Global testing and culture

In the fifth and final installment of his webinar, Global regional principal Hugo Vaughan talks about the global testing that will be coming to OneSchool campuses in the near future and why culture is important to a school.

Global testing has been trialed in New Zealand, Queensland, America and Europe and it is about testing every student from Grade 3 to grade 12, three times a year.

“Maths, reading and comprehension and the three areas that will be tested,” said Mr Vaughan. “A student will walk into a class in front of the screen and get a user name and password. They’ll log in and there are questions for them. They cannot study for it because every test is different.”

The whole point of the tests is to allow teaching staff to know what level a student’s reading, maths and comprehension is at and will be held in February, June and November.

“Why do a global test?” said Mr Vaughan. “Our vision talks about celebrating success and progress. When kids are little we are interested in progress. But when we are at high school what are we concentrating on? Academic level and ATAR scores? What kids get that? Only the top three? What about the guy in the middle who has worked himself or herself to a standstill and made incredible progress in all areas. How do we recognise and reward that? Kids will focus on all the things that we value and reward.”

Global testing will also let OneSchool staff know where some students are struggling and where they are strong. It will also allow teachers to see trends in the way students are progressing. For example, if a student is testing at Level 2  February and then in June they’re still at Level 2, then a teachers can intervene and find out why they are no progressing.

Mr Vaughan also touched on the culture within OneSchool, which is a little different from other schools.

“If we have a culture where kids are studying in the learning centre and to do all these wonderful things and be responsible in their learning,” he said. “How do we sustain that? Do we get a clipboard and go around every lesson and check every student – ‘have you done this? Have you done that? Are you one target?’ If your culture in your school is such that you don’t need to check on what students are doing on their devices you can spend your time as a teacher working the students learn rather than running around with a clipboard checking everything they are supposed to be doing.”

Mr Vaughan believes culture will sustain a learning to learn framework. It will facilitate the school’s vision without having to run around checking students all the time.

“Every organisation has a culture,” said Mr Vaughan. “A business has a culture. If you as a leader in your business do not set the culture in that business it will develop its own culture. If you as a teacher do not set the culture in your classroom it will develop its own culture. If you as a principal do not set the culture in your school it will develop its own culture. And that culture could be an asset or a liability. It is your responsibility as the leader or owner in your own space to set the culture in your organisation. Former All Black caption Richie McCaw said, ‘A successful culture is what you are doing when no-one is watching.’ Is there a time to relax? Yes. Is there are time to watch your screen? Yes. Is there a time to be focuses and dedicated to your work? Absolutely. It’s about having the right culture.”