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How can Expected Student Outcomes contribute to School Improvement?


Having a list of expected student outcomes (ESOs), collaboratively developed by your school community, can be a great help to your school improvement efforts. They can be a tool to help identify needs for growth, and help the whole school community understand the reasons for changes being made.

This is especially true if your ESOs are…

  1. Visible. Posting the ESOs (physically and virtually) throughout your school helps keep them in everyone’s mind and enables easy reference to them during discussion and decision making. They can become a shared language within the community that new members are easily introduced to.
  2. Incorporated into the life of the classroom. Curriculum documents such as unit overviews and lesson plans could include specific links with ESOs. When planning lessons, teachers are encouraged to consider: How could this academic content, and the methods with which I am teaching it, help my students develop the ESOs?

3. Used in evaluation. ESOs can be used as a touchstone when decisions are being made about continuing, discontinuing or modifying a policy or program. Is this policy or program promoting the development of our ESOs? How could it do so more?

4. Assessed. Are your students growing in the ESOs? How do you know? The assessment of ESOs is a complex, not to mention controversial, topic… more on this in next the post.

How have ESOs been useful in your school as a tool to focus and support improvement efforts? Sharing your experience in the comments below will be encouraging to others, and especially valuable to schools who are in the process of developing their ESOs.

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