Measure what you treasure

Nothing is more important for building and maintaining the integrity of an independent school than living according to its founding ethos and philosophy.  A school’s foundational positions are usually expressed formally though public statements such as the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Statement of Values.

So, how can the leadership of a school monitor the extent to which its mission, vision and values are being achieved in practice?  Ideally, the answer should be to conduct an assessment that focuses specifically on measuring mission and values performance.

But there’s a problem. The tyranny of measurement suggests “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, and values are notoriously difficult to measure.  That is why core values tend to get neglected when schools undertake their traditional performance reviews.

I am proud to announce that Optimal School Governance has now addressed this significant shortcoming of traditional school appraisal and performance review processes.  We have crafted an original ground-breaking tool that authentically evaluates a school’s performance in achieving its mission, vision and values.

We have named this targeting instrument the Schools Mission Appraisal Reporting Tool (SMART).

SMART is derived from methodological approaches that were first developed in the field of environmental sustainability, another specialty area in which developing reliable evaluative indicators is notoriously challenging.  SMART thus draws upon extensive academic and project-based research into developing values-based measures and applies these to the specific needs of assessing values in schools.

SMART shifts the key question away from “what can be measured using current methods and datasets?” to “what should be measured to ensure progress towards the kind of education that will enhance achievement of the school’s mission, vision and values?”.

Experience in many schools has demonstrated that what gets measured gets done, and by implication, anything that is left unmeasured is likely to be neglected.  SMART offers a solution to this challenge.

The indicators used in SMART: 

Rather than relying on simple, generic, easily quantified factors, SMART focusses on the distinctive characteristics that authentically target a school’s unique identity – its mission, vision and values.  SMART thus overcomes one of the main shortcomings of traditional school appraisal and performance review processes – their neglect of a school’s core ethos and values. 

You can learn more about SMART here.

-Dr Stephen Codrington

Read more about SMART on the SMART webpage.

You can initiate a conversation about SMART by sending an e-mail to Stephen Codrington at [email protected]

We also offer a range of well developed, affordable performance reviews for all levels of middle and senior management that are conducted professionally, confidentially and comprehensively, together with our acclaimed, comprehensive board performance reviews.

You may also be interested in previous articles which are archived at