Savvy Parents Rely on More than Data to Choose Schools
08 March 2017
Parents rely on a range of information to choose a school for their child with surveys of Queensland parents revealing their decisions are more heavily influenced by third-party endorsements and school visits than academic data or websites, according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ).
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson urged parents who review the latest release of school-level literacy and numeracy results and other profiling data on the My School website to put the data in context.
“Good data is valuable and can make a powerful contribution to school and student improvement, but selective pieces of data shouldn’t be used to judge the success or otherwise of a school,” Mr Robertson said.
“A set of numbers won’t tell you how a school’s dedicated teachers go above and beyond to support and challenge their students or how a school builds confidence, resilience and creativity in its students,” he said.
“Those are stories that need to be heard or experienced first-hand, which is why parents place great store in visiting independent schools, meeting their principals and teachers and getting that all important “feel” for the culture and camaraderie of a school.”
Mr Robertson said the primary reason why tests like NAPLAN were introduced was to assess and track student learning, not to label and rank schools.
“Queensland independent schools are continually analysing individual student data to ensure students understand what they are being taught, are progressing and being supported or extended,” he said.
“They know the capabilities and personal circumstances of their students and endeavour at every level to support and stretch their students to achieve their goals.”
Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden encouraged parents who have any questions about the My School data to speak with their school.
“There’s so much information available now on schools and student outcomes that it can be overwhelming and confusing if it’s not read in context or explained sufficiently. It’s important that data isn’t misinterpreted and incorrect conclusions drawn.”
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