practices for each element of the School Excellence Framework.
Each year schools complete the SEF S-aS within the School Planning and Reporting Online (SPaRO) software. SPaRO is available to schools through the Department of Education staff portal.
The School Excellence Framework evidence guide provides case studies and further information to support schools to undertake rigorous, evidence-based self-assessment practices.
- School Excellence Implementation Guidelines - External Validation
- External Validation - Frequently Asked Questions
For more information refer to:
SEF S-aS – User guide for completing in SPaRO (PDF 869KB)