Jump to content

My School website
What do I look for?


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 feralgreenthumbs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

We are about to buy our first home (there'll be many questions for advice soon in the home section happy.gif ). But one thing so many are suggesting is when looking at location, look at the local schools.

DS and any future siblings will be going to local gov schools - eventually - he's only 17mths.

I've been looking at the my school website, but what am I looking at? What does it all mean?

Can anyone advise where to go specifically to find out about your local schools, especially when you don't know anyone in the area with kids that go to the schools.

Thanks for any advice!

#2 Dionysus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

When you do trawl through the myschool site, I think one of the most important things to try and figure out is the progress of the cohort.

So, the school you are looking at will have some charts/graphs/data about how each year level (3, 5, 7, 9) went in their NAPLAN.

Every school analyses this data to then implement specific programs.  The school I work at has some literacy issues in the younger years which have been addressed last year. We are eagerly looking forward to this year's NAPLAN (plus PATR and other indicators) to see how well we have done.

It is important to compare the Yr 3 data from 2 years ago with the Yr 5 data from this year, if you can.

If there has been a backslide, you must then question what is going on.

If there is little change, then you must question whether their programs are working well

If there is an increase, then the school is doing something right.



#3 Lyn29

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

.

Edited by bye, 29 March 2013 - 02:40 PM.


#4 Expelliarmus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

MySchool is good for nothing.

Go do a school tour.

#5 Dionysus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

Yep, fair enough, I agree with both of you

But, parents are using it.  So, I think it is important they interrogate the data for more than just face value.

#6 Expelliarmus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:29 PM

I tried interpreting it.

It was too hard. If a teacher with extra studies in research adn statistics struggles, then what hope do parents have?

Seriously it takes week of PD sessions at school to understand what my own school's data tells me. I wouldn't even try to interpret multiple school sets on MySchool.

#7 tibs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:37 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 02/02/2013, 11:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I tried interpreting it.

It was too hard. If a teacher with extra studies in research adn statistics struggles, then what hope do parents have?

Seriously it takes week of PD sessions at school to understand what my own school's data tells me. I wouldn't even try to interpret multiple school sets on MySchool.


I use an excel spreadsheet to compare local schools  cool.gif

#8 Dionysus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

QUOTE (tibs @ 02/02/2013, 11:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I use an excel spreadsheet to compare local schools  cool.gif



Sure, but what are you actually interpreting?  What I am saying is that families need to look at more than the raw score.  What Howdo is saying is that that is damned difficult!

#9 Expelliarmus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:46 PM

What are you comparing?

Are you comparing cohorts or are you comparing year levels?

Are you factoring in SES percentages?

Are you accounting for student learning disabilities?

Can you account for learning difficulties - such as dyslexia which are not verifiable under the SN categories?

Are you factoring in the ESL population of the school?

Are you triangulating multiple sets of data or just looking at the NAPLAN?

#10 tibs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:54 PM

QUOTE (**Mel** @ 02/02/2013, 11:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sure, but what are you actually interpreting?  What I am saying is that families need to look at more than the raw score.  What Howdo is saying is that that is damned difficult!


I don't think it is difficult for someone with tertiary qualifications and I think it is a little worrying that a teacher would find it difficult? I take the raw scores and do my own analysis of them.  Although I think the raw scores can tell you something for example the raw scores across all categories for year 5 students at our zoned school are LOWER than the raw scores for year 3 students at the schools in the next suburb.

#11 treetree

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Personally, I look at the percentage of children that go on to University (or at least gain places). I do this because I believe that it shows that not only can the schools achieve good grades for their students, but that they also have an emphasis on encouraging further study.

Doing this recently led me to the best public schools in our area. ALL of which have a zoning rule. So you cannot attend these schools unless you live in the area (there are a few exceptions, so I'm working on it starting now!) and we do not live int he area! We live in an area where anyone can get in to our local schools, they don't care if you fly in from Mars!

#12 girltribe4

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Those results are so skewed , my daughter with Dyslexia gets sent home with a ''opt out'' form each year she has been in a year to do it.

#13 Expelliarmus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:06 PM

QUOTE (tibs @ 02/02/2013, 11:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think it is difficult for someone with tertiary qualifications and I think it is a little worrying that a teacher would find it difficult? I take the raw scores and do my own analysis of them.  Although I think the raw scores can tell you something for example the raw scores across all categories for year 5 students at our zoned school are LOWER than the raw scores for year 3 students at the schools in the next suburb.

All it tells you is that the scores for two different cohorts of children are lower.

You are comparing two different cohorts.

It tells you only that the cohorts are different.

It doesn't tell you the school response to the data collection. It doesn't tell you anything about the cohorts. None of the data has a control group.

The most basic comparison isn't difficult, no. But the most basic comparison is pretty pointless because you're not looking at a random sample, you're comparing specific cohorts of students which may not have any similar factors.

#14 tibs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:07 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 02/02/2013, 11:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What are you comparing?

Are you comparing cohorts or are you comparing year levels?

Are you factoring in SES percentages?

Are you accounting for student learning disabilities?
I'm
Can you account for learning difficulties - such as dyslexia which are not verifiable under the SN categories?

Are you factoring in the ESL population of the school?

Are you triangulating multiple sets of data or just looking at the NAPLAN?


I compare each subject data set, measuring the gain for each cohort over the 2 years as well as comparing the year levels longitudinally.  The ESL population is bimodal so can't be factored in with myschool data alone.



#15 tibs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:11 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 03/02/2013, 12:06 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
All it tells you is that the scores for two different cohorts of children are lower.

You are comparing two different cohorts.

It tells you only that the cohorts are different.

It doesn't tell you the school response to the data collection. It doesn't tell you anything about the cohorts. None of the data has a control group.

The most basic comparison isn't difficult, no. But the most basic comparison is pretty pointless because you're not looking at a random sample, you're comparing specific cohorts of students which may not have any similar factors.


No I am referring to year 3 2009 compared to year 5 2011 data.  The same pettern was evident when comparing 2008/2010.  What it shows is the students at my local school have not reached by year 5 the level which their peers at the neighbouring school started at in year 3.


Edited by tibs, 02 February 2013 - 11:17 PM.


#16 libbylu

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:24 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 02/02/2013, 11:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What are you comparing?

Are you comparing cohorts or are you comparing year levels?

Are you factoring in SES percentages?

Are you accounting for student learning disabilities?

Can you account for learning difficulties - such as dyslexia which are not verifiable under the SN categories?

Are you factoring in the ESL population of the school?

Are you triangulating multiple sets of data or just looking at the NAPLAN?


I have thought about this too - but I think there is still some value in looking at raw scores because it tells you something about the cohort - each cohort will be different and so difficult to compare, but which would you rather your child be part of? A high performing or low performing cohort?  I suppose it depends a bit on your child.  Mine is bright and well ahead in literacy so I think he'd be better off somewhere with lots of other high performing kids to spur him on and complete agaisnt, where as if he were low performing I guess I would prefer a school that helped their struggling kids up to an average level.

And I agree about high school - I have just looked at the percentage of kids going to uni if you are looking for an academically oriented high school for your child.

#17 Expelliarmus

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:44 PM

I don't care how the cohort performs. I want to know if their school has an active parent body. I want to know if they have a music program and a sport program. I want to know what leadership opportunities they offer the children. I want to know if they have dedicated upper and junior school play equipment, if there is an oval or playing field. I want to know if their teachers are dedicated, experienced and enthusiastic. I want to know if they value the Arts, have Future Direction planning and support initiatives such as the Premiers Reading Challenge, a school kitchen garden and cooking program and the Music Festival.

I'd rather my child be part of a thriving, dynamic community with dedicated and active participants. I actually don't care what their cohort is achieving because I can't measure my child against their cohort. They are their own, unique person with their own strengths, talents and abilities and whether or not their cohort is high performing is largely irrelevant to their individual achievement.

#18 tibs

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:57 PM

I'm not going to the myschool website for all those things you listed howdo that can largely be gleaned from their websites, newsletters, P&C minutes etc.  I am using myschool as another part of the puzzle.

QUOTE (howdo @ 03/02/2013, 12:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They are their own, unique person with their own strengths, talents and abilities and whether or not their cohort is high performing is largely irrelevant to their individual achievement.


I disagree with this.  

I'm with libbylu

QUOTE
Mine is bright and well ahead in literacy so I think he'd be better off somewhere with lots of other high performing kids to spur him on and complete agaisnt,


#19 Expelliarmus

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:01 AM

Mine have never competed against anyone but themselves.

shrug.gif

#20 tibs

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:06 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 03/02/2013, 01:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mine have never competed against anyone but themselves.

shrug.gif


My son excels with external motivation.  At our local school he would be a chronic underachiever.

#21 SylviaPlath

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:39 AM

QUOTE (tibs @ 02/02/2013, 11:37 PM)
I use an excel spreadsheet to compare local schools  cool.gif


DH (software engineer) has written a program (cos nerds get bored) that links into google maps and colours the map based on the scoring of similar cohorts so you can see where the top scores based on similar cohort are. Makes it simple for dumb people like me to understand. As such, we are now on the waiting list (had an interview and all) when DS turned 1 at the top ranking primary school in our state. Lol



#22 cantstayaway

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:39 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 02/02/2013, 11:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't care how the cohort performs. I want to know if their school has an active parent body. I want to know if they have a music program and a sport program. I want to know what leadership opportunities they offer the children. I want to know if they have dedicated upper and junior school play equipment, if there is an oval or playing field. I want to know if their teachers are dedicated, experienced and enthusiastic. I want to know if they value the Arts, have Future Direction planning and support initiatives such as the Premiers Reading Challenge, a school kitchen garden and cooking program and the Music Festival.

I'd rather my child be part of a thriving, dynamic community with dedicated and active participants. I actually don't care what their cohort is achieving because I can't measure my child against their cohort. They are their own, unique person with their own strengths, talents and abilities and whether or not their cohort is high performing is largely irrelevant to their individual achievement.



I agree with this.  Personally I think you can get a better idea of what a primary school is like by going to the school fete, reading a few school newsletters, taking a look at their website, phoning them and asking questions.  You can pretty quickly ascertain how enthusiastic the parents and staff are and how willing they are to get involved and the general vibe of the school.   I wouldn't rely on NAPLAN results to pick a good primary school - there is no allowance for the kids who have had a bad day and it doesn't really give a reliable snapshot of their ability.

High schools are a different kettle fish though.  MySchool can be useful for looking at things like the % of kids who got into uni, but again I wouldn't place too much emphasis on NAPLAN results.  It is also important to know things like, subjects offered, extracurricular programs, number of OP1s per year (Qld) and behaviour of students at local shops and on public transport.  My DS's highschool is one of the best performing in Qld (by number of OP1s) and I based my decision on behaviour of kids while in uniform.

#23 feralgreenthumbs

Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 03/02/2013, 12:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't care how the cohort performs. I want to know if their school has an active parent body. I want to know if they have a music program and a sport program. I want to know what leadership opportunities they offer the children. I want to know if they have dedicated upper and junior school play equipment, if there is an oval or playing field. I want to know if their teachers are dedicated, experienced and enthusiastic. I want to know if they value the Arts, have Future Direction planning and support initiatives such as the Premiers Reading Challenge, a school kitchen garden and cooking program and the Music Festival.

I'd rather my child be part of a thriving, dynamic community with dedicated and active participants. I actually don't care what their cohort is achieving because I can't measure my child against their cohort. They are their own, unique person with their own strengths, talents and abilities and whether or not their cohort is high performing is largely irrelevant to their individual achievement.


Yes, this what I want! Seriously, the other information is a different language to me. I would just like him to have a nice school experience, to have the opportunity to learn things that interest him and to be happy.

#24 lynneyours

Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:48 AM

QUOTE (SylviaPlath @ 03/02/2013, 01:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DH (software engineer) has written a program (cos nerds get bored) that links into google maps and colours the map based on the scoring of similar cohorts so you can see where the top scores based on similar cohort are. Makes it simple for dumb people like me to understand. As such, we are now on the waiting list (had an interview and all) when DS turned 1 at the top ranking primary school in our state. Lol

Is he sharing?  Or if I pm my postcode and email, can I see my local results, for Melbourne, please?  So far, I've looked at the school website, been to the fete's and chatted to parents there, seen what other stuff they offer, such as those listed by howdo.

#25 winterlove

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:01 AM

I appreciate that there are a lot of factors to take into account when looking at a school and a school can fudge the results by excluding certain student on the day but I would have thought that you could get a good appreciation of how a school performs by looking at the "results in numbers" page and if they perform significantly above the state average (or have a large amount of green and no red) they are a good school and this usually correlates with the socio economic factors of the area. I am using this graph to guide my home purchase.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

The 15 photos new parents share (and five they don't)

From the first scan photo to the baby covered in cake at their first birthday party, there are 15 photos most parents seem to share - and some they don't.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Breastfeeding friendly café goes viral

A photo of a breastfeeding-friendly sign in a cafe has been posted to Facebook and shared by hundreds of mums around the world.

First look at the Bugaboo Bee3

The newest Bugaboo Bee ? the Bee3 ? offers a variety of improved features, including a much asked-for bassinet and a rainbow of colour combinations.

Childcare costs, not paid leave, the real issue for parents

Given the choice between maintaining their wage for six months to have a child, or having a reduced rate of pay for a time but a better deal on childcare when returning to work, there are no odds on what most working parents would choose.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

We lost three babies in two years

Our first pregnancy ended the way we all expected it to - with a healthy, happy baby in our arms. What a true blessing he was, for we were not to know the heartache we were about endure.

Family turned back from doomed flight MH17

'There must have been someone watching over us and saying, 'You must not get on that flight,' says mother who narrowly avoided boarding the Malaysian Airlines flight which exploded in mid-air over the Ukraine last night.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Adorable Skeanie loafers for kids

Your little toddler or preschooler can now get their nautical on with a new range of classic loafers by Australian show brand Skeanie.

My baby is hypermobile

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry that Jasmin isn't crawling or walking. This week I heard the term hypermobile for the first time.

When you don?t bond with your baby

They say that there is no bond greater than the bond between a mother and her child. But for some women, the mother-baby bond takes more time and effort to develop.

Yumi Stynes: Having a baby after a 10-year break

After a long break, Yumi Stynes gets a reminder of the pain - and the pleasure - of giving birth.

Grieving father asks for help to Photoshop his daughter's image

When Nathan Steffel's daughter Sophia died from a liver condition at just 6 weeks old, he reached out for someone to create a beautiful image of his little girl.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.