Following the publication of Databusting for Schools in July, the book is proving to be extremely popular, and feedback continues to come in.
Databusting for Schools was written to make the world of education data accessible to those who may might the subject daunting, so my favourite bit of feedback so far is probably from Primary headteacher Darren Norman: 'Not dry at all, would highly recommend to leaders and governors'. That was exactly the aim for the book, and it's good to see that it is being received so well.
I spoke at the ResearchEd National Conference in September, in a session which I called 'Assessment 101 – Ten things everyone should know about assessing children'. This session took various themes covered in Databusting for Schools and laid them out for those new to the issues in psychometrics.
These kinds of introductions to assessment are proving to be very popular, as are the sessions I run on the current pupil performance data landscape, looking at the recent history and future direction of the use of numerical data in schools.
I'm speaking at a couple of public events in October, if you like to hear me talk.
EducTech Show, London Olympica, October 12th (details here).
School Data Conference, London, November 7th (details here).
ResearchEd Durham, Durham, November 24th (details here).
I also wrote a piece, 'Tracking Pupil progress Doesn't Always Mean Using Data' for Teach Primary, which you can find here.
As my Teach Primary piece concludes, "Many schools have stopped allocating dubious numbers to children, embracing standardised tests and comparative judgement instead.
Lots have embraced the idea that assessing attainment and monitoring progress are separate endeavours, and have worked hard to ensure that children are properly supported in learning those things they have not yet mastered, rather than pushed on before they have grasped the curriculum appropriate to their age.
When Sean Harford, Ofsted’s engaging national director of education, recently tweeted that tracking pupil progress “doesn’t necessarily mean ‘use data’”, the odd hissing sound you might have heard probably came from the offices of those who have been tasked with managing data in their schools, as the air slowly leaked from the tyres of their data juggernauts.
Simply put, progress happens when a child’s knowledge and understanding advances, rather than when a number has been generated. It’s about what children can do now that they couldn’t do before, not simply whether the figures have changed. That, more than anything, is progress."
Please get in touch if you have any comments, feedback or requests for further information.
Much excitement here as we approach the official launch of Databusting for Schools, my new book for Sage Publications. And where better to launch a book for schools than the best children's bookshop in Leeds, The Little Bookshop? The lovely people at The Little Bookshop have agreed to open late especially for the launch, so put 13th July 2018 in your diary and join us as we celebrate.
The books is available for pre-order at all good bookshops, and the Big Online Shop even has a preview of chapter one for your delight and delectation.
So, please spread the word, and join us if you can on the 13th July. Drinks and nibbles will be available, copies of book will be available for you to buy and all are welcome. Why not bring the children and make a night of it?
RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you are coming!
Well, this is exciting. Databusting for Schools is in final pre-production and is now available for pre-order on all good book websites and from all good booksellers. To celebrate the publication of the book, we will also be hosting book launches in London and Yorkshire. If you'd like to come along, please get in touch.
With things moving quickly in the world of education data, look out for updates and additional material on this website, as we continue the drive to look behind the numbers in education.
In the meantime, here's a sneak preview from Chapter 1 of Databusting for Schools...
"Schools have, of course, gathered data for a long time. The use of numerical data in schools has, however, increased massively in the last forty years. There are a number of reasons for this, from the increase in affordable computing power to ever-increasing external involvement in the internal workings of schools. Whatever the explanation for the rise in the use of numbers in schools, teachers, senior managers, governors and others working in and with schools are finding that they are being required to gather, analyse, interpret and act on numerical-based data as part of their roles in education.
For many working in and with schools, this has required a level of understanding of numbers, and of statistics based on those numbers, which asks a great deal of busy professionals whose main focus is on education, not data. This book aims to give you a readable grounding in the use and interpretation of educational data throughout the education system. Aimed at the general reader, the book takes as its starting point those teachers, middle leaders and governors who are getting to grips with data. Those senior leaders who entered teaching before the current data-focused era will also find the ideas set out here invaluable in understanding many common misconceptions about numbers, as well as the many ways in which numbers can provide valuable insight into effective (and ineffective) practice in schools.
The gathering, analysis and interpretation of numerical data is key to making sensible decisions about future courses of action. Since the decisions we make in schools have impacts not just on our students, but on the whole school community, we need to understand the new educational data landscape so we can decide how to move forward. In the modern world, Databusting has become essential."
Databusting for Schools is available for pre-order at Amazon, Wordery and all other reputable booksellers.