1.1 Establish a school performance framework


+ A school performance framework (SPF) is a tool used to assess the performance of schools across multiple, common measures. An SPF tells you and your stakeholders how schools are doing and provides the critical data you need to take school actions.

An School Performance Framework helps you:

Know your schools: The quality of each school will be clearly measured on multiple indicators and accessible to the district and community.

Define success: Expectations are clear and both the central office and schools can assess the quality of education provided to students.

Improve schools: The school system is managed with the overall goal of increasing access to quality education programs. This goal is realized by creating and expanding successful schools, and taking action to address struggling ones.

+ The Texas A-F framework offers a baseline for your local school performance framework.

You can build on the Texas A-F framework in one of the following ways:

Adopt the Texas A-F System: Use the existing state accountability system and letter grades.

Expand the Texas A-F System: Build upon the existing state accountability system and letter grades for academic scores by combining it with locally-developed metrics.

+ A high-level development and execution plan will start you and your team off on the right foot.

Select your team:

  • Pick a project manager and small team for initial design.
  • Collect existing district data that could inform the school performance framework.

Simulate data from previous years:

  • Develop test ratings to understand how schools will score.
  • Develop a year one baseline.

Form a working group:

  • Convene district staff who will work closely with inputs and/or outputs of the school performance framework.
  • Present the school performance framework to district leadership.

Engage with stakeholders:

  • Include district leadership, community members, school staff, and parents in discussions on the school performance framework.
  • Present different options to stakeholders.

Develop the final year one baseline:

  • Calculate proposed ratings for all schools.
  • Circulate ratings for one last test among district staff – do the ratings pass a basic “reality” test?

Rollout ratings on a test basis with schools:

  • Meet individually or with groups of school leaders to introduce and explain results.
  • Clarify that these are “no stakes” ratings at this point.
  • Ensure sufficient time for stakeholders to provide feedback and get comfortable with the ratings.

Launch a “no stakes” first year:

  • Clarify from the outset that the initial year will be a “test” and that no consequences will arise from year one ratings.
  • Present the results of the year one baseline school performance framework to local political and community leaders.
  • Consider holding rollout events at schools to explain the results.
  • Make district staff available to field questions.

+ It is critical to consistently engage with all stakeholders and present a clear and aligned message.

Engage the Community: Develop a coherent, consistent message about why school performance frameworks are necessary and communicate with key stakeholders. Highlight the benefits of the school performance framework for all interested parties.

Once the school performance framework is adopted, it is critical for districts to have a clear plan on how and when results from the framework will be reported to schools and the public. After the necessary data to run the framework become available, framework results should be released in a timely manner in conjunction with a clear communications plan.

Don't Surprise Schools: Present data from previous academic years aligned to the potential framework to show schools where they stand based on the new standards. Before the rollout of the final framework, it is critical to send framework results to schools and other key stakeholders for feedback and to review data integrity.

Check for Alignment: If your district employs other evaluation tools, such as teacher or leader evaluations, it is important to align your school performance framework timelines with the results from these other tools. Ideally, you will have available the results from all evaluation systems at approximately the same time so that a full data-set is available to inform your recommendations.


Dallas SPF

Camden SPF

New York City SPF

Click the "Curated Resources" button below for more examples