Use of data in the classroom

When I was thinking about topics for this post, I was reading some of the other blogs that my colleagues and I have written recently and realised that the focus has been on whole school or year 11 data. None of us have actually thought about the data that is used in the classroom.My strong belief is that data should start at classroom level and work up. Data staff in schools should ensure that the data that they provide to teachers will help them deliver a better learning experience to the young people in front of them.

When I worked as a Data Manager in a large Outstanding school, all teachers would have what we referred to as “Standards Folders”. These contained a profile of all of their classes showing contextual information such as gender, pupil premium, special educational needs & disabilities (need and type), EAL, % attendance etc. I also provided class photos as well as templates for seating plans. There wasn’t any expectation on how teachers used their Standards Folders, but they were expected to know the contents and ensure that it was kept up to date following any class changes or assessment points.

An excerpt from my school’s Ofsted inspection when they were judged Outstanding states:

“Systems used to ensure the rigorous collection, analysis and use of student performance data are exceptional. They allow teachers to plan effectively for all students’ individual needs. This key feature is an essential component of the excellent teaching which the students experience and the rapid progress they make.”

There are so many different software systems available for class profiles and seating plans out there (many are free to download) so I’m not going to comment on them here. A simple Word document, Excel spreadsheet or a mark sheet set up from your MIS would be enough, so long as it contains relevant information. Don’t overload staff with anything that is not relevant or helpful to them (most schools have some staff that are data shy and you don’t want to scare them!).
So have a think about what data you are giving to staff to ensure that the children or young people get the education they deserve.

by Claire Spencer, Data Consultant

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