How effective school leaders can improve student performance

Improving student performance is one of the biggest challenges schools face. Urban America faces an even greater challenge, because education is not always a high priority in students’ homes. Despite obstacles, school leadership must have a goal and a plan to improve student performance. This requires cooperation between the school leadership and the teachers.

Before a successful plan can be developed, the school must investigate why students are unsuccessful. Here are some reasons why schools have trouble improving student performance:

1. Lack of proper instruction

2. Lack of student effort

3. Curriculum not in accordance with what is on standard test and state standards

4. Lack of testing skills

5. Poor test atmosphere

6. Teachers who have no knowledge of their field

7. Poor classroom management

8. Lack of prior knowledge of students

9. Lack of student motivation

10. Class sizes too big

Headmasters can use various tools to think of reasons why students are not performing at their school. They should start with classroom observations to see if teachers have the capacity to teach. Once that is complete, principals can use other ways to help identify why students have academic problems. This may include analyzing test data from the past three years, conducting reading tests on students to determine their reading level, examining the curriculum and alignment with state standards, examining school homework policies, and administering surveys among students for their input on academic issues they have. In addition, administrators should ask teachers for their opinion based on facts and their daily observation of students.

Once the school has identified why students are unsuccessful, a plan must be made to resolve these issues. Sometimes this involves replacing a teacher because of his or her poor teaching skills, although this should be the last option.

The following are some general strategies that may be part of the plan to improve student performance, such as:

1. Develop a self-study program for the school. This can be done before and after school. Teachers and some of the school’s brightest students can help with the program, and self-study should be mandatory for all students in need.

2. Schools can apply mathematics and language arts lessons during the school day. Schools may require students to take remedial classes in addition to their regular class to help them catch up on their level of competence.

3. Schools can purchase software programs that help students with their shortcomings. These software programs can be used before school, during class, after school and at home.

4. All students must take a reading test to determine their reading level. Students reading below the level should receive an individual development plan on how to improve their reading level. This can also be done for math.

5. Teachers should all have a template of what a good lesson looks like. Teaching best practices should be included in the template.

6. Teachers should include collaborative lessons where possible. Students should learn how to work together in their lessons. Small group assignments must be included.

7. Reading and writing should be an important part of the plan to improve student performance.

8. The school should provide assistance in teaching teachers. It can be helpful to use best practices in the classroom.

9. School should have a strong homework policy for all classes.

10. Data must provide instruction.

An important part of the strategy to improve student performance and solve some of the above academic problems should include a school-wide professional development plan. Schools must use data to guide the professional development plan. Time should be taken to give teachers weekly professional development during the school year. In addition, the leadership should plan professional development activities for the entire school day several times a school year, without students.

Once the school has developed a collaborative plan to improve student performance, students will see improvements in their grades and the school culture will become more positive.

Source by Ronnie Phillips