Education & Government
Jennifer Rose Hale Image
Jennifer Rose Hale
Former Client Partner, Texas Association of School Boards

Technology’s role in successful school board self-evaluation

January 17, 2024
0 min read
Technology’s role in successful school board self-evaluation

When seen from a bird’s-eye view, evaluation plays a key role in everything a school board does. Boards evaluate the performance of the superintendent, progress against strategic goals, priorities in developing budgets and so much more. These processes all require boards to approach decisions unemotionally and be ready to face and use difficult information.

It’s understandable why board members may dread the annual self-assessment. Not only are boards busy with external-facing work, but a self-evaluation may shine a light on areas in which the board is struggling to work together smoothly. Individual board members also may feel defensive or not want to stir the pot.

What you'll learn:

  • How regular self-evaluations benefit public education boards
  • Ways that technology can support board self-assessment
  • Board management software's role in self-evaluation

While a board self-assessment may be challenging, and even dreaded, there are ways to make it simpler, more effective and more rewarding.

In a previous piece, we covered the importance of school board self-assessments in achieving transformation. Now we’re going to take a further look at the benefits of effective self-assessment and how technology can facilitate the process.

How boards benefit from regular self-assessment

States have different requirements around board self-assessments. However, boards in states without strict requirements should still look to the benefits of assessment and make it a priority. To refresh, regular assessments give boards the following opportunities:

  • Exercise their role as leaders of a learning organization
  • Reflect on their performance, strengths and areas for improvement
  • Demonstrate accountability and transparency to the community, educators and parents
  • Align their goals with evolving education needs
  • Identify potential governance issues, proactively address challenges and maintain a high standard of governance

Even a healthy, collaborative board can struggle with issues around micromanaging and communication. The regular assessment process, as the previous piece noted, “allows a safe place for reflection and conversation” about these actions.

How technology can support board self-evaluation

Let’s home in on some of the benefits and outcomes a successful self-assessment philosophy can achieve, and examine how technology — and a robust board management platform in particular — makes achieving those outcomes even easier.


At the heart of the self-assessment process is determining how individual board members come together as a team. A board wants as few obstacles to that process as possible. A board management platform can help support team building, as key documents and workflows are kept in an accessible digital tool that allows individual board members to contribute easily and thoughtfully to agendas, committee work and policy adoption.

Learn more about why self-assessment is a key aspect of board member development.

Enhanced decision-making

Decision-making can be fraught for boards, and it is one area board members should examine in the self-assessment cycle. Many boards find themselves in seemingly endless loops of review, discussion, voting and revisions, with meetings extend far beyond the scheduled time.

A board management platform adds elements that facilitate successful decision-making, with online voting, versioning, clear presentation of supporting materials and other features that reinforce confident action. These same elements can be used to speed the self-evaluation process and identify actionable results.

Strategic planning

Despite the name, a self-evaluation likely will include input from external parties. A board and its members will be judged by the foresight of the strategic plan as well as their ability to execute it. By maintaining the strategic plan in an online and accessible location — and ensuring supplemental materials and progress reports are one click away — the board and stakeholders can keep one eye on the plan at all times.

Adaptability to changing needs

Schools are the nexuses for dramatic, fast change — whether social, technological, regulatory or demographic. Staying on top of multiple sources of data, regular reports, relevant legal news and other information can create a significant burden for school leaders, who must evaluate themselves and their responses.

Ensuring that relevant materials are easily findable is key; boards and supporting administrators can organize materials in a searchable document repository that ensures everyone can access the right document at the right time.

Stakeholder engagement

A self-assessment is not conducted in a vacuum. Boards have a number of stakeholders to consider in their work: students, staff, other local education leaders, parents and the greater business and residential communities. These groups can offer valuable input into the board’s self-evaluation process. Results from surveying and other feedback can be stored in your board management software, ensuring the assessment includes all the useful perspectives.

Community trust and confidence

By making board action around a self-assessment visible — the good, the bad and the occasionally ugly — boards can build trust with their stakeholders. This means not only sharing results, but sharing plans for improvement where needed.

Accountability, transparency and compliance

Like community trust, boards have other entities they are accountable to for ensuring compliance. Depending on where they are, boards may be required to conduct an annual self-assessment.

But even it's not mandatory, a self-assessment generates a clear picture of the board’s commitment to ethical behavior, as well as a footprint of the board’s progress. Publishing to your public transparency website allows the board to share the results of their assessment and plan for next steps with all stakeholders, both in the community and in oversight positions.

Board management software’s role in self-evaluation

Self-evaluation can be a complex and sometimes fraught process, but it’s one that gets easier when it is built into the board’s annual functions and supported by technology. The board can make this reflective process easier by using a board management platform to support the tasks, timelines and input around the process.

We at Diligent have developed Community to help with the many responsibilities of the modern school board. Learn how Diligent Community can help your board collaborate, improve efficiency and embody modern governance.


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