Using data at Southern Cross Campus


Data-based decision-making

[John] The needs of our schooling environment have been reported widely, in terms of the statistics we have on students, Pacific and Māori students, and those statistics are not good. [Teacher] We’re trying to find the answers to raising achievement in decile 1 schools. [John] There was a real willingness to use data. [Teacher] We use the data and we’ve set up a whole baseline system for using data.

[John] Then we looked at that data. It wasn’t as pretty as we’d hoped. The board were satisfied that as long as we got accurate data, that was the most important thing, that we started from an honest point. And then we could use the data and develop strategies. [Teacher] Because having the data doesn’t actually change anything, it’s what we do with the data.

[John] Teach the kids. Assess the kids. Evaluate how you’re going. Sit down around the table. Look at the data. What have we learned from the data? These kids seem to have improved their achievement, these kids haven't. Look at the students who are not achieving, what can we do about those? Focusing on the individual. Going back into your curriculum teams, devising further strategies, setting your baseline again. Going through and implementing the change that you've decided is required. So it's a continuous cycle of improvement.

Sharing practice

[Arihia] We’re able to share learnings. We’re able to get professional collegial support from each other. [John] The benefits for the campus of open sharing of data are absolutely immense. There’s absolutely no doubt about  that. It took a period of time for teachers to get confident, first of all, that opening their books, showing their data, was not going to result in a beat up situation. [Teacher] And it’s the ownership of the data by the classroom teacher and getting the door off the classroom.

[John] We can start to see that students are achieving in certain strands and not in other strands. [Teacher] And so we’ve taken that and started to look at, well, what is it about teaching practices that we need to be questioning. What is it about our own assumptions we need to be questioning. And, yes, you can have the highest of expectations, and you do have to have them, but you’ve got to have quality teaching practice alongside.

Achieving is cool

[Karen] So, the strategies we’ve implemented, they’re starting to be embedded in the students’ view that learning is the most important stuff at school. [John] There is feverish talk in the senior school about NCEA and units and credits. The kids are talking about credits in the school now because the initiatives are very focused on getting them through that and supporting that.

[Karen] I sent some boys down the road to buy me lunch at a bakery recently – and they were running out ‘cos they actually wanted to get to the fish and chip shop really. As they were running down one of them called over their shoulder to me, “Will I get any credits for this?” That’s one of the buzzes at school is when kids are talking about credits. In our school that didn’t happen before.

[John] The other thing that has occurred behind the scenes, as well, is we’ve put a lot of work into making achievement cool as well. [Female student] I really want to achieve in catering, hospitality. Because we had a competition in Hamilton and we came first and that was [like] a good experience for me.

[John] So the students are feeling cool about it now and you see that in assemblies when students come up and receive their accolades and they stand up with pride. [Male student] And I can’t believe it myself. At the moment I’m still at school and I’m doing really well, pretty up there and pretty happy. So, it’s a good feeling.

Daring to dare

[John] I remember when we talked, that we actually dared to say we want our students to be achieving at or above the national average. It was almost like we were a little bit, kind of, scared to say it. But, we’re way down that journey now. We’ve actually have achieved considerable progress on that journey.

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