Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Student Results, Then Vs Now

As part of one of my inquiries (as blogged about previously here), I wanted to complete a comparison of academic results from 2018 to 2019. Even though these comparisons don't paint the whole picture of what is happening in the classroom, they are a great intro for me to use data to inform my practice. So far, students have completed 2 standards in 2 of my Senior classes; Year 11 PE and Year 12 Health, as below.

Last year was the first time I taught the performance improvement programme unit and standard 1.6. There is a lot of jargon, and the internal is ongoing over a period of time, so it really took me a while to get my head around the purpose of the unit and what I was actually looking for, for the standard. We also taught this unit at the beginning of my first ever term at Orewa, while I was finding my feet! Therefore, I went into the unit this year with much greater understanding than last year. This is evident in the considerable increase in students passing this year. In addition, I had a much smaller class (8 less students), so I was able to provide students with more 1 on 1 time and individualised feedback than last year. I believe this is why there were more students who passed above an Achieved, 4 of which achieved an Excellence. If I was to teach this unit again next year, I would have checkpoints for students (like in Year 12 Health), where I would provide feedback and feedforward, which may further support the students who weren't quite yet an Achieved (many of these students simply lacked depth or mixed up sections).


This was the first year Orewa included a Self Management unit (assessed by standard 1.9), hence no data from last year to compare to. Overall, the students were consistently engaged during this unit. Their participation within all activities was astounding. Although majority of students passed the internal, not all of them, I feel all students learnt a lot about what self management actually is and strategies they can employ to increase their self management. To increase results further, an optional lunchtime tutorial in addition to class time around the critical thinking questions (i.e. the Excellence level questions), may be of benefit for students to deepen their writing for a higher grade.


Unfortunately, as evident below, there was a large decrease in students passing the 2.2 resilience unit. This is not a reflection of their learning and engagement, but entirely teacher error. This year I am in charge of Level 2 Health, therefore complete all the paperwork and prep behind the scenes. As we were marking the internals, I realised that we (the other teacher and I), had not made clear one section of the assessment, one section that essentially determined whether or not the student would pass. After looking into this further, this section appeared to have been taught and assessed incorrectly in previous years too. So - the below cannot actually be compared, as the results from last year are likely to be inaccurate. This really highlighted the importance of double checking and triple checking every single time something is taught - not simply rinse and repeat!


Feedback from my 2018 students about the 2.3 Health Promotion unit last year, was that they felt like they didn't have anything to work towards, no end goal. So after the completion of their projects I added in an exhibition - students made a display and set up during a lunchtime a stand to further spread awareness about their health issue. I feel that although this exhibition needs greater advertising next year, it helped students to have the end goal which was missing previously. As a result, more students were engaged throughout the 9 weeks, and more students had critical discussions to an Excellence level. Contacting home throughout the process, and having checkpoints for students also resulted in  a greater number of assessment hand ins than last year (albeit similar results). I think this was a good step forward.


Overall, even though the classes are completely different across each year, I found it useful to look at these results. I have been able to identify possible strategies to increase student grades next year, and distinguish any possible patterns. I will complete another comparison like this, later in the year (and will reflect on my other inquiry shortly too).

Monday, 1 July 2019

Planning Trips - Not Yet My Cup of Tea

Last year I attended a play called Yes, Yes, Yes. This play followed the two stories of two couples, addressing issues around consent, or lack of. There was lots of student voice included within the performance around their relationships and things they wish they knew about. I thought that this would be a great learning opportunity for my Senior Health students, to start discussions. So immediately I started planning!

This was the first trip I had planned before. Up until now I had helped supervise on trips, but never actually needed to complete the paperwork before. To be completely honest, I can see why many people are put off - there was soooo much admin! Between permission letters, trip approval, booking buses, budgeting, risk management forms, medical reports, play tickets, relief and chasing up kids it was certainly a learning curve. I learnt a lot along the way though, and thankfully I had months to get everything sorted. 

On June 18th I took 22 students to see the play, hosted by Auckland Live in Aotea Centre. I was very nervous I had forgotten something or that something was going to go wrong - but I was literally getting on a bus, going into a theatre and then bussing back, so of course there was little chance of anything happening (I am trying to be less  less paranoid!). The kids were actually incredible, so well behaved and really respectful towards me and members of the public, which made the day smooth sailing.


We were stoked to get front row seats, which also meant we were super close to the stage! During the show, there were a few opportunities for students to stand up and speak one of the character's parts. I was really proud when two OC students volunteered first out of the 100 odd people there, and they represented us so well!

There were two 'pauses' during the show. These pauses were an opportunity for members of the audience to share how they were feeling, what they were thinking about and any questions or concerns that may be running through their minds. This was such a great way for the students to reflect on what they had seen so far, and a simple yet effective way to demonstrate that many of the audience members were feeling and thinking similar things.

Once we got back to school I debriefed with students and we had rich discussion about some of the messages that came from the play. The overall consensus was that the play was fantastic to accomodate the learning and discussions we are having in class around consent, pornography, pressure, sexuality and gender, highlighting some of the issues but being very careful and inclusive in the process. Please see alongside some of the comments the students made.

Despite the lengthy admin trail to get the students there, I am so glad that I did. It was certainly an experience some of the students have never had before and the learning they took away from the day was worth everything to get them there. Assuming the play is performed again next year, I have put into our course outline a course cost so that the play is included in the course, rather than an optional trip, so more students can have the opportunity and experience.

I look forward to finding more cool opportunities for the students, not only for their learning but also mine about trip planning!