Self evaluation and impact on learners


Stuart Fernie

On hearing of the importance of self evaluation in modern inspections, I searched for and found a helpful document on the HMIe site. I have reproduced part of it here (the part concerning our teaching’s impact on learners), and I have included my own responses to these points. These are not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive – they are merely a start point, and I would welcome any comments you may wish to make, or any ideas/responses you may wish to offer. It is only by being open and sharing that we can be sure we have arrived at best practice.

I can be contacted at .

How well do we meet the needs of our stakeholders?
2.1 Impact on learners


Questions you might ask
What evidence do we have that learners are:
  • included and participating

Learning intentions are shared at the start of the class.

Variety of methods and strategies.

Differentiation in course books used, tasks set and in way elements are taught.

Encouraging atmosphere in which pupils may answer without fear.

Personalisation – pupils are encouraged to contribute to work of class, and teachers (and pupils) share anecdotes which are related to context and vocabulary being studied.

Listening to and reacting to pupils’ questions and suggestions.

Collaborative approach to learning – as a class, in groups or in pairs. Pupils may help one another, or may readily ask for help/make suggestions.

  • achieving and attaining

Quality teaching and learning, using a variety of methods and sources.

Regular revision and testing in class.

Regular homework/revision exercises.

End of unit testing with clear outline of success criteria and information on how to achieve them.

Opportunities to participate in the work of the class, correction and assessment of class work, working in pairs or groups to discuss and produce pieces of work.

Opportunities to participate in and organise extra-curricular activities such as trips, concerts, documentary production, website contribution, languages at work days, work experience placements with a slant toward languages.

Pupils are frequently involved in the assessment of their own progress. Success criteria may be made available and they may judge their own or others’ performance in accordance with these criteria. If a performance doesn’t meet the criteria, they may be asked what pupils can do to improve.

Production of materials to help pupils’ learning and understanding – workbooks, homework booklets, grammar booklets, articles on various aspects of film, articles on various aspects of teaching.

  • progressing?

Every attempt is made to build on previous knowledge, emphasising the need for thorough and regular revision and understanding.

Comprehensive notes are provided to help pupils revise and understand.

Work becomes steadily more demanding both linguistically and in terms of content, requiring pupils to be ever more reflective.

If pupils have not demonstrated clear knowledge of elements, these will be revisited and attempts made to analyse the root of their problem.

Staff are regularly available during lunch hour and at the end of the day for consultation on any topic which is causing problems.

How do we know that participants’ educational experiences are contributing to them becoming:

  • successful learners

Advances made in ability to understand and communicate with others and all forms of text, including advances made in the knowledge of their mother tongue and familiarity with a number of contexts in which this language is learned. Regular discussion of pupil progress at Departmental Meetings, along with possible changes in learning and teaching to meet pupil requirements.

  • confident individuals

As they realise that they are able to communicate and understand, so their confidence should grow, especially as they learn to prepare for and reflect on a variety of situations, contexts and topics. This is closely linked with their contributions to the work of the class, participation in class work and extra curricular activities, the praise they receive for their work, and the positive (formative) contribution made by evaluation and assessment.

  • responsible citizens

Responsibility should be developed primarily through mutual respect in the classroom and learning to appreciate the value of regular effort. This will also be developed through a series of thought-provoking lessons and themes, with pupils going far beyond mere linguistic exploitation of a text.

  • effective contributors?

See “confident individuals”, but effective contribution can take a variety of forms, and account should be taken of the ability of those concerned – a few words can reflect a huge effort on the part of some. Contribution in class can obviously take the form of spoken work, written work, reading or listening, but it can also take the form of organisation, leadership, initiative, production of variety and quantity of material, concentration, discipline, a willingness to help others. Awareness of these qualities should be relayed to pupils.

How do we know that our provision is helping participants to be:

  • safe

A good level of discipline is maintained throughout the school, with immediate and effective action by SMT where appropriate. Good relationships and approachability tend to ensure security and safety.

  • nurtured

A good knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of our pupils (reinforced by regular testing) help us to gauge what our pupils need to progress.

  • healthy

This can be overtaken through topics studied, building awareness of health issues, but can also be overtaken through discussion with pupils and observation of their physical and mental condition.

  • achieving

Note is taken of assessment results and attention is paid to performance in class. Discussion of pupil progress takes place at every Departmental Meeting which feeds in to SMT meetings, and there are regular progress reports to complete.

  • active

Mental activity is as important as physical activity, and we try to ensure our pupils are appropriately stimulated. This may involve physical activity.

  • respected and responsible

Mutual respect is demanded in the classroom and throughout the school, and responsibility may be nurtured both through maintenance of discipline and through the content and conduct of lessons.

  • included?

See evidence for inclusion and participation.

How do we know that learners are progressing in the core skills of:

  • communication

This is the business of the ML department – see above.

  • number

Numeracy skills arise fairly regularly as pupils learn to handle time, date, timetables, describe height, read descriptions of buildings etc, describe daily activities, arrange meetings, produce shopping dialogues, deal with payment, make phone calls – the list goes on. Clearly, numeracy is a requirement and will be reinforced when dealing with the above situations and contexts.

  • ICT

Pupils are taught principally through the medium of ICT. They may interact with an exercise on the SMART board, or watch a film, or research some information on the internet, or produce homework in the form of a word document, or help produce a DVD documentary. Pupils will frequently offer advice to the teacher if he/she is having technical difficulty!

  • working with others

Pupils may work as a class with a variety of teachers, may work in groups, small groups or in pairs. They will also come across assistants, student teachers, auxiliaries, and pupil helpers on a regular basis.

  • problem solving?

Pupils may show resourcefulness through use of dictionaries, ICT, teachers, and one another. They have also looked in to and helped with the organisation of school trips, concerts, theatre productions, languages at work days and documentary production.

The following may be seen as more of a whole-school issue, though I would say that if pupils are not satisfied with the quality of their education, they do not generally lack the confidence and ability to express their views clearly!

To what extent can we state that learners are:

  • satisfied with the quality of their education and care
  • confident in expressing their opinions and views
  • included in all aspects of education and care
  • positive about meeting or exceeding their learning potential
  • satisfied that they have opportunities to contribute both in school and community
  • aware of the health-promoting values of their school and of the importance of developing healthy lifestyles
  • aware of how to access information/advice on a range of health-related matters?

What do these things tell us about the impact of our provision?

What does the data tell us about under-participating and under-performing groups?

Some ways of Finding out
  • Completed questionnaires, surveys, satisfaction surveys
  • Focus groups of young people in school outwith school and in the evenings
  • Availability of independent advice, support and/or advocacy to young people and adults on health and others areas
  • Arrangements to provide support, information and advice to excluded young people and adults
  • Accessibility of specialist services
  • Management of pastoral care and pupil guidance
  • Staff training programmes related to supporting all young people but especially the more vulnerable
  • Breadth and flexibility within the school curriculum to meet the needs of all pupils and the availability of activities and experiences outwith the formal school curriculum