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On-Site School Assessment School Improvement Process (OSASIP)


What is Foundations On-Site School Assessment School Improvement Process?

The On-Site School Assessment School Improvement Process (OSASIP™) is a tool that Foundations uses to assess school effectiveness, measure school performance and student achievement, develop improvement plans with timelines and implementation strategies, and provide follow-up services in plan implementation. The OSASIP™ model evolved out of the experiences of Foundations' leadership in district schools and charter schools in the Delaware Valley. Work on this comprehensive school performance assessment and improvement process was initiated under a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and field tested under a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. To date, Foundations has conducted OSASIP™ for more than 40 charter and district schools in 15 states.

How Does an OSASIP™ Enhance School Performance?

School leaders and staff need to know what successful schools look like, how they function, and whether their own schools measure up. To meet this need, the OSASIP™ has been designed as a comprehensive means of evaluating school effectiveness and enabling schools to meet or exceed performance standards that are set for them by state departments of educations, boards of education, school authorizers, parents, partners, and sponsors. Building on its strong base of knowledge and experience, Foundations has developed and refined specific processes and concrete tools that enable school leaders to focus on student and school success.

The OSASIP can assist school leaders in enhancing school performance by:

  • Highlighting school operations that impact performance
  • Identifying explicit standards of performance
  • Providing feedback on strengths and weaknesses
  • Guiding improvement planning
  • Fostering internal team building
  • Increasing communications
  • Documenting school practices, performance results, and year-to-year changes
  • Guiding appropriate changes in practice to obtain better student performance
  • Identifying educational resources

The Assessment Instrument (OSASIP™)

The OSASIP™ is built around areas that Foundations considers the "Essential Building Blocks of School Success." There are 22 Building Blocks in all, from Accountability and Planning, to English Language Learning, Leadership, and Technology. To focus efforts for obtaining improved performance, Foundations broke down the 22 Building Blocks into 90 Components, and broke down the Components into over 2,000 "observables." Observables provide specific statements of best practice against which a particular school's practice can be measured. The OSASIP™ also makes use of rubrics that are scored on a scale of "5" to "1" enabling comparisons of relative strength and weakness for all indicators.

The OSASIP™ focuses on those performance measures that are linked to school and student success. The Building Blocks have been prioritized for their relative contribution to improving student achievement and have been divided into three tiers. In the first tier are the Building Blocks and the associated standards that most directly impact school and student success:

  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • Leadership
  • Professional Development
  • School Climate and Student Behavior
  • Student Assessment

While these Building Blocks have the greatest impact on school and student success, they alone will not result in success without the support and integration of the other Building Blocks. All are necessary for schools to be successful, but those in the first tier have a greater impact than others.

The second tier includes Building Blocks that are important in supporting school and student success:

  • Accountability and Planning
  • Administrative Services
  • After School
  • Business and Finance
  • English Language Learning
  • Governance and Educational Law
  • Parent and Community Involvement
  • School Safety and Security
  • Special Education
  • Student Health and Support
  • Technology

In the third tier are the Building Blocks that are vital for establishing the base upon which the school organization and student performance can rest and which have the greatest impact on school success in the initial stages of school operations. Once established, these processes are ongoing and must be maintained at an effective level of operation in order to meet the changing needs of the school. Included in this tier are:

  • Facilities
  • Human Resources
  • Office Management
  • Public Relations
  • Supplemental Funding.

For school and student performance levels that are already high, efforts need to be made to sustain those levels. When performance levels fall below expectations, schools should design and carry out plans to improve performance. The OSASIP™ is a tool that can help individual schools see their strengths and needs and utilize that information in order to improve student performance.

How Does the Assessment Process Work?

Prior to the scheduled visit, the assessment team leader will communicate with the school leader. Included in the letter to the school leader will be a request for a list of documents pertinent to each of the Building Blocks to be assessed. These documents will be reviewed by the assessment team prior to the scheduled visit. Once on site, the team may request additional documents. The school leader will also be directed to develop a schedule of focus groups, including all stakeholder groups, so that the visiting team may plan their schedule of activities around the focus groups.

During their visit, the assessment team, composed of Foundations staff and consultants with experience in the grade level and specialties that are relevant to a particular school, utilizes the rubric scale for each standard to rate school performance in some or all of the 22 Building Blocks. The team will interview staff, students, parents, board members, and other stakeholders individually and/or in focus groups and make observations of all areas of the school including activities such as arrival and dismissal, instruction, lunch, recess, passing between classes, and special events that may occur during the visit. At the end of the visit, the team meets with school leaders for a debriefing on key findings and next steps.

The size of the assessment team and the length of the visit depend on the size of the school, the complexity of its programs, and the number of Building Blocks to be assessed. A typical team is between three and six experienced assessors who spend between two to four consecutive days on site with up to two days of preparation for each team member prior to the visit and up to a day of consultation among team members following the visit. Prior to the visit, the team meets to review the relevant OSASIP™ materials and school documents, and to plan specific questions and activities for the visit.

Based on the team's interactions with school leaders, staff, students, parents, board members, and other stakeholders; observations; and review of documents; the team assigns ratings to all components within the Building Blocks under study. The ratings range between "5" and "1." A rating of "5" indicates the school's performance exceeds expectations in that area; "4" indicates it meets expectations; "3" indicates it falls just below expectations; "2" indicates it falls somewhat below expectations; and "1" indicates it falls significantly below expectations. To demonstrate how to move the school's performance to the next level, the team also generates one or more recommendations and suggests specific improvement strategies for any Component rated "3" or lower (falling below expectations). In some cases, the team may also make a comment or recommendation for a Component rated "4" or higher.

The team then prepares a report of its findings, ratings, and recommendations. The report includes the recommendations and improvement strategies both in the body and in the appendix. The appendix is formatted as an improvement plan grid which also provides space for the school to indicate when action will be taken, by whom, and the projected costs. The report is delivered to the school leaders and board members, often in a presentation by representative members of the assessment team and Foundations representatives who are available for discussion.

Should the school desire, the assessment team will develop a comprehensive school improvement plan based on the information gathered during the on-site visit. The improvement plan will include specific recommended actions to be taken, a suggested timeline for implementation, and possible resources that may be used to achieve success. The improvement plan is organized by individual Building Blocks with specific recommendations for improvement presented in chronological order across Building Blocks to assist schools in establishing priorities for action.

Nature of the Report

The OSASIP™ report is divided into six sections: an executive summary, four narrative sections, and an appendix.

  • The executive summary presents an overview of the process and summaries of the major findings and major recommendations.
  • The first narrative section describes the purpose and organization of the OSASIP™. It includes the methods the site assessment team used to gather and evaluate data, the team's qualifications, and a list of the documents the team reviewed.
  • The second narrative section summarizes the school's current programs and statistics as a context for the findings. It provides narrative information abut the school's organizational history, mission, vision, educational program, student demographics, and staffing.
  • The third narrative section presents the team's findings and includes detailed recommendations for improvement and detailed strategies.
  • The fourth narrative section identifies major recommendations and next steps that cut across a number of areas. The fourth section also offers concluding thoughts.
  • The appendix contains a grid for improvement planning. It lists all the detailed strategies that the team recommends for consideration which appear in the third section, but it also includes space for filling in dates, responsible parties, and projected costs for each of the listed strategies

For more information please email schoolservices@foundationsinc.org or call 888-977-5437

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