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School Quality in the Free State
of Saxony: Criteria Description

Contents
Introduction
3
Framework model of school quality
5
Overview of all areas, features and criteria of school quality
6
Quality area: Results
8
Quality feature: Fulfilment of educational mission
8
Quality feature: Educational and training success
11
Quality feature: School satisfaction
12
Quality area: Teaching and learning
13
Quality feature: Teaching and learning organisation
13
Quality feature: Teaching and learning processes
14
Quality area: School culture
18
Quality feature: Values and standards of the school
18
Quality feature: School climate
19
Quality feature: Individual support
20
Quality area: Development of professionalism
22
Quality feature: Systematic cooperation with the teaching staff
22
Quality feature: Lifelong learning
23
Quality area: Management and leadership
24
Quality feature: Administration and resource management
24
Quality feature: Leadership
25
Quality feature: Quality assurance and quality improvement
26
Quality feature: Personnel development
27
Quality feature: Selection of personnel
28
Quality area: Cooperation
29
Quality feature: Student and parent participation
29
Quality feature: National and international cooperation
30
Note:
Students, teachers, head teachers, staff, etc. are always understood to be both male and female through-
out this entire paper.

Introduction
Introduction
School quality improvement in the
Free State of Saxony
There is a consensus that the school quality in the Free State of Saxony should
be further developed in a sustainable manner. The demand for quality im-
provement applies to both individual schools and the education system as a
whole. Measures for quality improvement are enshrined in the Saxon Educa-
tion Act. In addition to the requirement to provide a school programme, the
performance of an internal and external evaluation as well as the provision of
a personnel development and further education concept for the schools is
mandatory.
In order to achieve its educational mission, the school develops its own educa-
Legal basis
tional concept and plans and designs the lesson and its organisation based on
the curricula under its own responsibility. The school defines educational,
didactic and organisational principles to fulfil the educational mission within
the limit of available resources in a school programme. On the basis of the
school programme, the school and the school supervisory authorities evaluate
the result of educational work at regular intervals (par. 1 Education Act). The
head teacher also bears responsibility for staff development and the further
education concept for teachers of his/her school (par. 42 Education Act).
Section 59a states that the result of educational and training activities and the
implementation of the school programme are to be reviewed regularly. Major
points of reference for reviewing student performances and teaching quality
are the educational standards. School and school supervisory authorities are
supported here by the Saxon Educational Institution (SBI) that develops and
performs procedures for determining the quality of schooling.
An important basis for specifying targets and measures for quality improve-
ment at schools and in the school system is a consensus on the definition of
school quality in the Free State of Saxony. The quality of a result or process is
considered to be sufficient if it meets the requirements and expectations.
Requirements and expectations in the form of the values and goals of all
groups interested in education are considered in the definition of school
quality. School quality is thus defined in a political negotiation process. The
requirements and expectations of the results of school work are fixed by law in
the educational mission. The requirements for the processes that lead to
successful fulfilment of the educational mission within schools can be derived
from scientific knowledge. The following description of the criteria of school
quality is used to establish this consensus that is to be the basis of quality
improvement in the future. This criteria description provisionally concludes the
discussion process and declares a defined understanding of quality as
mandatory.
Definition of school quality
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
3

Introduction
Criteria description for
school quality in the Free
State of Saxony
In the criteria description, school quality with regard to content is described.
The quality areas of teaching and learning, school culture, management and
leadership, cooperation and development of professionalism refer here to the
processes taking place in the school. The results area focuses on the quality of
results that arise from these processes. The different quality areas are divided
into quality features that take up a regulatory function for the quality criteria
and that ultimately specifically describe how school quality is characterised on
the process and result level. The description of the criteria is oriented towards
the latest relevant research on the success factors of school activity. The se-
lected criteria are established from educational and learning theory and their
relevance has been shown in practical scientific studies.
Functions of the criteria
description
As well as establishing a consensus, the criteria description fulfils different
functions:
It states the school objectives and contentrelated orientation according to
which school work and therefore school quality improvement can be ori-
ented.
It includes areas, features and criteria of school quality from which indica-
tors for the internal evaluation of schools can be derived.
It forms the frame of reference for the assessment of an individual school
by external evaluation.
It represents the frame of reference for the analysis and evaluation of the
education system in Saxony.
It provides an orientation for support and advice for schools.
Scope of a comprehensive
model of school quality
According to these functions, the criteria description exclusively represents the
part of educational quality that involves the work at the schools as the imme-
diate environment for the education of students and is thus within the area of
responsibility of action at the individual school.
To fully represent and examine educational quality, the Condi-
tion/Process/Impact model shown in figure 1 must be considered. In the figure,
adopted interactions are represented by arrows. The interactions represented
here are significantly limited for the emergence of school quality. It is clear
that the processes and results in schools are not to be considered detached
from the conditions under which schools operate. Both the quality of teaching
and learning as well as the performance results of students are naturally code-
termined by the requirements of the students and the support from parents.
This applies equally to the composition of the teaching staff and the material
resources available. The conditions under which school quality develops repre-
sent a central component of the study of education systems. The same applies
to the output of school work, e.g. in terms of training, study, professional ac-
tivity and lifestyle.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
4

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Framework Model of School Quality
Figure 1: Framework Model of School Quality
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
5

Overview of All Areas, Features and Criteria of School Quality
Quality areas
Quality features
Quality criteria
Intelligent and application-oriented knowledge
Learning skills
Methodological skills
Fulfilment of educational
mission *
Social skills
Value orientation
Expertise
Human competence
Fulfilment of educational
mission **
Social skills
Educational and vocational qualifications
Students repeating a year
Educational and training
success
Examination results
Changes
Student satisfaction
Results
School satisfaction
Teacher satisfaction
Parent satisfaction *
Training partner satisfaction **
Variety of lessons
Education outside of lesson
Teaching and
learning organisation
Integration of training at school and in company learn-
ing locations/learning collaborations
Remaining attentive:
Appreciative behaviour, classroom management, student
participation, flexibility, variability
Advancement of understanding:
Structure, clarity, cross-linking, critical testing, consoli-
dation, differentiation, review
Advancement of application relevance:
Establishment of application relevance *
Relation to vocational activities **
Teaching and
learning
Teaching and
learning processes
Advancement of intrinsic motivation:
Arousing interest, stimulation, strengthening self-image,
autonomy support, involvement
Common educational goals and visions
Rules of conduct
Values and standards of
school
Performance-related expectations
School climate
Social quality of school
Spatial design
Well-being of students
Advancement of high-achieving and low-achieving stu-
dents
School culture
Individual support
Special educational support
Gender-based support
Support based on social and cultural background
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
6

Overview of All Areas, Features and Criteria of School Quality
Quality areas
Quality features
Quality criteria
Systematic cooperation
Communication with teaching staff
with teaching staff
Joint action of teachers
Learning during the work process
Development of pro-
fessionalism
Lifelong learning
Training
Further education
Management of administrative tasks
Proper use of resources
Administration and resour-
ce management
Acquisition and control of financial resources
Leadership
Management of educational processes
Motivational leadership
Public relations
School programme work
Internal evaluation
Quality assurance and
quality improvement
Efficiency orientation
Personnel development
Personnel development plan
Training concept
Management and lea-
dership
Selection of personnel
Selection criteria
Student and
Student participation
parent participation
Parent participation
Cooperation with school authorities and supporting
institutions
Cooperation
National and international
cooperation
Cooperation with other educational institutions
Cooperation with companies and other educational part-
ners
Cooperation with associations, clubs and other public
institutions
* for general education schools and vocational school types that lead to an educational qualification
** for vocational school types that lead to a vocational qualification
The quality areas, quality features and quality criteria are described in the following. Not all criteria are
assessed during a school visit within the scope of the external evaluation. The criteria that are provided
for evaluation in a given school year can be found in the current edition of "Guidelines for Performing an
External Evaluation" for the relevant school type.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
7

Quality Area: Results
Quality area: Results
The results quality area describes the direct effects of school work. The results represent a significant
and superordinate area for the evaluation of school quality. The aim is to ensure the academic and
educational success of all students and to make a noticeable contribution to their personal develop-
ment so that they can successfully cope with everyday and professional life, learn throughout the cour-
se of life and be able to develop social processes of change.
Quality feature: Fulfilment of educational mission
(for general education schools and vocational school types that lead to an educational qualification)
The educational mission focuses on the formation and development of key components of the person-
ality of students, knowledge, skills and values. Its fulfilment should enable students to see themselves
in the future as social individuals capable of active discussion within their social environment.
Intelligent and application-oriented knowledge
The intelligent knowledge to be conveyed to students comprises significant and meaningful associa-
tions between concepts, ideas and factual information and can be described as organised knowledge
that can be used in a flexible manner and is reflexively accessible. It facilitates learning in the future in
similar content areas. This knowledge must be applicable for successful engagement with the world, i.e.
it must be possible to apply it to actions in situations.
Learning skills
Learning skills are a necessary prerequisite for self-determined learning. It is very important as a su-
perordinate key qualification for building up knowledge and developing skills. Learners must be able to
prepare learning, perform the learning activities, regulate learning, assess learning results and remain
attentive. A high level of learning skills, as the result of learning to learn, is then achieved when these
learning strategies are used and learners are motivated intrinsically, i.e. self-determined motivation, as
much as possible and have positive self-related perceptions.
Methodological skills
While learning skills in the strict sense incorporate the acquisition of content, method skills broadly
relate to the management of tasks and requirements. Methodological skills allow existing knowledge to
be used in a flexible manner. On the specific action level, the planning of work steps covers the sub-
stantive use of techniques and procedures, information gathering and assessment, mastering herme-
neutic and formal strategic procedures for knowledge acquisition and problem-solving as well as a
capability for presentation, e.g. in the form of essays or reports.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
8

Quality Area: Results
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
9
Quality area: Results
Quality feature: Fulfilment of educational mission
Social skills
Appropriate social behaviour is characterised by both realising personal goals and simultaneously act-
ing in a socially acceptable manner in a specific situation. The task of the school is to support general
social skills that are needed in the community. These include the responsible use of freedom, the ability
to adopt other perspectives and to empathise, conflict resolution strategies, reasoning with integrity
and the ability to make moral judgements. These skills allow students to successfully resolve the con-
flict between conformity and assertion.
Value orientation
School education should contribute to the development of the personality of students within society.
This requires orientation towards common accepted values. Value orientation is of central importance
in terms of the teaching of individual and basic democratic values. A distinction can be made between
personal, social and cultural values. Personal values include the ability and willingness to act autono-
mously, reliably and with a sense of responsibility. Social values include the acceptance of other people
and other cultures, tolerance, an ability and readiness for participation as well as basic democratic
values. Cultural values in the strict sense represent traditional social and religious values.

Quality Area: Results (continued)
Quality feature: Fulfilment of educational mission
(for vocational school types that lead to a vocational qualification)
The educational mission focuses on the emergence and development of skills concerning decision-
making and responsibility. These are understood here as the willingness and ability of individuals to
conduct themselves in vocational, social and personal situations in a proper and reasoned manner and
to behave in an individual and socially responsible way. Skills concerning decision-making and respon-
sibility cover the areas of expertise, human competence and social skills. Components of expertise,
human competence and social skills are methodological skills, communication skills and learning skills.
Expertise
Expertise describes the willingness and ability to complete tasks and solve problems in a goal-oriented,
appropriate, method-driven and independent manner based on expert knowledge and ability and to
assess the results.
Human competence
Human competence describes the willingness and ability to resolve, think through and judge the de-
veopment opportunities, requirements and limitations in family, work and public life as an individual
personality, to develop personal talents as well as to adopt and further develop life plans. It includes
characteristics such as independence, critical awareness, confidence, dependability, responsibility and a
sense of duty. It also includes the development of reasoned moral concepts and the self-determined
commitment to values. Value orientation is of central importance both in terms of the teaching of indi-
vidual and basic democratic values.
Social skills
Social skills describe the willingness and ability to live and shape social relations, to understand cares
and tensions as well as to rationally and responsibly deal with and communicate with others. This in-
cludes the development of social responsibility and solidarity in particular.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
10

Quality Area: Results (continued)
Quality area: Results
Quality feature: Educational and training success
Educational and training success includes formal educational goals. The goal is to qualify students as
much as possible according to their requirements and capabilities. The school makes sure that every
student can succeed in structuring his/her educational biography. This means that all students leave
the school without delay if possible with the best possible qualification or the best possible education.
Educational and vocational qualifications
To participate in today's knowledge society, the highest possible educational or vocational qualification
is of increasing importance. As access to the educational and vocational system is to a great extent
dependent on the quality of the qualification, a good school is characterised by a low number of stu-
dents who have not achieved their desired qualification.
Students repeating a year
Repeat classes lead to a delayed school career and are assessed differentially in terms of their peda-
gogical effects. To achieve learning objectives, individual support must be ensured, i.e. according to the
requirements of the student. Accordingly, good schools are characterised by low rates of students re-
peating a year and efforts to reduce the number of students repeating a year.
Examination results
The work of schools is reflected in examination results. Nationally standardised final examinations offer
a good opportunity to assess the quality of schools. While the examination results are used primarily
for the assessment of knowledge and subject-related skills, the relationship between preliminary per-
formances and performances in the final examinations is relevant for the assessment of school success.
Changes
The proportion of upward and downward changes in the course of school and education refers to the
permeability and connectivity in the education system. Students are to be supported as best as possible
according to their abilities. An appropriate and timely diagnostic analysis from teachers is required for
the decision on the course of further education after primary school. Generally, a school is charac-
terised in a positive way when it can achieve a high level of permeability and connectivity and can
maintain a low number of students repeating a year as a result of adequate support measures.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
11

Quality Area: Results (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
12
Quality area: Results
Quality feature: School satisfaction
The requirements and expectations of those directly involved in the school are considered in the defini-
tion of school quality. Satisfaction is the result of a target/performance comparison. Here subjective
expectations of school work are correlated with actual school experiences. School satisfaction in this
sense can be seen as an indicator of school quality.
Student satisfaction
Student satisfaction is a criterion that indicates how well the processes at the school are oriented to-
wards the students. For a results-based consideration of student satisfaction, it is important whether
the students find that their expectations have been met in terms of the processes experienced and the
result of school work.
Teacher satisfaction
Teacher satisfaction is another criterion of the result-based assessment of a school. The satisfaction of
staff has an influence on their subjective well-being and professional action, which in turn has an im-
pact on the desired quality of the school.
Parent satisfaction
Educational work is especially effective when it is related to both environments of the student (school
and family). It is assumed that the educational missions of the school and parents are matched to each
other when the parents accept and, if necessary, support the concepts of the school. This acceptance
can be determined in the form of feedback with regard to school satisfaction and the fulfilment of
subjective expectations.
Training partner satisfaction
The satisfaction of the training partner with school work is a criterion of the result-based assessment
at vocational schools. At vocational schools, cooperation between the school and the training partners
is of central importance. When training partners accept and, if necessary, support the work of schools,
it is conducive to the educational and training success of the students.

Quality Area: Teaching and Learning
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
13
Quality area: Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning, particularly in lessons, is the core business of the school. The school ensures
that learning opportunities and environments are organised so that all students can enjoy learning
successfully and experience the individual support and appreciation necessary for this.
Quality feature: Teaching and learning organisation
In order to achieve the educational mission, schools should provide a variety of methodological lessons
as well as opportunities for learning and experience within the scope of the teaching and learning or-
ganisation. The lessons must be adapted to the needs of a changing world. In response to social trans-
formations, the students should be given opportunities for identification, orientation, support and secu-
rity. In order to meet the demands of individual support, the lessons are to be oriented towards the
diverse interests and learning requirements of the students.
Variety of lessons
As students have different learning requirements and learning styles, these differences must always be
taken into account to support the learning processes by diverse and appropriate forms of teaching. This
requires appropriate changes in the educational process, i.e. the multi-methodical composition of the
lessons. Optional and elective subjects should be oriented towards the diverse interests and abilities of
the students. The task of the school is to offer lessons that are as wide-ranging as possible and accord-
ing to needs using the available resources.
Education outside of the lesson
The main educational tasks of the school should not in the strict sense only be achieved in lessons.
Education outside of the classroom provides opportunities for encounters between students and teach-
ers that are conducive to the development of social skills and value orientations of students. This is
more possible in such learning environments as opposed to during the lesson. School traditions such as
school festivals, first-day-at-school/graduation ceremonies and sports competitions with other schools
are included here. These events help students to identify more strongly with the school. In addition,
they offer (with the inclusion of parents) the possibility to establish a bond between parents and the
school. By merging the school and family learning environments of the students, the educational effec-
tiveness of the school is supported.
Integration of training at school and in-company learning locations/learning collaborations
The integration of education at school and in-company learning locations supports the application of
knowledge in all types of schools. Job-oriented and project-oriented vocational tasks contribute to the
acquisition of skills concerning decision-making and responsibility. In order to enable students to inde-
pendently plan, implement and evaluate such work tasks, cooperation with other places of learning
(e.g. work tasks/work partners from vocational schools, companies and on-the-job training and indus-
trial placements) and the use of practical experiences of the students is essential.

Quality Area: Teaching and Learning (continued)
Quality area: Teaching and learning
Quality feature: Teaching and learning processes
The subject of the teaching and learning processes feature teaching and learning in the classroom. The
basis for understanding school teaching and learning processes is a theoretically sound model of good
teaching
.
From the model, relevant and effective teaching aspects were derived that are reflected in
the quality criteria.
Remaining attentive:
Attention is a requirement for students to be able to assimilate and process information. Students must
turn their attention to the information as well as concentrate and pay attention to the learning con-
tent. Teachers can facilitate this process by trying to keep the attention of the students using the fol-
lowing procedures and teaching strategies:
Appreciative behaviour: The creation of a positive and friendly atmosphere in the classroom and a tea-
cher behaviour that focuses on working with each individual student and that is fair leads to a stimu-
lating learning environment.
Classroom management: Effective leadership of the class or study group leads to better learning re-
sults. The guidance, monitoring, organisation and control of events are necessary to emphasise an in-
dependent approach for effective learning.
Student participation: New ideas and experiences can be introduced by the students as a result of stu-
dent participation in the lessons. This means that students discuss issues and must recall their own
knowledge.
Flexibility: The lesson should be flexibly structured by considering previous knowledge and the interests
of the students. The self-determined behaviour of the students should be supported and enabled by
responding to suggestions or ideas from the students.
Variability: Variability of the learning style can have a positive influence on the attentional processes of
the students. This concerns the choice of different teaching elements or type of presentation.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
14

Quality Area: Teaching and Learning (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
15
Quality area: Teaching and learning
Quality feature: Teaching and learning processes
Advancement of understanding
A requirement for organised knowledge that can be used flexibly is the understanding of facts. Active
understanding is achieved when the students not only decipher a message but also (re)construct cer-
tain facts, terms or phenomena. The task of the teacher is to facilitate the processes of understanding.
This can be safeguarded by the following aspects:
Structure: Structure is an essential element of good teaching. The content should be sensibly structured
and a central theme should be recognised in the lesson. The respective information can be structured,
for example, by highlighting important points or using visualisations.
Clarity: Difficult concepts and relationships should be clarified, new or specialist terms explained and
precise formulations should be ensured. A presentation that is too complex or disordered means that
students can no longer follow the lesson.
Cross-linking: Cross-linking may be achieved by meaning enrichment of information. Facts that are
presented in an elaborate manner - for example, when different content is linked to each other and
examples are cited – can be better understood and retained.
Critical testing: A special form of in-depth information processing is a critical analysis of the curricu-
lum. This can occur by clarifying the advantages and disadvantages of different views, for example.
Consolidation: Repetition and practice support memory performance, the acquirement and automation
of skills and the development of complex abilities. The efficiency of repetition and practice can be in-
creased when it is organised in a different form and temporal sequence.
Differentiation: The presentation of the curriculum should be matched to the requirements with regard
to content. It is also important to take into account the different requirements of each student appro-
priately. Requirements and teaching methods should vary accordingly.
Review: It should be ensured that the material covered was understood. Students should be able to sum
up important content. In this way, it is possible to determine the level of performance. Missing or in-
correct knowledge should be supplemented or corrected in the lesson.

Quality Area: Teaching and Learning (continued)
Quality area: Teaching and learning
Quality feature: Teaching and learning processes
Advancement of application relevance
In addition to understanding, the application relevance of knowledge is relevant for knowledge transfer
that can be used flexibly. The learning environments designed for this purpose should be characterised
by authenticity, interesting contexts and multiple perspectives for students. Authenticity means that
realistic tasks are used and not ones that are artificially simplified for didactic reasons. This does not
mean that a lesson can do without didactic reduction. Didactic reductions are relevant for the ad-
vancement of understanding. They are represented by the criteria of the 'advancement of understand-
ing' sub-feature. The acquisition of knowledge should be anchored in a context designed as interesting
as possible and that gives it added significance. Multiple perspectives are achieved when the students
can perform different roles to experience different perspectives of a problem.
Establishment of application relevance: To establish application relevance, the students should be awa-
re of authenticity, interesting contexts and multiple perspectives in the structure of the learning envi-
ronment. This involves emphasising the importance of learning content, taking descriptive problems as
a starting point and embedding learning in specific application situations.
To achieve knowledge transfer that can be used flexibly for vocational school types, a reference to spe-
cific vocational activities in the future is necessary.
Relation to vocational actions: In the area of vocational training, the application reference in the les-
son is to be primarily established by the inclusion of vocational practice. This means that action-
oriented teaching and learning processes are achieved whose starting point originates from the respec-
tive vocational activity. The vocational activities are the basis of the learning situations developed for
the vocations. This form of lesson structure allows and requires the students to transfer between ac-
quired knowledge and practical application. The learning environment should simulate the specific
characteristics of the vocational situation.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
16

Quality Area: Teaching and Learning (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
17
Quality area: Teaching and learning
Quality feature: Teaching and learning processes
Advancement of intrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation is a key component of self-determined learning. Intrinsic motivation exists when
students want or intend to carry out a learning activity because the activity seems to be interesting,
exciting or challenging. In contrast, extrinsic learning motivation can be defined as the desire or inten-
tion to carry out a learning activity because gratification associated with successful learning can be
obtained or negative consequences can be avoided. In view of learning success, the advantages of
intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation are proven. The advancement of intrinsic motivation can
be achieved using the following teaching strategies:
Arousing interest: The formation of intrinsic motivation is usually associated with an interest in the
content. Interest may be promoted by formulating the desired learning objectives or showing links and
relationships to knowledge acquired in other subjects.
Stimulation: Stimulation refers to the direct support of self-determination in open learning environ-
ments. Its flexible application is increased by promoting cooperation with other students or motivating
students to engage themselves independently with the material outside of the lesson.
Strengthening self-image: Intrinsic motivation and the ability for self-control when learning can be
increased by strengthening self-image. Praise, recognition, constructive criticism and the identification
of possibilities for the students to improve should enable them to be self-directed and self-determined
when learning and working.
Autonomy support: In order for students to be able to develop the ability for self-determined learning,
the opportunity for independent problem-solving must be available. Student autonomy must be en-
sured. For example, students must be able to complete demanding work responsibly or be given the
opportunity to explore new content areas independently. Students should be given support here to plan
and assess the learning or work steps themselves.
Involvement: When teachers express enthusiasm for their work and the content being taught, show
personal interest in the material and joy when teaching, this can capture the imagination of the stu-
dents in terms of intrinsic learning motivation.

Quality Area: School Culture
Quality area: School culture
School culture describes the ideas and values, behaviour configurations and symbolic values at the
school. Its design and lasting influence is a complex process that is affected by developments around
the school, particularly by those involved in school life such as the head teacher, teachers, parents and
students. Each school should have values and standards that demonstrate the rules of conduct, educa-
tional goals and expectations to the students. Values and standards are based on appropriate social
interaction and are reflected in a holistic impression of those involved in the school. They should also
be expressed by individual support in relation to the different initial situations of the students.
Quality feature: Values and standards of school
Complex social communities are characterised by a value and standard structure. They are based on
generalised values that are shared to different degrees among members. Children and youth within the
social unit of a school also orientate themselves towards the school's objectives and standards that
may differ from those in other environments of the student. The core of school culture is addressed
with school rules, value systems and standards of behaviour that are also referred to as the school
ethos. Among other factors, the expectations, role models and feedback conveyed by teachers influence
how the behaviour and attitudes of the students develop within a particular school.
Common educational goals and visions
A consensus among the school management and teachers of a school concerning the objectives, means
and methods of pedagogic school culture is essential for successful school work. It ensures the consis-
tency of events at school. Students should not have the feeling of being exposed to different expecta-
tions and rules from teacher to teacher. The school is regarded in this sense as an educational unit.
Leeway in the style of teaching is indeed necessary when schools are to meet the individual needs and
dispositions of teachers and students. However, agreement on the objectives is a prerequisite for an
effective school.
Rules of conduct
The school as a place where students spend much of their day, are in constant interaction with each
other and are with teachers requires rules of conduct that are shared by all. The school must define
deviant behaviour as such, report it and apply sanctions if necessary. The knowledge and acceptance of
consensual, generally accepted standards by the students govern their compliance. It is important that
teachers exemplify the values and standards for this.
Performance-related expectations
The expectations of academic performances that are placed on students by teachers are particularly
effective when they are supported by all teachers and when the students know and accept these ex-
pectations. It is crucial to apply the expectations to the respective proficiency level of students to pre-
vent too many or a lack of challenges. Any improvements in the performances (grades, for example) of
each student are to be recognised and appreciated to promote achievement motivation and learning
success.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
18

Quality Area: School Culture (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
19
Quality area: School culture
Quality feature: School climate
The impression that teachers and students have about the school and human relationships in particular
can be referred to as the school climate. This does not involve the current condition ("weather") that
can change from day to day but the long-term view ("climate") of the atmosphere that emerges in the
school. The subjective perceptions of students depend on whether they develop a positive sense of be-
longing to the school and their class or whether they experience rejection and distance. A positive
school climate is therefore seen as an important determinant for the development of students and
learning effectiveness. The perceived climate depends on interpersonal relationships in the school and
the spatial conditions as well as the possibility to influence them.
Social quality of school
The social quality of schools describes the perceived quality of relations between participants at the
school (student-student, student-teacher and teacher-teacher relationships) that should be charac-
terised by mutual respect, trust and appreciation. In this sense, teachers, students and other school
employees should feel involved in the school.
Spatial design
High-quality rooms (attractiveness, functionality), socio-spatial quality of residence and use (the possi-
bility for the use of common areas, recreational areas) and in particular the possibility for the students
to shape and use other rooms has a positive influence on the school climate and thereby promotes
successful learning.
Well-being of students
The well-being of students in schools includes the reaction of students to the state of the school cul-
ture and the corresponding plans of action that are prevalent in the respective school. They are de-
pendent on both individual characteristics and school processes. Perceived work pressure, perceived
disciplinary pressure, perceived usefulness of learning, school enjoyment and fear of
school/examinations can promote or undermine well-being.

Quality Area: School Culture (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
20
Quality area: School culture
Quality feature: Individual support
Students come to school with different requirements. The recognition of differences, differentiation of
school work and ability for students to use their own learning potentials are vital for successfully ful-
filling the educational mission. With individual support, social requirements are controlled according to
two goals. The first goal concerns the establishment of equal opportunity in enabling life chances as a
result of educational achievements. It is one of the most important educational goals of democratic
societies to offer adolescents the same good educational opportunities. For this reason, individual op-
timum support and a reduction of social and cultural disparities in educational participation and edu-
cational achievement as well as the realisation of special educational needs must be strived for. The
second goal concerns teaching tolerance and acceptance with respect to social pluralism, i.e. recogni-
tion of individuals as unique and distinct. Modern societies feature a wide range of diversity and indi-
viduality. The recognition and acceptance of diversity is a prerequisite for democratic coexistence in
view of increasing intercultural contact.
Advancement of high-achieving and low-achieving students
The fulfilment of the educational mission for all students means applying teaching and learning over
the entire range of performance of the student body. Individual advancement of high-achieving and
low-achieving students is therefore essential. The advancement of students growing up with two or
more languages should also be considered here.
Special educational support
Students with physical or psychological impairments need special needs education as this is their edu-
cational right. For such students in the Free State of Saxony, different forms and locations of support
are offered including schools for children with learning difficulties and integrated education. The pro-
cedure for determining special educational needs is formulated under consideration of the individual
circumstances of the student with a report on support proposals and recommendations for a further
course of education so that the learning success of the student and his/her personality development is
safeguarded optimally. The process-immanent diagnostic analysis that accompanies the lesson deter-
mines the way forward for individual support of the student using a continually developed educational
plan. The educational plan as a common basis should allow all those participating in the education of
the student to manage and safeguard special needs education. The student should play an active part
in the support plan. The educational plan must determine the initial situation of the student, identify
special needs and include main areas and objectives as well as the necessary support measures with a
corresponding timeline.
Gender-based support
Boys and girls differ in part when discussing various academic content areas and this can be reflected
in the associated performances. This must be considered, for example, as an element in the methodo-
logical-didactical structure of the lesson.

Quality Area: School Culture (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
21
Quality area: School culture
Quality feature: Individual support
Support based on social and cultural background
Schools can not change the different socio-economic and cultural conditions of students but they can
try to harmonise them through individual support and recognition of different origins and ways of life.
Offsetting disadvantages related to social background includes the integration of migrants. This also
includes promoting the willingness to actively support integration processes for students without a
migration background.

Quality Area: Development of Professionalism
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
22
Quality area: Development of professionalism
Professional teaching is the result of a professional work organisation and professional skills. Working
professionally involves working independently and responsibly while considering the legal framework
and work based on scientifically verifiable knowledge and professional experience with coordination
and control amongst colleagues according to requirements. As a school always encounters new prob-
lems due to social changes and requires innovations and contemporary accents for education, teachers
must constantly expand their knowledge, reorganise their activities and coordinate them with each
other. Coordination between colleagues is to be safeguarded by the systematic cooperation of teachers.
The expansion of knowledge can be covered under the requirement of lifelong learning. This is a re-
quirement for both the students and teachers alike.
Quality feature: Systematic cooperation with teaching staff
As with any other organisation, school organisational development requires a culture of cooperation,
i.e. systematic cooperation among members. Quality at individual schools develops when members of
staff jointly draw up (development) concepts that are implemented in a coordinated fashion and the
effects are systematically observed, evaluated and reported back to each other. With regard to the con-
tent of interdisciplinary work, it must be noted that many social aspects are based on complex reality
and effect interrelationships that can not be inferred from one (specialist) approach.
Communication with teaching staff
The basis of systematic cooperation is the exchange of information between staff members (teachers
and classroom assistants). It forms the basis for professional learning opportunities. Those involved can
benefit from it for their own educational work. Individual experiences in terms of a culture of mutual
learning are identified, reflected on, and assessed, e.g. teaching material that is developed is made
available to staff or different teaching and learning methods are discussed. Teaching staff communi-
cate in specialised, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts. In the vocational school types, deal-
ing with the objective formulation of the areas of learning and the resulting lesson plan is a focus of
communication. Content must also be coordinated with communication between the teachers from the
vocation-related and interdisciplinary vocational areas.
Joint action of teachers
Joint action occurs when the target achievement of one involved party simultaneously promotes or
enables the target achievement of another involved party. Cooperation among teaching staff is based
on common principles. The respective cooperation is characterised by coordinated action. Measures
that are found to achieve these goals are planned together and the measures carried out are assessed.
The members of staff work together in a specialised, interdisciplinary and professional manner. Joint
action in terms of team work, e.g. when developing internal school curricula, is essential in the struc-
tured lessons of vocational types of schools. To implement the objectives and content of learning areas,
all teachers involved should interact and cooperate when developing different skills.

Quality Area: Development of Professionalism (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
23
Quality area: Development of professionalism
Quality feature: Lifelong learning
Schools must be organised so that they can respond to changes quickly and appropriately. As a learning
organisation, schools must establish a relationship of learning content and learning methods with cur-
rent and foreseeable requirements in the future in view of the changing student body. The close rela-
tionship between sustainability and learning capability in a knowledge society requires individuals to
be able to learn purposefully, actively and for life. This is particularly true for teachers as they must
adequately prepare the students for the demands that are placed on them in the future. This require-
ment profile for the teaching profession is to be met with a professional attitude that is characterised
by a willingness to expand knowledge and skills according to their own needs and respond flexibly to
new developments and changes.
Learning during the work process
Learning during the work process can occur individually as well as with the systematic cooperation of
teachers. For individual development, the focus is on the systematic acquisition, testing and monitoring
of new forms and/or the content of teaching and learning. To achieve self-directed learning processes
for students, the consideration of new forms of organisation for learning may be required. A systematic
development of their own knowledge and own skills can only happen if it is targeted and result-
oriented.
Training
Training focuses on the qualification within ones own profession and the acquisition of typical profes-
sion skills. It is used to adapt to changing social and economic conditions, changing educational con-
tent, new scientific knowledge and individual changes in functions and tasks in schools. There is a close
relationship between the quality of teacher training and the quality of the school. Systematic training
measures build on the development of individual teachers, consider the level of their qualification and
give them the opportunity for targeted and structured further development. In addition to individual
training needs, the orientation is aligned towards the systemic training needs of the school as a whole.
The effectiveness of training is demonstrated when the acquired knowledge and skills are transferred to
the school routine and lead to an improvement in teaching.
Further education
Further education focuses on change and reorientation. It is oriented towards qualification in new ar-
eas and the acquisition of professional skills in the general, professional, political, cultural and scien-
tific fields. In this way, additional teaching capabilities can be acquired. Further education generally
takes a long time and its objective is an academic qualification. Qualifications that are acquired as
part-time education safeguard a professional application range and can provide individual teachers
with career advancement opportunities. The qualifications acquired should be used in the schools.

Quality Area: Management and Leadership
Quality area: Management and leadership
Management and leadership are the duties of the head teacher. School management includes the
implementation of plans and regulatory compliance as well as effective cooperation with the faculty
while leadership refers to the development of goals and tasks and the motivation of teachers. The head
teacher is responsible for the school. He or she is responsible for compliance with the curricula, the
applicable regulations and representation of the school to the outside world. The head teacher is
entitled to issue instructions to the teaching staff and non-teaching staff of the school. A central task
of the head teacher is the safeguarding and development of school quality.
Quality feature: Administration and resource management
School management in the strict sense refers to the management of school operations, i.e. human,
infrastructural and financial resources. The smooth running of school activities and the best use of
teachers allows the focus to be on the core business of teaching and learning.
Management of administrative tasks
A major task of the head teacher is the effective, efficient and transparent management of the school.
This mainly concerns the internal organisation of the school, e.g. the observance of laws and adminis-
trative regulations, house rules and conference decisions as well as the supervision of facilities,
buildings and objects.
Proper use of resources
An effectively working head teacher is characterised by successfully fulfilling the educational mission
with the human, infrastructural and material resources available. This includes tasks such as the de-
ployment of personnel (e.g. distribution of teaching assignments, preparation of timetables) and the
assignment of infrastructural resources (e.g. rooms, materials).
Acquisition and control of financial resources
Financial management is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the head teacher. As part of wider
financial autonomy with budget responsibilities, tasks such as business management, budgeting and
monitoring are also included. Regardless of whether there is the available means or partial or full
budgetary management of the school, controlling is an important criterion for the assessment of re-
source management. The head teacher ensures that the latest reliable and regular data on the state of
financial management is available, existing scope for action is recognised and gauged, tar-
get/performance deviations are stated and corrected if necessary and budgetary planning is introduced
for the operation of the school.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
24

Quality Area: Management and Leadership (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
25
Quality area: Management and leadership
Quality feature: Leadership
An important task of the head teacher is to shape and design the lessons and education at the school
and to represent this concept to the outside world, i.e. to give the school a face both internally and
externally. The control of educational work is reflected by emphasising the (educational) features with
regard to content and by how the head teacher achieves this from the teachers. The latter concerns the
extent to which the head teacher manages to motivate teachers and involve them in the process of
school design and development.
Management of educational processes
The management of educational processes by the head teacher includes a clear task definition and
control of educational work. For example, this means the head teacher must actively participate in the
development and monitoring of educational activities and curricular processes, clarify the intent of the
curriculum and provide feedback and criticism to control performances in and outside of the lesson.
Motivational leadership
An important task of the head teacher is to motivate teachers and involve them in the process of
school organisation and development. A participatory and collaborative management style has shown
to be beneficial here. A participatory and collaborative management style when dealing with the staff
of the school is reflected by the head teacher granting leeway for decisions on interim targets, guide-
lines and forms of implementation, planning projects together with staff in team meetings, agreeing on
tasks and thus winning the trust of staff. In this way, the head teacher motivates and enables teachers
and non-teaching staff to act themselves. This approach allows employees to identify with the goals of
the school.
Public relations
An effective part of school development is public relations. It is the task of the head teacher to repre-
sent the school to the outside world, i.e. it is his/her responsibility to shape the understanding of iden-
tity to the public in the form of a coherent overall appearance of the school and present it to various
groups, e.g. parents, the community, other educational institutions and businesses. This can arouse
positive expectations from the public and a keen interest in school work. This can also lead to the ac-
tive participation of parents at the school as well as collaborations, e.g. with businesses and other edu-
cational institutions.

Quality Area: Management and Leadership (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
26
Quality area: Management and leadership
Quality feature: Quality assurance and quality improvement
Quality assurance and quality improvement refer to the cycle of quality management at the school in
which self-monitoring, targets and action planning are related to each other. In a learning organisa-
tion, the quality of work should be constantly monitored, safeguarded and improved. Quality monitor-
ing (internal evaluation) and quality control (school programme work) have therefore become central
concepts of school development. Work on this quality should always be oriented towards the results (as
a measure of the evaluation (effectiveness orientation)).
School programme work
The school programme should include educational, didactical and school organisational principles to
fulfil the educational mission. In order for school programmes to support development, there must be a
broad consensus in the school and sufficient structural and content requirements. All stages of organ-
isational development should be run through and documented with the determination of the initial
situation, objectives, measures and procedures for review. Timelines and responsibilities should be de-
termined. The quality of preparation with regard to content and text should safeguard the success of
school development. This requires an internal consistency, i.e. a relationship between diagnostic analy-
sis and development planning, a high level of specification and a (didactic and educational) conceptual
foundation.
Internal evaluation
During the process of internal evaluation, the school makes independent investigations from which
insights can be learned about the school. Through internal evaluation, the effectiveness of the meas-
ures introduced for quality development is assessed. For any form of internal evaluation, it is assumed
that it should be conducted systematically and associated with the school programme or educational
development projects. In addition, appropriate methods and instruments are to be chosen.
Efficiency orientation
Efficiency orientation ensures that the learning progress of students is systematically observed on the
school level. A common culture of assessments of the learning results of the school is an important
condition for quality work. This ensures that the high-quality work at the school is oriented towards
the learning success of the students.

Quality Area: Management and Leadership (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
27
Quality area: Management and leadership
Quality feature: Personnel development
Systematic personnel development is another important component of the range of tasks for the head
teacher. The aim of personnel development is the best use of human resources in compliance with or-
ganisational objectives and staffing needs while taking account individual professional expectations
and individual skills. Systematic supervision and support of teachers by the head teacher has a positive
effect on the fulfilment of the educational mission.
Personnel development plan
Measures for personnel development are used to improve the quality of each individual school. They are
also used so that management personnel can be developed for other schools and staff for cross-school
activities (such as consultants). In the concept, the strengths and weaknesses of individual persons and
the needs of the school in comparison with the targets set in the school programme are to be consid-
ered. Here the head teacher uses the means of personnel development that is systematically adapted to
the tasks and goals of the school. He/she can fall back on various measures for this, e.g.
staff/management discussions with target agreements, an assessment system, coaching, employee
surveys and training. This also includes measures for training and supervising new teachers.
Training concept
The development of a sustainable training concept for teachers is an essential instrument for personnel
development. To implement the training concept, the head teacher should work together with teachers
and develop individual training plans together that aim to build on the strengths of individuals and
overcome their weaknesses. External training can also be beneficial when experiences are passed on to
staff, e.g. in the form of in-school training. The sustainability of training measures should be reviewed
and documented.

Quality Area: Management and Leadership (continued)
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
28
Quality area: Management and leadership
Quality feature: Selection of personnel
The head teacher has an influence on personnel decisions according to the Education Act. The school
teacher can also develop job profiles that describe the skills, experiences, etc. of personnel required at
the school in the future. These profiles are presented for consideration to staff responsible for person-
nel (human resources department of the school supervising authority).
Selection criteria
In addition to the special needs of an individual school, there are general criteria that can be observed
for the selection of personnel for a school. A good professional qualification, willingness to integrate,
understanding of the objectives of the school, a high level of self-motivation, creativity, empathy, cul-
tural interests and moral concepts that fit with the overall concept of the school can be cited as re-
quirements. In addition, it must be considered that the personnel selection process is ideally a two-way
selection process. Here the job seekers should be familiar with the requirements of the school and see if
these requirements match their own capabilities, goals and needs.

Quality Area: Cooperation
Quality area: Cooperation
The quality area of cooperation is a process feature of school work that focuses on the joint manage-
ment of the educational mission while considering the participants within and outside of the school.
The development of school quality and the achievement of good student performances also require a
culture of cooperation within the school, among other schools and with the school supervising author-
ity, the support system and partners outside of the school. The school should shape the educational
mission in a constructive dialogue with the parents and students and encourage them to exercise their
right to participate in the development of school life. At the same time, the school should work to-
gether with social and state institutions and partners in the interests of children and youth.
Quality feature: Student and parent participation
Cooperation within the school and the relationship between the various groups involved directly in
school matters (students, teachers and parents) has a positive impact on the process of teaching and
learning when it is characterised by participation and mutual recognition. Participation in a school
should be ensured by an appropriate amount of opportunities to express views and a direct influence
on decisions.
Student participation
By taking part in the shaping of school life in a democratic participation process, students experience
recognition and acceptance even in situations of conflict. This is achieved both in the bodies of partici-
pation and in daily interaction. Head teachers and teachers support and facilitate participation. Within
the participation process in school life, democratic rules are implemented in active actions. Tolerance
and social rules and therefore social skills are taught.
Parent participation
The right of parents to determine the education of their children is the foundation of education and
schooling. To encourage students to develop and promote personal initiative, the parental and educa-
tional mission must be meaningfully related to each other. This can be achieved by the participation of
parents in school life and by corresponding participation rights. The school combines its work with the
demands and expectations of parents and encourages parents to accept and support the educational
concept of the school. Support for assistance from the head teacher and teachers is also required here.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
29

Quality area: Cooperation
Quality feature: National and international cooperation
School networking with national and international educational and non-educational partners tends to
open up a school. Two aspects of the effect of this are relevant here: Firstly, it is important for achiev-
ing a good performance and developing student skills in order to fulfil the educational mission. Sec-
ondly, it is an important stimulus for school development and the self-image of the school as an effec-
tive learning organisation.
Cooperation with school authorities and supporting institutions
Institutions can be differentiated according to their function. Firstly, schools work together with insti-
tutions that have a control and supervisory function on the school system. Secondly, services are ob-
tained from institutions with a support and/or advisory function for the school system. In addition,
there is cooperation with authorities or institutions that have a support function for the school and are
responsible for equipping the school with spatial, material and, if necessary, financial resources.
Cooperation with other educational institutions
When cooperating with schools of the same school type in a national context, the exchange of ideas
with regard to content in terms of professionally broadening horizons is of prime importance. Coopera-
tion with subordinate or superordinate institutions strives for a seamless transition between school
types. Cooperation with schools in an international context is aimed at learning languages, the promo-
tion of intercultural skills of students and the consideration of other forms of teaching and learning.
Cooperation with companies and other education partners
On this level, the professional and economic orientation of individual schools is considered. This can
also occur in both a national and international context. As a result of the schools cooperating with
companies and other educational partners, the students learn the social demands of the job market and
can therefore find their interests on the job market. Key partners of vocational schools types are train-
ing establishments, responsible authorities as well as companies and institutions where practical
training or work experience are completed. The vocational school types and education partners fulfil a
common educational mission with vocational training. As the job market is becoming increasingly glo-
balised and adolescents are confronted with a demand for mobility when choosing a job, an interna-
tional view must be considered.
Cooperation with associations, clubs and other public institutions
Cooperation with other public institutions such as cultural, sports and youth associations or the Ger-
man Federal Employment Agency can support the effectiveness of the school. For example, full-day
schooling can be realised as a cooperation model between schools and children and youth services
based on a common concept.
School Quality in the Free State of Saxony: Criteria Description
30

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