School Self Evaluation report

Literacy and Numeracy

Teachers:

  • Have a knowledge and awareness of literacy and numeracy and facilitate pupils to build on these key skills in each subject area however, from the survey results it is clear to see that these is no agreed collective definition of literacy and numeracy. (See Appendix 2 – Teacher Questionnaire Results)
  • The majority of teachers were aware of content of the schools literacy policy. However, some subject departments do not have a strategic literacy and numeracy plan.
  • Teachers’ responses indicate that they use the four literacy skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking both formally and informally during class time but they rely more heavily reading and writing for homework tasks. (See Appendix 2 – Teacher Questionnaire Results)
  • Teachers were asked to define what scope exists in their subject areas for the inclusion of numeracy. All subject areas agreed that there is potential for the inclusion of numeracy skills in their lessons. However, due to the open nature of this question, the responses were varied (See Appendix 2 – Teacher Questionnaire Results).

Parents:

  • Responses from the parents questionnaires indicate that they rate their child’s ability in the four literacy skills are excellent or good, and their child’s ability in the five numeracy skills as excellent or good also. (See Appendix 4 – Parent Questionnaire Results)

Attainment of subject and programme objectives:

Current success criteria used by subject departments to measure the attainment of subject and programme objectives include:

  • Subject departments have an annual review procedure for measuring success.
  • Junior and Leaving Cert results are analysed annually against the national norms.
  • Collective analysis on a five year cycle is also conducted. From 2013 subject department will use the statistics to evaluate and set measurable targets for improvement.

Learning Environment

  • The findings from both student questionnaire illustrates that a positive learning environment exists here in Athlone Community College (See Appendices 6 & 8 – Student Questionnaire Results 1 & 2)
  • Teachers employ a variety of active teaching methodologies including ICT as is evident from pupils’ responses in questionnaire 1. (See Appendix 6 – Student Questionnaire 1 Results)
  • 74% of pupils surveyed feel confident in asking for help in class.
  • 81% of students agreed that they are afforded the opportunity to participate in pair or group work in class time. Of those pupils responding yes, stated that group work happens sometimes.
  • 71% of pupils surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that lessons in their subjects are interesting. (See Appendix 8 – Student Questionnaire 2 Results)
  • 79% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that that their teacher encourages them to work to the best of their ability in class.
  • 75% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that the teacher explains subject content clearly in class.
  • 82% of pupils stated that the teacher listens to and answers their questions.

Students Engagement in Learning:

  • 82% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that they take responsibility for my own learning
  • In Questionnaire 1 pupils identified discussion, group and pair work, ICT (Power Points), practical/project work and audio visual resources as the main learning tools that help their learning. This question enabled students to reflect on their preferred learning styles. (See Appendix 6 – Student Questionnaire 1 Results)
  • 66% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge and understanding is regularly checked in class. (See Appendix 6 – Student Questionnaire 1 Results)

Preparation for teaching:

  • At the beginning of each academic year, subject departments meet to analyse results, plan and set out their learning goals for the year. Preparation of schemes of work is in an integral part of these meetings.
  • Programme meetings are also scheduled at least bi-annually.
  • Formal subject meetings take place twice to three times a year during Croke Park hours to enable teachers to discuss, plan and prepare schemes of work and project work.
  • Informal meetings also take place at regular intervals.
    • Responses from the parents’ questionnaire (See Appendix 4- Parent’s Questionnaire Results) also indicated positive aspects in respect of preparation for teaching and learning in the outcomes for pupils:

      • 93% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child is doing well in school.
      • 75% are happy with the amount of homework their child gets.
      • 68% agreed or strongly agreed that their child’s homework is regularly however, 24% did not know.
      • Parents ratings of their child’s proficiency in literacy and numeracy was also high.
      • From these findings, one can conclude that preparation for teaching for teaching and learning is an integral part of teachers work here in Athlone Community College.

      Teaching Approaches:

      Results from Student Questionnaire 2 (Appendix 8) illustrate that:

      • 79% of pupils have the opportunity to correct their own work in class.
      • 81% of pupils are afforded the opportunity to work in pairs or small groups.
      • 33% of pupils correct the work of other students in their class.
      • 30% of pupils stated that computers are used in class.
      • In the Student Questionnaire 2 (Appendix 7) pupils were asked to identify what helps them to learn best. As expected with the nature of the open question provided to students there was a great diversity of answers. In order to provide some structure to the responses commonly identified methods were identified. (See Appendix 8 – Student Questionnaire 2 results. The top four responses were:
        • Notes: 54
        • PowerPoint: 25
        • Discussion: 17
        • Teacher Explanations: 10
          • Both questions 6 and 8 in this questionnaire reinforced this.
      • In identifying what causes difficulty for learning, pupils identified the following as the top two categories that cause them difficulty:
        • Disruptive pupils: 32
        • Notes: 23

      Management of Students:

      • 76% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that the management of pupils in the school is good. (See Appendix 4- Parent’s Questionnaire Results)

      Assessment:

      • Ongoing formal and informal assessment is evident from the responses to parent and student questionnaires. (Appendix 4 Parent’s Questionnaire Results, 6 & 8, Student’s Questionnaire Results 1 & 2)
      • 66% of pupils stated that their knowledge and understanding of subject content is regularly checked. We can interpret this as both formal and informal assessment, through testing and correction of homework.
      • 66% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that the teacher regularly corrects their written homework.
      • 85% of pupils agreed or strongly agreed that they get regular homework.

      The Parent’s Questionnaire (See Appendix 4- Parent’s Questionnaire Results) identified the following with regard to assessment:

      • 75% stated that they were happy with the amount of homework given to their child.
      • 68% indicated that homework was corrected regularly
      • 89%believed that school reports give a good picture of pupils progress.

      Progress made on previously-identified improvement targets

      This is Athlone Community College’s first engagement in formal school self-evaluation.

      Summary of school self-evaluation findings

      4.1:Our school has strengths in the following areas:

      • Teachers employ numerous teaching methodologies within their class to enhance teaching and learning and pupil outcomes.
      • Findings from parents, students and teacher questionnaires indicate that planning and preparation is an integral part of teachers work.
      • Parents are extremely satisfied with their child’s proficiency in literacy and numeracy.
      • It can be concluded from questionnaires that classroom management is very good.

      4.2: The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

      • Developing a whole school definition of literacy and numeracy and using this definition to develop subject specific statements and plans in literacy and numeracy.
      • Key words, learning outcomes and homework tasks will be displayed clearly on each classroom black/whiteboard.
      • Developing a whole school approach to numeracy: students get percentages of their class based tests, measurements on the corridor.
      • Teachers and students will have more opportunities to integrate ICT into lessons.

      4.2: The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed:

      • Attendance and participation strategy (Circular M51/93, Section 22, Education Welfare Act, 2000).
      • Admission to Schools Bill (Draft).
      • Anti-Bullying (Circular 045/2013).