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Once we strip away the test scores and all the traditional data (quantitative) measures of school success—how do we define and assess successful schools?  If you are a principal, a teacher, a student, a parent, a community member—how do you describe what a successful school looks like without referencing standardized test scores?

This is seemingly a simple question, but it is one weighing heavily on my mind when I think about alternate forms of data to tell the story of learning in a school.  It’s a question that begs to be asked when you are trying to convince the Advanced Placement teacher whose students typically score 4s and 5s on their AP exams that you as a school library program have valuable learning experiences to offer his or her students.  While data driven collaboration is certainly important in today’s educational climate for school libraries, I still believe a bigger vision of how we measure success beyond test scores (that are often flawed or misleading) is needed when articulating the mission and purpose of education and what a successful school looks like without referencing the latest AP exam or SAT scores.

How would your administrators, school board members, students, teachers, parents, legislators, and community members describe a successful school in the absence of standardized tests?  What does a successful school look like to you?