Showing posts with label student performance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label student performance. Show all posts

Monday, February 1, 2021

Measuring Performance of Upper School Courses

Participation, Retention and Achievement are three measures I look at in Upper school to measure the health of our Learning Area.  These summary statistics should not be treated as a goal or KPI, but instead as a way of identifying areas of investigation for improvement.  All too often summary statistics hide the actual situation found if an investigation into raw data is done thereafter.  With relatively small samples the summary statistics may not be reliable or valid.


1. Participation (Course Entry)

How many students enter a course?  It is not compulsory to do a Mathematics course in Year 11 and 12, they can opt out if they wish.  My belief is that all students should complete Mathematics courses in Year 11/12 as a life skill.  Any number lower than 100% indicates that improvement can be achieved.

To keep it simple, I check RTP for the course at the end of S2 and count total students.  The total number of students in the cohort is found in schools online or SIS. Divide these and you have the participation number. Participation should be measured at the end of each year of Upper School.  Participation data should be compared with standardised testing data (NAPLAN, PAT etc) to validate participation results.

This is a measure of the success of creating an appeal to enter the course.  Factors impacting participation could include past performance, lower school pathways, reputation for success, teachers in lower school, teachers in upper school, how well the course is sold to students, course counselling techniques, course counsellors, trends in careers post schooling.


2. Retention (Course Completion)

Are students staying in the course from the beginning? Students are able to change out of the course if they wish. Students swapping and changing courses is not optimal. Any number lower than 100% indicates that improvement can be achieved.

Again, to keep it simple I check RTP for the course at the end of S2 and count the withdrawn students. Participation numbers are found in (1.) above. Divide these and you have the retention number.  Retention should be measured at the end of each year of Upper School.

This is a measure of success of the Upper School Course, course recommendations, teaching methods and course counselling.  Factors impacting retention could include mental health of students and the teacher, teaching pedagogy, student ability, lower school preparation, parental support, resilience and the difficulty level set for the course.


3. Achievement

Are students achieving at the level expected for the course?  Students need to achieve a meaningful result for the course to be worthwhile. For Methods and Specialist the mean is 65 for an average student, Applications is 55 for an average student.  In each case about 57 will contribute to a 70 ATAR score. C grades or higher for General students are useful for demonstrating competence.

To measure achievement I count how many students in RTP are achieving above 57 and divide it by the retention rate (2.) including withdrawn students.  I also calculate the Mean result for both years (without withdrawn students) and check the exam results in both semesters. If there is a large deviation from other assessment scores it provides an avenue for investigation.  It is also important to check the SAIS Year 12 report to check school vs external exam results. If students need recounselling this is done at the end of S1 and S2 Year 11 and at the start of S1 Year 12.

This is the end goal, how many students performed within the expected parameters of the course after completing the course.  Factors impacting achievement could include study skills, exam preparation, engagement with schooling, student motivation, course counselling/ability, cohort strength, work ethic,  extracurricular activities, sickness/mental health/misadventure, 5th/6th course bias and teaching pedagogy.


With these three measures, the health of a course can be established.  It is important to not only look at achievement as it can hide strategies that fail the student interest test - such as counselling students out of courses to boost achievement figures (low retention rates) where standardised testing indicates that students should pass.