So you think you are a good school! An evaluation of one school's strategies for raising the achievement of those pupils identified as underachieving: Is target setting the answer or should we also be listening to and responding to the views of the pupils'?

Carrington-Howell, Digby (2004). So you think you are a good school! An evaluation of one school's strategies for raising the achievement of those pupils identified as underachieving: Is target setting the answer or should we also be listening to and responding to the views of the pupils'? EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e894

Abstract

With the introduction of 'school league tables', added pressure is placed upon schools to improve pupil examination performance. One of the main areas of interest therefore, is for schools to identify pupils who are on the grade D/C borderline and those pupils with the potential to achieve five or more GCSEs at grade C or above and then target them in some way to help them realise their potential. This study takes place in an 11-16 Voluntary Aided Roman Catholic school. The senior management team has identified a group of pupils who they feel are underachieving basing their conclusions on pupil performance data. The group of pupils targeted are all in Year 11 and all are felt to be capable of achieving five or more grade "C" GCSEs but are on the D/C border line in a number of subjects. A strategy has been put in place to target these pupils with senior staff as mentors. The study looks to see if this is the most appropriate way to identify and raise underachievement and if this is the most effective time in their academic career to target the pupils. Using a questionnaire, a survey was completed focusing on pupil motivation to try and find out exactly if and when demotivation and underachievement occurs at this school. The indications suggest that the senior management strategy is probably occurring too late and motivation needs addressing earlier down the school, possibly as early as Year 7. It also appeared that there was very little evaluation of the strategy by management and as a result it was not developing further. Very little work appears to have been done on pupils' perspectives of their schooling and what contribution they can make to school improvement. The questionnaire identified what was happening with respect to motivation in the school but being a quantitative collection method did not explain why. The obvious source of information to investigate this problem was the pupils themselves. A series of qualitative techniques were used to canvas pupils' perceptions of the school's strategies to see if any recommendations could be generated to further increase pupil examination achievement. It was found that pupils' perceptions should seriously be considered in policy formulation and that the initiative could be further improved through regular evaluation.

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