One of the key challenges that confront education in South Africa is the lack of sound data to use in order to generate well informed improvements.
In an effort to close this ‘data gap’ Performance Solutions Africa has been trialling a newly developed school management maturity tool which enables school principals and district officials to track the levels of management maturity in their schools.
The importance of this lies in the fact that there is a demonstrable statistical correlation between effective school management and improved learning outcomes.
The tool is structured in such a way that it enables users to see both what they have achieved as well as what they still need to achieve in order to get sound school management practices in place.
It consists of 30 assessment questions focusing on areas such as School Governance; Curriculum Management; Teacher Development; Learner Welfare; Parents and Resources. Certain of the areas have a bigger weighting than others.
All schools start as Stage 1 level of maturity and as they can respond positively to the questions asked, their level of maturity moves towards a Stage 4. This tool has been developed using latest technology so that the assessment is completed on-line and the results are available immediately.
A spider diagram below displays the level of maturity for each of the 7 Theme areas. This is updated as responses are recorded. It also provides an overall Maturity Score which is also updated as questions are answered.
For each set of questions there are links to resources to assist the School Management Team to implement the practices associated with the specific questions hence building its level of management practice maturity.
The tool also provides a graph that enables the specific school to track its maturity score over time and to compare its level of maturity against other schools in the system.
The tool has recently been piloted with schools in Bojanala District of the North West Province and Bohlabela in Mpumalanga and was positively received. As a result of this pilot some improvements to the tool as well as the process were made which included bringing down the time to conduct the questionnaire to approximately two hours.
A next step in the tool’s development process will be to generate a list of actions for all the questions that were answered with a ‘No’. The SMT will then be able to turn this into an action plan as they work to improve their schools’ management practices maturity.
Overall, the principals of the pilot schools were extremely excited with the potential of the tool to help them identify areas where they needed to work on to improve school governance – the addition of the planning function was strongly endorsed.
PSA will now be discussing the tool with the Department of Basic Education and the NECT regarding further steps and a wider rollout.