Real issues in the life of a fictional Subject Leader
Am I the only subject leader who gets a kick from analysing my department’s exam results? It certainly feels that way, leaving me questioning as to why I enjoy it so much and how come no one else seems to!
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t do it to gloat. To be honest, our results this year have been a little disappointing relative to previous years. However, reflecting upon the successes and failures of the past 12 months has to be the starting point for fine tuning, or at least outlining, developments for the year ahead. Are the maths results providing a positive contribution to the school’s 5+ A* to C figures? What effect did the coursework have? Were individual students entered for the correct tier? What number of students succeeded in making two levels’ progress and who were they? Had their targets been met? Who were the strongest teachers? Who requires support?
In point of fact, the analysis often confirms what I’d already suspected. I know my staff well and I’m fully aware of where their strengths lie. The tier of entry of the borderline C grade students was of significant interest this year. With two levels’ progress being a relatively new yet increasingly important measure, I was also interested to see which students they were, what their ability was and who had taught them. And finally, could I predict the effect the loss of coursework would have on future years?
Our curriculum deputy is pretty switched on and these are the sort of questions which she expects to see answered through both my analysis and within the department’s SEF. She then follows it up by asking about the year ahead. How can we improve?
So why do I get a buzz from this? Perhaps it’s about ego and a sense of being in charge of the data; after all, it provides an opportunity to impress the management team and to set the standard for other subjects to follow. Maybe, due to the nature of my subject, it’s because I am competent and confident at manipulating and interpreting data. Both of these reasons are no doubt true. However, I also find the process informative and critical in developing the department and making progress in the future. Without sounding like a nerd, I’m just a little sad that I’ve completed it.
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