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How do we measure success?

November 8, 2019

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a community member who is a student in a Ph.D. program at a prestigious University. The candidates were conducting a case study related to defining, delivering, and measuring value within an organization. It was a fascinating conversation. The community member asked how value is defined, measured, and delivered within a school district. Specifically, we talked about the concept as it relates to the Saline Compass. When one looks at Saline Area Schools, the tangibles are there:  rankings, graduation rates, composite SAT, and ACT scores. Saline students perform exceptionally well based on these traditional measures. Collectively, as a community, these rankings remain among the highest in the state.

But do test scores and graduation rates tell the real story?

When one starts to think about defining value within the framework of the learner profile (Compass) attributes that we want our students to possess as they exit the Saline Schools, it is quickly evident that “value” is more complicated than any single score. Over the last several years, we have taken a new approach. Engaging Saline alumni is now an essential component used to determine the impact of our work.  To truly understand the long-term influence of the educational system, it is vitally important to consider the impact those experiences played when the graduates were attending school in Saline.

The value delivered by Saline Area Schools to the students rests in the eight learner attributes of the Learner Profile/SAS Compass: ethical and responsible citizen, creative innovator, complex thinker and problem solver, positive communicator, financially and digitally literate, globally-connected, motivated & self-directed, and collaborative leader. Those attributes define value-added education.

Currently, we are working on two initiatives related to gathering feedback from Saline alumni. The first is a systemic approach to collecting and analyzing specific input from a cross-section of alumni. This first focus group is graduates from the years 2011-2014. Former students in that demographic should have adequate life experiences so that they can reflect on the impact of their education in Saline. 

The second approach is to take the feedback that we have received over the last several years and use that input to improve our existing system. We need more alumni feedback to help us in this effort. We are currently looking for a 2014 alumnus to sit on a panel of other recent graduates from around Washtenaw County to provide us with insight as we look to partner with other local districts to expand internship opportunities for seniors.


If you are or know of a 2014 Saline graduate that might be interested in participating on this panel on December 9th from 12-2 pm – please click this link.

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