Rubrics for School Improvement

School improvement planning has become more prevalent and important due to increased calls from federal and state governments, state education agencies (SEAs), and the general public for more accountability in education. In many cases, the school principal is responsible for conceptualizing, drafting, and submitting the plan. However, there are very few publicly available tools that assess the content and quality of school improvement plans (SIPs).

A new rubric for school improvement from the Center on School Turnaround is designed for use by schools, districts, and SEAs. Schools can use the rubric to help create, organize, and assess their improvement plans and efforts; districts can use it to facilitate and coach co-creation of effective SIPs; and SEAs can use it to better conceptualize how they support districts – especially those with low-performing schools – in analyzing their SIPs.

Although this rubric is useful for all types of schools, it is especially valuable for low-performing schools, as it can help them better jump-start the process of planning for success, building momentum, and, ultimately, turning themselves around.

Drawing from the research literature and the Center on School Turnaround’s extensive practical experience with the University of Virginia Partnership for Leaders in Education (UVA/PLE), the rubric includes 12 key planning domains that support effective year-long or short-cycle SIPs, as follows: Turnaround Vision, Priorities, Process Outcomes, Progress Indicators, Action Steps, School Context, Root Cause Analysis, Sequencing, Schedule/Timeline, Alignment, Directly Responsible Individuals, and Supports.

The document discusses the importance of school improvement planning, the uses of a SIP assessment rubric, and how the rubric was created. It then describes each of the 12 planning domains and presents the rubric and directions for how to use it.

For more, see