Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Making Sense of School Performance Data

School Governors need to be satisfied that their schools are reaching high enough standards and exceeding national thresholds and that this demonstrates at least satisfactory and preferably better progress for all groups of pupils, given their starting points when they joined school.

Data alone is simply not enough to make the judgement but needs to be balanced by an understanding of the wider issues facing the school. In addition, an understanding of the quality of the school’s provision including teaching and learning, the curriculum and care support and guidance.

Pupil performance information needs to be considered:

• in relation to the context of the school

• in the context of the national demands placed on schools

For example, the current national expectations are that:

• pupils should demonstrate good progress but also

• reach or exceed nationally defined thresholds, particularly in literacy and numeracy

This is to ensure pupils can access suitable employment, play an active part as citizens and crucially enjoy life to the full, drawing on and engaging in all it can offer.

What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth: life spills over the rim of every cup. (Boris Pasternak 1890-1960)

In order to support and challenge effectively governors need to ask  three key questions:

1 What is the context of our school and how does this compare to other schools?

2 What do our pupils attain in each year group and in national tests?

3 What progress do our pupils make given their starting points?

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