Susan L. Hillman, Professor of Teacher Education, Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, U.S.A. and International Associate with Adhyayan
Recently, the Adhyayan Quality Standard process was conducted with several schools in Mumbai. As a part of this process, Adhyayan Assessors conducted external reviews of each school to validate the quality of education based on six Key Performance Areas (KPAs). This provided an opportunity for the Adhyayan team to train new external assessors. As one of the new people being trained as an assessor, this experience gave me new insights about the meaning of quality education.
The Adhyayan Quality Standard is a cyclical process of self-examination, validated by external review, for the purpose of continuous attention to providing quality education for all children. The experience of beginning my training as an Adhyayan Assessor has been an educational experience in itself. As an International Associate for Adhyayan for the past five months, I have learned a great deal about the vision this group has for working with schools to develop, assess, and improve educational experiences and learning opportunities for children.
The process of becoming an Adhyayan external assessor, involves observing and participating in the Adhyayan Quality Standard led by experienced Adhyayan Assessors. This experience includes three days of working with a School Self-Review Team consisting of:
• One day of orientation training for the School Self-Review Team to be able to gather evidence and make judgements based on international standards for “what good looks like” related to six Key Performance Areas (KPAs)
• A day of participating with an external review team of Adhyayan Assessors to gather evidence and make judgements using the same diagnostic tool as the School Self-Review Team
• A day of Quality Dialogue and Planning where conversations between the Adhyayan Assessors and the School Self-Review Team takes place to analyze and interpret the evidence to identify what the school does well and areas for improvement.
Quality education definitely involves teaching and learning opportunities that help develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving. However, quality teaching and learning is dependent on effective leadership and management that supports this kind of teaching and learning, establishing and maintaining a learning environment focused on the child, implementing a curriculum that allows children and teachers to interact with the content and processes of learning, connecting and applying this learning through community interactions and partnerships, and maximizing the infrastructure and resources that support the learning community of the school.
Being trained as an Adhyayan Assessor provided an experience to examine evidence for each of these key areas of performance for its impact on the learning of children. Examining evidence and measuring to international standards of “what good looks like” emphasizes the need for considering what evidence is gathered, what the evidence represents, and the degree to which it holds true across the educational institution being examined. This experience has sharpened my skills in observation and left me with a broader view of what makes an educational experience of the highest quality.