Section 2: Interpreting the numbers
Applying the ideas
Once you are confident about calculating means and other statistical measures for data sets, you should attempt to do this for your own data.
Before you start the next activity, you might find it interesting to read appropriate case studies from other schools on QCA's website that show how they are using data to support pupil achievement.
One way to begin to analyse class or year group data is to look at the constituent groups in the class (for example, boys and girls) and look at the mean scores for each group or the distribution of each group across different bands.
Read an example of such an analysis made on Key Stage (KS) 2 results for a Year 7 cohort. Record four tentative conclusions that you might draw from this data in
My notes. How well does the data support each conclusion and what follow-up actions might you want to advocate?
Now choose a data set for pupils that you teach. This could be KS1 results for a Year 3 class, a recent set of module test results, optional SATs results, or 'mock' GCSE or AS/A2 results.
Start by expressing your hypothesis. Some of the questions you might ask are:
- Are some groups of pupils doing better than others?
- Have any specific groups done less well than predicted?
- Are boys and girls achieving similar results?
- Are some classes performing better than others?
- Are there year-on-year trends?
- How does individual pupil progress compare with predictions?
Which statistical tools will you apply to your data to help you answer your questions? (You might find it helpful to look back through this section of the course.) Apply these tools to your data and summarise your findings in a few sentences.
Explain your findings to a colleague and ask for their feedback:
- How useful are the findings for your teaching?
- How confident can you be about the conclusions?
- Is there additional data might you want to look at to support your conclusions?
The answers to these questions are starting points for thinking about how you might improve the effectiveness of your teaching and enhance learning in your classroom. Are there some topics/areas in which the teaching and learning has been less successful? How might you develop an action plan for these parts?