The ACER School Life questionnaire is intended for use in surveys of schools, for school reviews and school evaluations. It was developed in the belief that it would assist in the examination of outcomes of schooling that are different from the more usual outcome measures, such as student achievement. It enables examination of important outcomes such as attitudes towards school in general, towards learning, towards teachers and towards other students. Information on these kinds of `affective' variables can complement the more usual measures of outcomes and be useful in a variety of contexts.
The SLQ enables schools to:
- look at the social environment of the school
- think about the aims of the school and particular emphases and ethos
- explore the extent to which these aims are recognised and accepted by students
- examine the organisational structure of the school and its impact on student experiences
- make judgements about the effectiveness of policies concerned with curriculum, teaching practices, assessment, programs and organisation
- identify pointers to action or to areas of concern for the school
- compare student results against a pool of 'All Schools' to identify areas of success or areas where interventions might be necessary.
These issues are ones which schools have to address more directly than in earlier times. As accountability becomes more explicitly required by school communities and by society in general, effectiveness, innovation and change need to be apparent and monitored. The School Life Questionnaire provides this evidence for schools.