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Reflect ... Improve ... Achieve
The purpose of Self Review
Effective organisations regularly monitor and review their performance to guide their actions. Self Review is a key element
of the DECS Improvement and Accountability Framework (DIAf) and is fundamental to an effective cycle of improvement and
accountability. Self Review enables an analysis of current performance, practices and the effectiveness of improvement
strategies. This analysis informs directions for Improvement Plans and provides a basis for performance reports to the

The purpose of Self Review processes is to improve the quality of our core business - teaching and learning - and the effectiveness of site
operations. Effective Self Review processes engage a range of stakeholders in analysing data and other evidence to examine progress
towards stated priorities and targets. This will enable sites to identify both successful practices and outcomes, and areas where practices
and outcomes may require action to improve.

There is an expectation that sites conduct Self Review processes each year and use the information gained to direct future plans and
actions. Rigorous Self Review will achieve the standards outlined on page 6 of this Guide. Regional Directors will validate the quality of Self
Review processes, findings and the outcomes from actions undertaken through triennial validation processes.

Self Review may be undertaken in a variety of ways, using a range of approaches and materials (for example, accreditation processes like
that of the Council of International Schools or program reviews). This Guide uses the DECS Self Review Tool and rubrics as an approach to
Self Review. It refers to other DECS Self Review resources, and provides a suggested process to support sites make decisions about Self
Review within their context. This document should be read in conjunction with its companion document the Self Review Tool, which may be
accessed at

1. Prepare for Self Review
i. Understand the DECS Improvement and Accountability Framework

The DECS Improvement and Accountability Framework supports DECS to achieve and sustain high performance. The DIAf reflects best
practice approaches to develop effective schools, preschools and education systems. It provides a whole of department approach that
integrates processes of improvement and accountability to achieve effectiveness.

The DIAf outlines the way in which government schools and preschools,
supported by regional and state office personnel, work to continuously
improve the quality of outcomes and services for learners and communities.

The five elements of the DIAf support a cycle of improvement:
  • Standards
  • Self Review
  • Improvement Planning
  • Intervention and Support
  • Performance Reporting

These elements ensure that sites have an integrated process to
review performance, plan for improvement, target areas of need,
and report on standards achieved to the community.
The DIAf may be accessed at

ii. Understand the DECS Principles of Improvement & Effectiveness

The DIAf is underpinned by the DECS Principles of Improvement and Effectiveness to support Self Review.
These nine principles are based on a body of international research and informed by practice.

By using the DECS Principles of Improvement and Effectiveness as a lens, this Guide provides one
approach to undertaking systematic Self Review processes. The principles enable inquiry into all aspects
of site operations and help to address questions on the quality and effectiveness of site processes,
outcomes and performance.

          Focus                  How successful have we been in achieving quality learning and wellbeing
       on Learning               standards for all learners - staff and parents?

         Think                   How successfully do our systems and processes support teaching and learning
      Systemically               and the achievement of standards?

         Share                   How effective have we been in sharing and building leadership capacity to drive
       Leadership                our improvement agenda?

          Attend                 How effectively does the site culture support learners, staff and parents to achieve
        to Culture               high quality outcomes?

         Listen                  How successfully do we recognise and respond to current and future needs of
       & Respond                 learners and stakeholders?

         Make                    How effectively do we analyse and use data and evidence to drive improvements
       Data Count                in practice and outcomes?

           Set                   How successful are we in living our values and making progress towards the
        Direction                achievement of our vision and purpose?

          Target                 How effectively do we target resources to achieve our stated goals and
        Resources                support the improvement agenda?

      Continuously               How effective are our plans and processes in creating sustainable improvements
        Improve                  and achieving quality standards?

Resources and processes to support sites understand the DECS principles are available at

iii. Determine who will be involved in Self Review processes

The principal/director has responsibility to oversee the design, implementation and documentation of Self Review processes within a
site. Site leaders are required to establish timelines and provide information to staff and the Governing Council about the processes and
opportunities for involvement. Self Review findings are to be reported to the community, and to the Regional Director through performance
management and validation processes.

It is recommended that site leaders establish a Site Improvement Team to drive Self Review processes. This Site Improvement Team might
    • Staff representatives: year level or curriculum area
    • Leadership team representatives
    • Governing Council representatives
    • Parents and learners

At times sites may involve external personnel to support Self Review. This might include regional personnel, professional peers,
community members, or key partnership groups. In larger sites, Self Review may be undertaken by several smaller teams with particular
responsibilities that relate to key focus areas.

It is important to keep the team(s) manageable and yet ensure that perspectives considered are representative of the local context.
2. Conduct the Self Review
i. Determine site performance

The local context and site needs will influence the focus of Self Review processes annually.

An ‘environmental scan’ of the current level of performance against all principles is an effective starting point for sites. The Self Review Tool
Level 2 – Scan Document provides a process to ‘scan’ the nine principles to make an ‘on balance’ judgement of the site’s performance
with respect to each principle.

From this scan, sites will be able to identify areas - principles and specific criteria - where a deeper analysis using the other levels of the
Self Review Tool might help stakeholders to understand improvement needs.

ii. Reflect on the Improvement Plan

All sites develop a Improvement Plan that identifies the priorities, strategies and targets to strategically improve site performance and
outcomes. The Improvement Plan makes clear what the site is intending to improve and achieve.

A key focus of Self Review is to examine progress towards achieving these targets and the effectiveness of the strategies identified. The
Self Review Tool provides support for evaluating the effectiveness of current site priorities and strategies to achieve stated targets. Self
Review processes may indicate areas of the plan that require additional attention or refinements to the planned strategies or targets.

In examining the Improvement Plan -
  • What data and evidence need to be gathered and/or analysed to monitor and evaluate Improvement Plan priority areas,
       strategies and targets?
  • What data or evidence confirms, or otherwise, progress towards stated goals or targets?
  • Which identified strategies are effectively achieving progress towards stated goals and targets?
  • What are the implications for refining the Improvement Plan from self assessment against the principles?

iii. Determine the focus of Self Review processes

From the environmental scan and Improvement Plan reflections, the Site Improvement Team will be able to focus Self Review to best meet
site needs. This may vary from year to year but learner achievement data should be analysed annually.

The Rubrics in the Self Review Tool provide a performance continuum for each principle. It is recommended that leadership, staff and
Governing Council members select the specific rubrics that will support them to more accurately determine performance in chosen areas.
From examination of selected rubrics, the Site Improvement Team will decide priority areas for deeper inquiry, strategies to engage key
stakeholders, the data and evidence to gather and schedule time to interrogate those data.

To manage the Self Review processes effectively, it is important for the team to prioritise - and limit the number of - key areas for deeper

It is recommended that all sites engage with the Focus on Learning principle as part of Self Review processes annually. Sites may wish to
engage in deeper investigations with other prioritised focus areas/principles. To effectively manage a focused Self Review, it is suggested
that sites explore no more than three principles in depth in any year.

In examining the rubrics -
  • Does the identified level of performance match site targets and community expectations? What questions arose
       and why? What issues need further investigation?
  • What data or evidence does the site have that confirms, or otherwise, the perceived level of performance?
  • What might be the ‘next steps’ to move forward in the priority areas?
  • Which statements from the ‘Strategic’ or ‘Embedded’ level of the rubrics support the identification of key site goals or targets?

A range of tools and resources are available to assist Site Improvement Teams with the DECS Principles and Rubrics at

iv. Gather and analyse data and evidence

In the priority areas to be focused on within Self Review, qualitative and quantitative data need to be gathered and analysed for a balanced
view of site performance. When sites engage with Focus on Learning each year, learner achievement data should be analysed annually as
part of Self Review.

A comprehensive view of site performance results from the analysis of multiple measures of data and evidence (Using Data to Improve
Student Learning, Bernhardt, 2004). Multiple data measures include demographic, perception, process and achievement data.

Multiple data measures enable targeted questions to be asked that lead to significant insights to support improvement decisions. For
example: “What teaching practices achieve the most successful outcomes in reading for Year 5 girls/boys?”

DECS data protocols may be accessed at

The analysis of multiple measures will highlight site strengths, opportunities for improvement, issues or areas of concern about the quality
of practices and achievements. At times, a number of issues may emerge that require attention. In moving forwards, it is important to
identify the root cause of issues rather than quick-fix solutions that may not address the underlying causes or needs.

Resources and information on multiple measures, root cause and variation are available at

  Learner Achievement Data                  Perception Data                  Demographic Data / Context                Process Data

  What do these data show             What are the views of                  What are the unique               How effectively do site
  about learners’ results,            learners and stakeholders              characteristics of the site/      processes and practices
  standards and needs?                about the quality of teaching          community that may impact         support teaching and
                                      and learning, and culture?             on teaching and learning?         learning?
  Possible data sets:
                                      Possible data sets:                    Possible data sets:               Possible data sets:
  • SACSA Developmental
    Learning Outcomes                 • Student Opinion Survey results       •   Enrolments                    • The Improvement Plan and
  • Running Records                     (by focus area, year level,          •   Attendance                      associated operational and / or
  • Student Entry Assessment            cultural background, gender)         •   ESL / NESB / ATSI / SWD         management plans
  • Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 Literacy and   • Staff Opinion Survey results         •   Transience / Destination      • Current pedagogies, teaching
    Numeracy (NAPLAN) results           (by focus area, non-teaching/        •   Retention / Progression         approaches and assessment
    over time                           teaching)                            •   Suspensions / Exclusions        strategies
  • SACSA Standard Achievement        • Parent Opinion Survey results        •   Parents / Community           • Teaching Programs / Class
    Levels                            • Logged parent concerns /             •   Staff - skills / experience     Lesson Plans / Curriculum
  • Teacher Assessments                 issues                               •   Financial & Physical Assets     Plans
  • SACE Completion,                  • Other site / classroom based                                           • Assessment against DECS
    Achievement Levels and Grade        Questionnaires / Feedback            Data Sources: EDSAS, School         Principles of Improvement &
    Distributions over time             Processes                            Performance Reporting System        Effectiveness rubrics
  • Year 12 Destination / Pathways    • Involvement and Wellbeing            (SPeRS) via the EduPortal,        • Assessment using the SA
    in Employment / Training /          Scale instruments (Reflect,          Indigenous Student Support          Teaching for Effective Learning
    Education                           Respect, Relate Resource)            System (ISSS), Site Financial       Compass review tool.
  • Other site / classroom            • Staff Psychological Health           Management Systems.               • Policies (documentation,
    achievement / learning data                                                                                  flowcharts describing
    over time                                                                                                    processes, review processes)

In examining multiple measures of data:
• What are the strengths (i.e. highest results), challenges (i.e. lowest results) or issues from the analysis of learner achievement data and
  and other multiple measures of data overtime or when compared at other levels (e.g. nationally, regionally, index of disadvantage/like
• How do the results compare for different learning areas or the progress /growth of cohorts, targeted groups or individuals? What are
  the implications for intervention and support that emerge?
• What strengths or issues do the perception data sets highlight? What further inquiry needs to be undertaken at the site or classroom
  level based on any differences that may exist between staff, parent and learner perceptions?
• What are the implications presented by the multiple measures of data for focussing improvements on the processes and policies at the
  site level, and teaching and learning programs and practices at the class level?

3. Act on Self Review findings
i. Document Self Review

The Site Improvement Team makes decisions about how to document the processes undertaken, the evidence and insights that have
emerged, and future directions and actions. Documentation needs to provide a record of the improvement journey, inform key stakeholders
and support future Self Review processes. Sites will integrate documentation within routine processes such as newsletters and reports to
staff and Governing Council. The team needs to consider the documentation format and timing so that it supports the development of site
performance reporting, improvement planning and validation processes.

Models and templates developed to assist sites in documenting Self Review processes are available at

ii. Refine the Improvement Plan

Self Review findings will play a significant role in the monitoring of the Improvement Plan. Key findings from Self Review form the basis of
new or refocused strategies, actions and targets in the Improvement Plan and subsequent action plans and/or operational plans.

iii. Implement other Self Review findings

Self Review may indicate that certain policies or processes at the site level or programs and practices at the class level need improvement.
For example, at the site level, Self Review may indicate that intervention programs are not achieving the desired results for targeted
learners. This may need further inquiry and actions, such as investigation of alternative strategies, policy review or refinements to existing
practices. Or, as an example at the classroom level, Self Review may indicate that certain skills need to be explicitly taught.

To take actions from the Self Review process:
• How might findings from the analysis of data, evidence, and the DECS rubrics improve site priorities, strategies and targets?
• What information from the Self Review processes will make the most significant difference for learner outcomes?
• What processes might be used to involve and support staff to enact improvement strategies at the classroom level?
• What are the implications for site operations, resource and financial management?

4. Reflect on Self Review Processes
i. Ongoing Self Review processes

Self Review is an ongoing and cyclic process. The regular evaluation of learner achievement and client perception data is vital for sites
to monitor improvement efforts and needs. The Site Improvement Team determines Self Review processes for the next 6-12 months and
makes decisions on how to continue the cycle. Decisions may include: a strategic planning day, sessions with staff / Governing Council,
additional data collection and analysis, professional development, and processes to monitor and evaluate progress.

ii. Self Review Validation

Validation by the Regional Director verifies the quality of site Self Review processes, the findings of the Self Review, and the effectiveness
of the improvement actions undertaken over a three year cycle.

The Site Improvement Team seeks feedback to determine improvements for future Self Review processes, and establishes ongoing
monitoring and evaluation processes.

iii. Reflect on Self Review Standards
Sites are encouraged to complete an evaluation of the Self Review Standards to assess whether Self Review processes have been rigorous.
By reflecting on these standards, sites are able to improve future Self Review processes. The first six standards highlighted
in yellow are considered as part of validation processes. Sites are encouraged to consider all twelve standards to gain a
comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness and rigor of their Self Review proocesses.
ArE SELF rEvIEW PrOCESSES ...?                                                         Yes / No   Comments:
1. Evidence Based          Processes examine multiple measures of data at
                           classroom, group, site and state levels. A balance
                           of qualitative and quantitative data are provided to
                           demonstrate progress towards the achievement of
                           site goals and priorities.

2. Inquiry Focussed Processes engage stakeholders to inquire into
                           practices and performance to identify strengths,
                           challenges, and key improvement actions.

3. Collaborative           Processes involve all stakeholders (parents,
                           community, learners, staff) and external partners
                           such as the Regional Office where appropriate.

4. Well Managed            Processes are led by the site leader or working party
                           determined by the site leader and Governing Council.
                           Known processes are enacted in a timely manner and
                           evaluated for effectiveness.

5. Comprehensive           Self Review processes examine all aspects of site
                           performance and operations. The DECS Principles
                           of Improvement and Effectiveness provide a
                           comprehensive approach to site Self Review.
                           Alternative approaches are to be negotiated by
                           the site community with the Regional Director.
                           (e.g. Council of International Schools or Australian
                           Business Excellence Framework).

6. Actioned                Self Review findings lead to strategic actions within
                           future site directions and intervention and support

7. Ongoing                 Monitoring and reflection on performance occurs
                           throughout the year.

8. Contextual              Processes reflect the needs and aspirations of the
                           local community, can be managed within available
                           resources and include the review of site priorities and

9. Standards Driven Processes review site performance against external
                           and internal standards.[Refer to the DECS Occasional
                           Paper: Standards for Improvement and Accountability

10. Ethically              Data are gathered and used for specific, agreed
    Conducted              purposes [refer to the DECS Data Protocols].
                           Personnel involved in data collection and analysis
                           maintain confidentiality and act with integrity. Data
                           are not used to identify individuals; rather to
                           focus on site performance trends and issues.

11. Communicated           Self Review helps to identify the achievement of site
                           goals and successes. Self Review findings are to be
                           reported to the site community and Regional Director
                           and inform the Annual Report.

12. validated              The Regional Director is able to validate the quality
                           and rigour of Self Review outcomes, processes and
                           actions over a three year cycle with sites.

   For further information: Quality, Improvement and Effectiveness Unit            Telephone 08 8226 1995

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