A curriculum management audit is basically an “exception” report. That is, it does not give a summative, overall view of the suitability of a system. Rather, it holds the system up to scrutiny against the predetermined standards of quality, notes relevant findings about the system, and cites discrepancies from audit standards. Recommendations are then provided accordingly to help the district improve its quality in the areas of noted deficiency.
This audit is unusual, in that the Clover Park School District demonstrates high commitment to improve its quality, and by all measures it is a school system working to get better over time.
The curriculum management audit, authorized by the Board, provides information and recommendations for the Board and Superintendent to drive decisions toward that improvement. The audit information is intended to be of help in identifying what the system should be like, what it is like, and what it can do to close the gap.
The audit looked at governance and management first. Board policies were found inadequate to instruct school personnel and the public about what the Board’s specifications and requirements are in terms of teaching and learning. To eliminate fragmentation, the Board needs to develop clear goals, objectives, or courses of action for the Clover Park School District, making it very possible for the school system to operate coherently and in a focused manner. Moreover, the organizational structure needs changing to make it more responsive and accountable, and job descriptions are needed for all key personnel to assure unified action toward system missions.
In the area of direction, the auditors found that the curriculum requirements for students were provided in grades K-8, but not in 9-12, leaving teachers without direction as to what should be taught and the teaching sequence. Curriculum guides were so disparate and low in quality that direction in teacher lesson planning could not be adequate or aligned with either Board goals for learners or assessment instruments in use. The instructional program needs a quality set of curriculum documents for teacher use to build continuity and improved achievement.
Classroom instruction did not reflect the descriptions made by the system about what it wants in its classrooms, and teaching was mostly routine and repetitive without much evidence of instructional efficacy. Better direction for curriculum and teaching is needed.
Other areas in need of improvement were found in the area of connectivity and equity. Staff development wasn’t having much of an impact on teacher behavior in the classroom, articulation between grade levels and coordination across classrooms was inadequate, and students were not likely to receive the benefit of a well-designed sequence of learning activities in the system.
Principals need to be trained in curriculum monitoring. Teachers often don’t see principals as having much skill in helping teachers improve what they teach or how they teach it.
Special education design and delivery was found to be inconsistent across the system, and students were found to not receive equal opportunities for success. Race was found to be associated with serious discrepancies in educational opportunities, and equity and equality for students were inadequate.
The system is in need of better and more frequent assessment information to monitor student achievement and system program and activity results. With better information about what is being obtained, the Board would be better positioned to make appropriate decisions at the policy level for the system, and the Superintendent would be able to make appropriate decisions as to courses of action to follow.
Clover Park School District Audit Report Page 126