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School Assessments

The Penn Literacy Network’s academic program assessments are aimed at looking closely at various aspects of a school or district’s learning environment and teaching practices.  The process involves the completion of self-reflection and/or needs assessment surveys, school and classroom visitations and semi-structured one-on-one or small group conversations with teachers and/or school leaders.  The data is compiled into a report for school leadership to use to inform decisions regarding future professional development and curricular planning. The focus/foci of the assessment is determined based on the needs of the school/district and in collaboration between the leadership team and PLN.  Primary and secondary (if applicable) foci may include, but are not limited to:

  • Teacher perception of their own teaching practice, considering the State Standards and/or curriculum
  • Teacher perception/practice of literacy across the curriculum
  • Professional development needs
  • Clarifying and refining curriculum 
  • School leadership
  • Support systems for teachers: school culture, collaboration, coaching, etc.
  • The learning environment as an invitation for learning 

Five Step Process

While each assessment is developed specifically to meet the needs of the participating school/district, the assessment involves five general steps:

  1. Identification of the assessment focus/foci: PLN team meets with the school/district leadership to determine the primary and any secondary foci for the assessment and to gather important background information. 
  2. Survey of educators: During staff meeting time, the PLN assessment manager visits the school and staff completes assessment surveys specific for the primary/secondary foci.  Surveys are anonymous. 
  3. Survey compilation: The PLN manager compiles survey data and determines trends as a foundation for the school/classroom visits.
  4. School and classroom visits: The manager visits the school and various classrooms to record observations and hold semi-structured, one-on-one or small group discussions with teachers and school leaders.
  5. Report: The manager compiles the final assessment report and presents findings to the school leadership team and other audiences if applicable.