I have a confession. Whilst I have data in my mark book, I rarely look at it. I tend not to look at it before I teach a class.
Is that bad? I’m sure some teachers & leaders would be horrified.
However, I don’t look because I have high expectations for all. I don’t really care what has been written about them whether it is SEN or pupil premium or looked after; I expect the same from all of them. In 15 years of teaching I haven’t had any disastrous incidents, in fact the students I teach generally do pretty well.
So why don’t we just ditch the data? We’ve supposedly lost levels so why don’t we do the same with the rest?
I will explain how and when I do use data. I use data from student books, their responses in class. I use my professional judgement. I know when someone is struggling and generally can work out what needs to be done to support them. This is why marking books regularly is so important. It is a diagnosis of what support I need to put in for a student. I then do something to help them. It is then that I may look at the data to see if concurs with my diagnosis. Sometimes it does but often it doesn’t. Often the student won’t be in a ‘category’ that I’m supposed to be giving extra attention to. But in my eyes they’re in a really important new category; a student that needs some sort of support or intervention. I really don’t care if they’re in an ‘official’ category, once they’re in my category it’s time for me to help them.
So, if we ditched data would there be any huge fall out? Would those students in significant groups achieve any more/less?
Or do these huge gaps in significant group achievement come from something else? Teachers not marking and/or doing anything about issues? Low expectations?
I’m fascinated by these gaps and would be interested to hear what people think.