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 A Self-Assessment Tool: A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement


This Self-Assessment Tool: A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement enables you to (a) identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current high school reform efforts and (b) align and build on these current and planned reform initiatives to develop a comprehensive high school improvement plan that will result in rigorous and high-quality teaching and learning for all students. This tool is based on the National High School Center’s Eight Elements of High School Improvement, a systemic framework that builds on comprehensive high school reform research and A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A District and School Self-Assessment Tool.

More than a diagnostic tool, this self-assessment is a starting point for identifying high school improvement priorities.

Eight Elements of High School Improvement

1. Rigorous Curriculum and Instruction: Ensure that all students have access to rigorous curricula and instruction designed to meet college and career readiness standards.
2. Assessment and Accountability: Implement coherent assessment and accountability systems that cover a broad range of formal and informal assessment policies and practices and that are consistent and coherent.
3. Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Growth: Implement teacher effectiveness and professional development systems that recognize a teacher’s need for deep content and pedagogical knowledge and skills and include a broad set of recruitment, induction, professional growth, and retention policies and practices.
4. Student and Family Involvement: Provide all students with positive conditions for learning that address the whole child, including family-focused support and engagement.
5. Stakeholder Engagement: Involve school and community stakeholders to leverage their interests, skills, and resources for—and create a sense of ownership of—high school improvement strategies and initiatives.
6. Effective Leadership: High school improvement strategies and initiatives require a team of high-quality instructional and organizational leaders that improve student achievement.
7. Organization and Structure: Ensure that the school organizational and physical structures are designed and revised to support student needs.
8. Sustainability: Identify and commit adequate resources for supporting continuous high school improvement strategies and initiatives.


The self-assessment is divided into eight elements of high school improvement that are each broken up into several focus areas. The focus areas are then further divided into indicators of effectiveness. You will be asked to respond to a series of indicators of effectiveness for each focus area of an element. After you have finalized all of the indicator responses for an element, you can generate a summary report for that specific element. Once all eight elements are completed, you can generate two summary reports for all of the elements.

The online tool allows you to start and complete the assessment over a period of time. If you choose to start and then complete the self-assessment at a later time, please be sure to write down the assessment ID provided to you in red text on the Main Menu page after you log in for the first time or in the upper right-hand corner of the screen on each page of the tool.

WARNING: Because the information in this tool is anonymous, the system assigns a random ID number to users, and the National High School Center does not link identifiable information to the randomly assigned IDs. Therefore, if you lose this ID or the email with a copy of the ID, the National High School Center will NOT be able to retrieve this information, and you will have to start the assessment over.

If you have further questions regarding the use of this tool, please email them to

To begin the process, please click the Start Assessment button or, if you are a returning user, enter your assessment ID.

First Time Users:

Click the Start Assessment button to begin the process. An assessment ID will be generated and displayed on the following page, which you can use to continue the assessment at a later time. Enter your e-mail address below, and we will send your assessment ID to you.

E-Mail address: (optional)

Returning Users:

If you have an assessment ID, enter it below to continue your self-assessment.

Assessment ID: