School Self-Assessment and Inquiry

The AED Center for School and Community Services has worked extensively in developing and promoting inquiry approaches to school improvement. This includes work in school self-assessment and reviewing student work. The overall goal of such approaches is to help schools build, deepen, and sustain a reflective, collaborative culture focused on the improvement of teaching to promote increased learning for all students. A school undertaking self-assessment involves its whole staff in a process of goal-setting regarding student learning and sets in motion an ongoing cycle of internal self-review and external peer review. A school engaged in reviewing student work engages in a regular and rigorous study of student work as a foundation for planning and implementing instructional improvements.

AED developed and promoted these approaches it the Michigan Middle Start School Self-Assessment Project (1996-03) and the Reviewing Student Work/Improving Student Achievement (1998-02).

These approaches are also described extensively in Teaching as Inquiry: Asking Hard Questions to Improve Practice and Student Achievement by Alexandra Weinbaum (AED), David Allen, Tina Blythe, Katherine Simon, Steve Seidel and Catherine Rubin (New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2004). Based on the experiences of three leading educational organizations, the authors provide invaluable, research-based guidelines for incorporating inquiry into teachers' instructional practices and student work as part of the ongoing work of schools. To order books, please contact 800-575-6566 or the Teachers College Press website. For desk copy request go to