Sunday, 29 December 2013

NPQML National College Leading Teaching - reflections on account of practice 5: Using data in a secondary school to close the gap in achievement

How does Katrina identify gaps in achievement within her Faculty? Do you carry out a similar process? If so, how successful is it, and how could it be improved?

Look at the process by which Katrina monitors student progress and works with her line manager and team to implement strategies for improvement. How does this compare with the process in your school? As a middle leader, what can you learn from it?

Katrina comments on how her department uses a series of common assessments and written work (including formative assessment through homework, class work, smaller tests, etc) and makes comparison with baseline data to see early on whether both groups of students and individual students are progressing in line with expectations. I would agree that this early recognition is extremely important when considering how to reduce the gaps in achievement. The sooner support can be put in place the sooner improvements will be seen. I would also agree that formal and informal observations are useful for identifying where a Head of Department needs to help and also where to expect more from colleagues.

I found Katrina's constant use of the word 'intervention' a little concerning as I have come to associate intervention with additional time being spent with students outside of lessons. It would have been useful if she had been given the opportunity to elaborate on what she practically means by the use of this educational buzzword. When she mentioned the fortnightly meeting with her line manager to discuss data which then led to interventions and 'progress check points' being put in place before she reported back in the following meeting I did feel that this was a case of it looking like something was being done but that the actual substance in terms of what should be done for teaching and learning was missing. As I said, this may simply have been because Katrina was not given the chance to elaborate.

1.       Continue to monitor progress through both formative and summative assessments and data but perhaps hold more regular discussions with my line manager about the data
2.       Reflect on what 'in lesson' interventions could be put in place in terms of teaching and learning

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