Creating Performance Goals and Measures for Your Charter School1

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Creating Performance Goals and Measures for Your Charter School1

This document is designed to provide guidance and assistance in developing sound goals and measures – both educational and organizational – for inclusion in your charter agreement with [Authorizing Agency]. The following guidance focuses especially on providing deeper guidance for developing strong educational goals and measures – i.e., those that will comprise the Academic and Student Non-Academic Performance indicators of your charter agreement. This task demands particular attention because educational performance indicators are often more challenging to state in meaningful, objective terms than are non-educational measures, such as those focusing on Organizational and Management Performance (the third category of performance indicators required for your charter agreement). However, the principles for developing all of these types of goals and measures are very similar; thus, to the extent applicable, you should follow the guidance in these pages for developing your non-educational goals and measures as well. I. General Criteria for Goals Goals should be SMART: • • • • • Specific and Tied to Standards Measurable Ambitious and Attainable Reflective of Your Mission Time-Specific with Target Date

1. Specific A well-defined goal must be specific, clearly and concisely stated, and easily understood. Academic goals should be tied to academic standards that specify what students should This document was first developed by Margaret Lin as a guidance tool for the Charter Schools Office of Ball State University (IN) to offer to the schools it oversees. It has been adapted for distribution at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Nov. 13-14, 2003, San Diego, CA. Many of the concepts, definitions and principles in these pages are adapted from the following sources: Measuring Up: How Chicago’s Charter Schools Make Their Missions Count, by Margaret Lin (Leadership for Quality Education, 2001); Guidelines for Writing Charter School Accountability Plans, 2001-2002 (Charter Schools Institute, State University of New York), http://www.newyorkcharters.org/charterny/act_guide.html; and “Some Expectations Regarding the Contents of Charter School Accountability Plans,” District of Columbia Public Charter School Board. 1

know and be able to do, for each subject or content area and for each grade, age, or other grouping level. Equally important, academic goals should be developed with solid knowledge of students’ baseline achievement levels. 2. Measurable A goal should be tied to measurable results to be achieved. Measurement is then simply an assessment of success or failure in achieving the goal. 3. Ambitious and Attainable A goal should be challenging yet attainable and realistic. Academic goals should be based on a well-informed assessment of your school’s capacities and your students’ baseline achievement levels. 4. Reflective of Your Mission A goal should be a natural outgrowth of your school mission, reflecting the school’s values and aspirations. 5. Time-Specific with Target Date A well-conceived goal should specify a time frame or target date for achievement. Ball State expects its charter schools to specify both long-term goals that each school expects to achieve by the end of its fourth year of operation, along with annual benchmarks that will enable the school, authorizer and other stakeholders to monitor and assess the pace of progress.

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Definitions of Key Terms To develop adequate learning goals and measures, schools should begin with a clear understanding of a few essential terms: Goal: A clear, measurable statement of what students will know and be able to do in order to be considered “educated” after a certain length of time attending the school. Standard: A clear, measurable statement of what students will be expected to know (a content standard) or be able to do (a performance or skill standard) at a...
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