The INSET rush started early this year, mid-August in fact, as our very own Matt McGinlay headed off to Hong Kong to help a number of schools in the region begin to use their CEM assessment data more effectively. There were five school visits arranged over the course of seven days, not to mention the 17-hour flights in each direction!
In spite of having already heard about the Hong Kong weather beforehand – August being the hottest and wettest month – Matt still wasn’t expecting to be greeted with a T1 typhoon warning upon arrival. This was quickly upgraded to a T3 warning, the level just below all schools being closed and everyone sent home. Fortunately, it didn’t quite come to that, but nevertheless, he hopes his next visit won’t be in 33-degree heat, 96% humidity and dodging the torrential downpours!
The schools visited were truly international in nature, with very diverse student (and staff) bodies, and each with their unique context. CEM assessment data constitute a fundamental tool for enabling staff to benchmark against other students worldwide and use baseline data to impact on teaching. The information also allows them to reflect on the progress their students make compared to the rest of world and to ensure that a world-class education is on offer.
All five of the schools visited signed up to our Pro+ CEM training package as part of a commitment to sustained, evidence-based training. The package includes a day of bespoke, in-school training that can be for any group (or groups) of staff. All schools chose to use their own data as part of the training so it could be tailored to their context, and so Matt could discuss real pupils that staff are familiar with – crucial for making the link between some numbers and the professional knowledge of the staff attending.
“Thanks so much for the training – it was fantastic to be able to tailor the experience to exactly what we wanted and needed – the use of our own data added another dimension that enhanced the experience further.”
As an organisation, we’re trying to drive the move away from single-day INSET alone, which the evidence suggests is unlikely to impact on student outcomes (see Timperley et al, 2007). To that end, these visits are just the beginning of the work we are doing with the schools in question. Their training and support packages also include access for all staff to quarterly training webinars, ongoing live chat, telephone and email support. What’s more, we’re in the final stages of launching a brand-new online CEM training course for all package subscribers, to replace our existing video library. The course will contain a range of modules and lessons that guide colleagues through interpreting and using CEM assessment data. The lessons still contain videos that can be used as part of in-school training, but in a much neater format that guides any number of staff through using the data. More information can be found here.
“I have had a lot of great feedback from those that attended so I think it will really help us move data forward.”
Having seen the sights of Hong Kong island over the weekend, Matt returned waxing lyrical about the schools and the place. He described it as a “subtropical Scotland” on account of the stunning coastlines, golden beaches and the less than perfect road surfaces! But then he is prone to his rather unique brand of analysis…!