Within School Variation and School Evaluation Aim of presentation:to examine the nature of WSVto provide a perspective on how measures of WSV contribute to a view of a school’s performance to consider how a school can create a climate in which variation can be investigated, diagnosed and managed • • •
Within School Variation “In schools where overall progress is broadly similar, there are significant variations in pupil progress between subjects and between different pupil groups.” - Fischer Family Trust "We have always known that there is a difference in performance between schools. But what can make a bigger difference is the experience that children have within one school. So a child can do really well in one subject and not do well in another subject. And that can make an even bigger difference to children's life chances than differences between schools."- Jane Creasy, Assistant Director of Research, NCSL
Within School Variation ‘Within School Variation is the variation in provision as experienced by different groups of learners.’
How big is the problem? WSV is greatest at key stage 4 -Source : DCSF Within School Variation is over 4 times greater than ‘between school variation’ at key stage 4.WSV is over 14 times greater when allowance is made for free school meals and prior attainment.
“WSV is now understood to be one of the biggest barriers to school effectiveness and improvement. In many schools there is not consistency in terms of learning and teaching across the whole school. WSV is one of the biggest challenges to school leaders. “How do we guarantee that every student receives an appropriate and effective access to learning across their whole curriculum experience?“It is not about blanket uniformity. It is not about blind consistency. It is about eliminating inappropriate variation.“In our own private lives we do not accept inconsistencies in services; in restaurants, in shops, from the doctor, the dentist, the garage; and there is no reason either why a school should tolerate inconsistency”. Prof. John West-Burnham, Senior Research Adviser at the NCSL speaking about Within School Variation
The findings of the NCSL project on WSV WSV is: • An enduring school performance issue for many schools, particularly at Key Stage 4 • Significantly attributable to variation in teacher competence • Not specifically being addressed by schools in their school improvement work • Requires well-developed data systems to provide measures and show improvement • Hard for schools to tackle, even with funding and support
Question Why is WSV difficult to tackle?
Investigating the impact of teaching “Projects which look at differences in the impact of teaching require a climate of openness, trust and collegiality.”- NCSL WSV project report
What are the systemic influences of WSV? Context Teaching Learning It is teaching quality, learner disposition and context which influence the effectiveness of learning , i.e. it is complex
Two sides to the same coin Enable teachers to investigate the impact of their teaching Find out how good every teacher is at teaching (Top Down) (Bottom Up)
Top Down or Bottom Up? Data analysis is not just something done by the few and passed down to the many – but should involve all teachers finding out about the impact of their teaching on different groups of learners.
‘Learning from Within’ “The exploration of ISV and learning from within can potentially foster an environment where analysis, innovation and sharing result in higher levels of professional satisfaction and student achievement.”
‘Learning from Within’ “A key aim of learning from within is to reduce the level of internal, or in-school, variation (ISV) across areas of organisation, teaching and learning that have a direct impact on student achievement.” “Reducing ISV is not an end in itself and shouldn’t result in inflexible uniform practice regardless of a school’s culture, traditions and existing improvement plans. Rather, it is intended to ensure that practices the school has identified as effective for improving learning and raising student achievement are adopted as widely as possible across all subjects. In short, to help ensure that effective practice becomes everyday practice for all.”
Variation in policies and procedures, e.g. setting, marking, homework, progress monitoring Variation in the quality and effectiveness of approaches to teaching and learning Variation in human and material resources Variation in levels of achievement Analysis of data Internal best practice identified Action to reduce ISV Action to reduce ISV A structural framework for reducing ISV – NC/TDA
‘Learning from Within’ ‘There are five key areas where action taken to reduce ISV is likely to be most effective: The collection and use of data The role and effectiveness of middle leadership The quality of teaching and learning Listening and responding to student voice Standardising procedures.’ • • • • •
Another question Is the ability to tackle WSV a characteristic of Outstanding leadership?
‘Learning from Within’ • Collect data from the beginning to show the impact of ISV work• Make ISV a focus of the school development plan • Use champions to build a coalition of support for ISV work • Recognise that your goals will take time • Review and publicise progress made on ISV
More questions 1. How suitable is WSV as a focus for raising school standards?2. Is there a member of your SLT with a specific role for standards? How developed is this role?3. To what extent do subject leaders exercise a QA role for their subject? Should they?
“Schools that are proactive in showing inspectors the evidence of their own pupil-level analysis and research tend to do better in their inspection.” - Dr. Mike Treadaway, Fischer Family Trust, Naace ‘Making Information Work’ Conference 27.04.07
“Having lots of data is not what self-evaluation is about. What counts is having the right tools to make top-level judgements on that data.”- Barbi Goulding, Principal, Paddington Academy
More questions 1. How well-developed are the diagnostic data tools that teachers should be using?2. What are the common obstacles to making smarter use of performance data?
What are the professional tools of the teacher’s trade? Where are the equivalent tools to a doctor’s stethoscope and blood pressure monitor?
Question 1. How can we use data to compare the impact of learning between a top and a bottom maths set?2. How can we use data to compare the teaching in a selective school with that of a streamed, inner-city comprehensive school?3. Are we using data to prove we have high standards - or to ensure that every pupil achieves their potential?
What is the better basis on which a school should be judged? Which column is most in tune with the stated aims of your school?Is there tension between achieving success for the school and providing value for its pupils?
Where do we find evidence in the schooling process? Consequences Response Intake Outcomes Provision Where should we look for the best evidenceWhat measures should we use? to find:1. How well pupils in this school are doing?2. How well the school is doing?3. How well the teachers are doing?
Attainment - the number of formal qualificationsAchievement - indicator of the breadth, quality and impact of learning Progress - shows the distance travelled Variation - the consistency of provisionWhat measure shows the degree of challenge that the school faced?
Final questions Where will you find the very best schools?Are they the ones that are top of the league tables? What are the key characteristics of the successful, data-confident, self-evaluating school?