In every walk of life there are some measures to make ascertain the outcomes of evaluation of performance. So every society has its own measures (indicators). The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines indicator as person or thing that “points out”. Shami, Shah and Butt (2006) described indicators as variables/factors used to measure progress towards the goals/objectives. Indicators serve as a tool to measure the change and help in knowing the answer of the question that how far or how close is one from the objectives. In addition to it, indicators discover challenging or undesirable situation.
Shahzad (2007) identified three categories of indicators: input indicators, process indicators and output indicators. In put indicators consists on following steps:
- Manpower resources
Financial resources generally mean expenditure per student. Physical resources are the provision of such facilities as laboratories, libraries, classrooms and the access to required materials and equipments. Manpower or human resources include the personnel of different kinds as provision of staff and admission of students.
Process indicators consist of following points:
- Organization of educational environment
- Extra curricular activities
- Course requirements
- Teaching learning process
Output indicators include the consequences of educational process such as:
- Skills and values acquired by students.
Same categories are included in preparatory document for Ministerial Meeting of South Asia EFA Forum by Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan in collaboration with UNESCO office, Islamabad (2003) with focus on assessment and monitoring.
Figure 1.1: Model of Quality (Ministry of Education, Govt. of Pakistan 2003)
As for as the indicators of quality of achievement and learning of student is concerned, the said document identified some indicators of input, process and output which are as follows:
Purpose and Usage of Quality Indicators:
The sound theoretical and conceptual framework of some system needs some information for improving quality and for better decision making. The theoretical and conceptual framework must tie decisions that use this information to higher quality. Thus there is a dire need to attach one another various decisions, policies, processes and inputs to draw quality outputs. It seems the only way to transform the information into sound strategies to attain quality. It may only be done with the help of indicators. It seems the major purpose and usage of indicators.
Some indicators are having a wide variety of purposes and usage. Managers, administrators, decision makers, planners, researchers and educationists can use indicators in a same way for same purposes. Hamidullah further identified four uses of indicators. First use of indicators is that statements and development of policies in a definite and coherent way is done while keeping in view the relevant indicators.
Second use of indicators deals with the monitoring of changes taking place in the system. It is highly desirable in educational phenomenon to detect as soon as possible the indicators relating to enrolment ratios, achievement level and level of comprehension.
Indicators represent characteristics for research studies and it is the third usage of them. In addition to it, the fourth use of indicators is to provide facility to make a reliable and valid classification of education.
Now I come toward the in detail about some common quality of school indicators which are highly recommended by eminent educationists and scholars. These are as under:
Quality of school Indicators
Teacher is a person who teaches in an educational institution. It is a universal saying that quality of education depends 100% on quality of teachers. Teachers are the main indicator of improving school quality; some researchers suggest that school quality might be inseparable from teacher quality. Kain recently concluded in one study that teacher quality is the most important determinant of school quality.
(Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain 1998), in a study, discussed some suggestion that to ensure excellence, teachers should:
- Have high academic skills,
- Job assignment of teachers compatibility with qualification
- Participate in high-quality induction and professional development programs.
The Academic Skills of Teachers
It is believed that students learn more from teachers with strong academic skills than they do from teachers with weak academic skills. Teachers with good academic skills are the most important asset of an educational institution. Academic skills are acquired, sharpened and updated for making teaching dynamic. So it is necessary for a teacher to equip oneself with essential academic skills. Teachers’ academic skills are not routinely collected, the number of studies that look at this relationship is limited, and each uses a slightly different measurement method. The findings, however, are so consistent that there is broad agreement that teachers’ academic skills are linked to student learning.
This is not to say that academic skills perfectly predict how well a person will teach. Some educators argue that teacher quality has less to do with how well teachers perform on standardized tests than with how they perform in the classroom. In fact, classroom observation is the traditional way of assessing teacher quality. Obviously, several other traits not measured on standardized tests (such as interpersonal skills, public speaking skills, and enthusiasm for working with children) influence whether someone will be an effective teacher, but to date the only way these traits are systematically assessed is through formal classroom observation. Because these data are hard to quantify, most studies that have examined the link between teacher skills and student learning limit their definition of teacher skills to academic skills.
In short, teachers’ academic skills are the most important for school and students. Academic skills of teacher enhance the capacity of teaching learning process. Through the academic skills of teachers, it is easy to identify the quality of institutions.
Job Assignment of Teachers’ Compatibility with Qualification
It is very important indicator of quality school for teachers because teachers are the advertisement of institutions according to the philosophy of model schools. It is necessary for teachers that they must aware of their duties which institution has provided them. It is the assignment of teachers that they must up to date their knowledge and information according to the current situation.
It is in their job description that they abide by the rules of institutions while in class room; teachers must know how to make teaching more effective, purposeful and treat students in developmentally appropriate ways. They must serve students without bias or favoritism, keep attendance record, encourage students’ independence and pro-social behavior and prepare written progress reports according to the schools’ framework for biannual. It is job assignment of teachers that at some special events they must plan implement developmentally appropriate, submits event planning forming in timely manners and facilitates appropriate activities.
It is believed that experience of the teacher play a vital role in development of school and student knowledge. Experience makes the learning effective and purposeful. When we see teacher experience as a school indicator, it is a clear concept that learning through experience teachers at every level is more effective that the learning through non-experienced teacher. Many researches show that experience teachers are more competent in their subject. They also aware of the student psychology and can use helping aids in better way than non-experience teacher. In short, experience of develop the competency of teacher.
The quality of the teaching force may depend on the opportunities for development presented to those already teaching because entering teachers make up a minority of the teaching corps. Even though experts would likely agree that professional development should enhance student learning, there is no concrete statistical evidence of an association. This lack of statistical evidence may be because the quality of the data pertaining to professional development needs to be improved to understand more about its relationship with student learning.
Professional development can be making stronger when some one attend conferences or seminars. One can visit other schools so that to find out innovative ideas which one can discuss with staff members.
A research indicates some elements in its list of “principles of high quality professional development programs” these are:
- Focus on individual, collegial, and organizational improvement,
- Promote continuous inquiry and improvement embedded in the daily life of
- Are planned collaboratively by those who will participate in and facilitate that development,
- Require substantial time and other resources
II. Teaching Learning Process
Students learn in many ways by seeing or hearing, reflecting or acting, reasoning logically and intuitively, or by memorizing and visualizing. Just as people have individual learning styles; teachers have teaching styles that work best.
Teaching learning process is an important area that quality of school can be judge from the distance. If teaching learning process is going well definitely it effects of students result will be good. So, further we see what the factors which are indicator of school quality.
Pedagogy is an important indicator of teaching learning process. Pedagogy is an art and science of being teachers. Term pedagogy refers to strategies of instruction or style of instruction. Sometime it also refers to the correct use of teaching strategies. Pedagogy is an increasing focus of researchers’ attention because it illuminates the black box between educational inputs and student outcomes. This is a relatively new research area. When earlier research failed to identify a consistent relationship between resources and student achievement, researchers began to investigate variation in how those resources (teachers, classrooms, materials) were combined. At present, there is little agreement about the relative effectiveness of two prevalent types of pedagogical approaches, and improved national instructional practices data might help inform this debate. Supporters of traditional instruction, such as drill and practice activities in which students work toward skill mastery, suggest that this approach provides teacher-directed control and structure of classroom activities. If teachers use teaching learning strategies in effective way, it granted good results but when teaching will not be so effective the results students are not appreciate able it mean there is little fault in teaching learning process. It is an important indicator to check school quality.
Use of technology enhances the learning experience of students. According Soul 2007, all learning material that can enhance the learning material student is known as helping material or the technologies that can be use in the classroom. Use of instructional material or use of helping aids is strong indicator of teaching learning process. Through technology teaching and learning process become effective in such a way that different mantle level of students can get benefits from the class. Use of technology in class creates motivation in students. Through this teaching learning process become pleasant. It develops the sensation power in student and is useful for slow learners. As technologies are the creation of modern era so it lessons the traditional methods in teaching. It consolidates the psychological aspects of students.
Use of technologies improves the quality of school. In Pakistani society technology and computers are rapidly appearing in schools and redefining the perception of a quality school. Computers and internet access are used in a variety of ways in schools, and each use may have an independent impact on student learning. Very little research on the effect of technology on learning looks at the uses and effect of internet access; most examines the instructional power of the computer to teach separate skills. Numerous studies conducted in the elementary and secondary grades have concluded that student learning is enhanced by computers when the computer is used to teach separate skills in the style referred to as “drill and practice.” The impact of technology on the learning achievements of students plays a vital role in development of student behavior. If the school is failed to provide the length of computers, internet, multimedia and other instructional materials then it will effect on students performance. Lot of researches has been conducted in different advanced countries of the world on the impact of technologies on the learning achievement of learners on quality of school education. Clear gaps can be seen in these researches that schools that use technology perform better instead of those schools that can not use materials.
How teachers implement the instructional pedagogy and technology use in the classroom may all be influenced by the number of students in the class. Manipulating class size as a way to improve student learning is now at the forefront of the education policy debate because some evidence suggests that students may achieve more in smaller classes, particularly primary-grade students who are minorities or who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Why does class size matter, and how might it affect student learning? With fewer students, teachers may be able to employ a different pedagogical approach and implement the curriculum in a more effective manner. Figure 3.7 presents a model proposed by the office of educational research and improvement for how class size may affect student achievement. In the model, class size influences instructional behavior, and both class size and instructional behavior have an impact on student engagement. Higher levels of student engagement lead to higher achievement and vice versa, creating a cycle that leads to greater learning and productivity. The number of studies examining the relationship between class size and teaching quality are limited, and a better understanding is needed of the effects of class size on instructional practice and the quality of the classroom environment. From the limited research available, there is evidence that teachers in smaller classrooms deal with fewer disciplinary problems, spend more time on instruction and enrichment activities, and offer more opportunities for student participation. Teachers also express greater satisfaction and report better morale when working with smaller classes. Do smaller classes also lead to greater learning? Hundreds of studies focus on the relationship between class size and student achievement, and several researchers have compiled and analyzed these studies. Most of these meta-analyses have concluded that smaller classes do raise student test scores. Glass and smith (1979) concluded that students in classes of 20 or fewer students perform better academically than students in larger classes.
Slavin (1989) used a different set of studies that looked at class-size reductions over a year or more and that compared regular-sized classes with those that were at least 30 percent smaller and had 20 students or less and also found that small classes increased student learning. He estimated the median effect size of attending a small class rather than a large class has a 0.13 standard deviation increase in student test scores; this effect did not seem to follow students when they returned to regular-sized classrooms.
One of the most frequently cited attributes of schools with high levels of student learning and consistent positive student growth is that schools emphasize and students take advantage of a challenging and appropriate curriculum. Unless students are productively engaged in appropriately challenging academic study, a school’s orderly atmosphere will have little effect on student learning. Knowing what school-level policies and school wide actions encourage students into recommended course-taking patterns and toward academic success is useful information for schools searching for greater success. To understand these issues, research suggests that we must know whether and how student performance is related to the school’s course offerings academic versus vocational and the students’ responses to those course offerings and the extent to which the school encourages students into particular enrollment patterns and holds high expectations for their success. Results have been widely reported in several analyses. All things being equal, academic programs promote academic achievement, using the same data, concur. Controlling for student characteristics, they find that student achievement is greater in schools where, among other factors, students take a higher number of math courses. Does this suggest that a school can raise its student achievement levels merely by offering students a narrow, highly academic program with limited course selection?
Chubb and Moe (1990) suggest gains are related to the academic environment in the following way. The percentage of students enrolled in the academic track is an indicator of the programmatic orientation of the school that the school places on academic work and captures how aggressively schools track students into academic programs and how extensively academic work contributes to the school’s general climate.
Examinations and Assessment
Exams are dire need of time, it checks once capacity of acquiring knowledge of the period, it is required to differentiate person from one another of provided topic to be acquired knowledge. Examination and assessment of students is very important indicator to check the quality of schools. Every institution faces the category of input, process and out put but every critical minded person sees the out put of institution. If out put of institute is excellent one can think that the institution is good, if the results of institute is poor then one thinks that school has poor quality. So, through this indicator it is easy to assume the quality of school. Many researches in Pakistan and on international level have been conducted to assess school quality through assessment.
Students are the advertisement of school. Through students feedback one can get information about the quality of school. From students one can get information about the academic and social environment of school. They can give information about school staff either they are academically sound or professionally developed. Other thing from which one can judge the quality of school, either there is positive change in student personality and behavior. If there is any positive response then it means quality wise school is good.
Ten indicators of school quality that in this assignment has been suggested which are related to improving student learning are the focus of this assignment. These indicators of quality cover two areas of schools: the characteristics of teachers and teaching learning process. Many of the indicators in this assignment are supported by evidence that a statistical association exists between the indicator and student learning. But in several instances, even though experts would agree that certain indicators should enhance student learning.