Data, data, data

Data, we need data, we must need data as we produce so much of it. We all produce it and share it and analyse it and then make decisions based upon it. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re expected to, it’s what everyone else does – so it must be right. How often do we really reflect and question it?

Some of it is easy to understand, attendance data – are they here? If not, why not? I can easily press a few buttons and get a report telling me whether the overall school attendance is over the 95% (or whatever the current magic number is) or not. I can even find out about specific children within specific time periods.

Some of it is a bit more subjective; I hand out Boxall profiles to teachers; how are those specific behaviours that they have been working on in their Nurture groups in the classroom? The teachers have to decide how often those behaviours occur. This is subjective in itself, how often is often? Is it often or sometimes? Is this judgement affected by the sort of day that the child has just had with the teacher? I know that teachers intend to be 100% objective but is this possible? I receive this data, plug it into the computer, print out the graphs, compare to previous graphs and take action accordingly. I believe it, I have to believe the data that I receive but would I have received slightly different data if someone else had produced it or even the same person on a different day?

Boxall data is for us in school; I won’t say it isn’t important but it isn’t statutory, it isn’t published, no one will judge the school on it. Children’s progress is more important. All children must make progress, preferably measurable within each lesson but certainly over a half term/ a term/ a school year. We had a system, everyone could happily talk about progress from a 1A to a 2B and have an idea, a picture of what that child could do but now… A new curriculum, no standardised levels, how do I use this data has a child moving from 3C to working towards year 4 made progress? Have my pupil premium children who have spent a term at working towards year 5 made any progress? I’m sure they have, I know they have, I can look in their books and see that they can do things that they couldn’t do in September but can I produce the data that proves it?

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Data, data, data

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