Importance of Outside Academic Audits
Posted on February 7, 2015
As part of proactive planning for renewal and in an effort to ensure the strongest possible academic program, an increasing number of schools benefit from an academic audit conducted by an impartial third party. An academic audit is a multi-day visit to your school by one or more evaluators focused on determining whether there are areas of weakness that will very likely surface at the time of renewal. Would you rather wait for your Authorizer to point them out in the renewal recommendation report, or hear about them years earlier, in time to do something about them?
Wide in scope, these comprehensive visits address the very same key academic program components that your Authorizer will review at your renewal such as: the level of instructional rigor evident in your classrooms; strength of the curriculum and assessments used by your school; effectiveness of the school’s systems and techniques to serve students who are at-risk of academic failure (i.e. students with disabilities, English language learners and generally struggling students); quality of instructional leadership practices; and, evidence of a sound school culture. Topics and areas of focus typically vary based on a school’s Authorizer, school preferences, and the length of the evaluation. Audits usually culminate in a discussion of findings with the school’s leadership and/or board of trustees, and a report identifying key academic program strengths, areas for growth, and recommendations for how to address key concerns.
Many of the firms that provide such services are former employees of Authorizers. They definitely know what to look for, and their impartiality is your ally. Their summary reports can be sobering, but extremely valuable if you act on their recommendations.
If you wish to discuss how to get started with one of these visits, let us know and we will try to point you in the right direction.