Festive conclusion first group of teams in Deventer

Festive conclusion first group of teams in Deventer

On Thursday, June 20, the 10 teams of the Stichting Carmelcollege came together to exchange experiences and results. The exchange took place at the Etty Hillesum Lyceum, location Het Vlier in Deventer. More than 60 teachers, school leaders, quality assurance controllers and other interested parties came to Deventer. After the first introduction, while enjoying a cup of coffee and a ‘Datateam’ pastry, the programme started in the lecture hall

While outside the sky was pouring with rain, Hanadie Leusink (the trainer/coach of the Carmel-teams from the University of Twente) delivered the opening speech, followed by Kim Schildkamp (project leader at the University of Twente) with a short review of the first group of teams. During the review, the people in the hall were asked to cast a vote on a couple of myths concerning education; true or false? Sometimes the results were staggering! Boys, for example, are not better at maths, and pupils do not have different styles of learning to which one needs to adapt one’s methods of teaching. This last statement proved to be an eye-opener for a lot of people in the audience.

It became apparent from the presentations given by the various teams that they, themselves, had debunked a couple of myths as well. The presentations focused not only on the results of the research into; for example, ‘learning outcomes in senior general secondary education’, and ‘exam results English’ but also on the (learning) process. All of the data teams started their research with so-called external hypotheses; in other words, they attributed problems to causes that they, themselves, did not have any influence over. “The transition problems are being caused by low entry levels of new pupils”. “Our exam results are influenced in a negative way by the influx of pupils from another location”. All these hypotheses were proven wrong!

Some of the teams encountered a couple of obstacles, such as problems to do with data collection or changes in staff, which made it hard to ensure continuity. “Working with data is not yet an integrate part of school culture. We sometimes felt like the data team was ‘our thing’. This is something we want to work on”, according to a team chairman.

There were also positive results; a couple of teams found the underlying cause of the problem and are already taking counter measures. “Our exam results for English are a lot higher this year. We are very happy about that!”. Maybe even more importantly, all the data teams stated that “you can use data to improve education”. Using data as a basis for educational debate is now starting to become common practice at these schools.

At the end of this successful and productive afternoon, Romain Rijk delivered his closing speech. He had enjoyed the afternoon and complimented the team members. “When we talked about quality in the old days, it mostly referred to things such as respect, dealing with people in a sensitive manner and offering opportunities to our pupils. The hard data referred to by the Education Council was sometimes considered to be gibberish. Now the culture is changing, although it is not always easy”. Romain clearly stated that, although this was the conclusion of the first group of data teams, he was happy to hear that each data team will continue next school year. “I think it is important that working with the DATATEAM® method is not ‘just a project’ after which we simply continue with our daily routine. The aim is a sustainable professionalization of ourselves, to be able to look at our own work objectively. It is good to see that all of us have switched from looking for external causes to internal causes of the problems we are experiencing. This is a positive development, which we value greatly!” After these beautiful words the time had come for the official moment. All the team members present were handed a certificate of participation and a rose.