On Wednesday I attended a training session which looked at among other things the characteristics of a successful subject area.
One of the things that was presented was Stoll and Fink analysis; this was originally written for whole school improvement but the trainer put forward the idea that this can also be used on a department and subject level.
The idea is that the department can fit into one of the five boxes.
- Boosts student progress and achievement.
- People work together and respond to change.
- People know where they are going and have the will and the skill to get there.
Cruising Subject Area
- Appear to have many of the qualities of an effective subject area.
- Pupils achieve despite the teaching.
- The people are responding well to change.
Strolling Subject Area
- Neither particularly effective or ineffective.
- Move at an adequate pace to cope with change.
- Have ill-defined aims.
- Conflict sometimes inhibits progress.
Struggling Subject Area
- Ineffective and know it.
- Expend energy trying to improve but results in “thrashing about”
- They are willing to try anything and will ultimately succeed.
Sinking Subject Area
- Staff are isolated.
- There is an unwillingness to change either through ignorance or apathy.
- There is a blame culture.
- Student achievement is poor and failing.
I think that this is a useful tool to think about where you are and where you are going. I am planning on getting the book that this came from out of the library.Changing Our Schools: Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement (Changing Education).