Supporting broader school-wide strategy with student insights

Steph Wood

August 2020

Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School sought to gather data to support continuous improvement

Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School (PEGS) - Junior School (Boys) is renowned for academic excellence and providing a supportive environment for students. 

To maintain and enhance its standing, PEGS sought to gather student feedback data in areas critical to its school strategy. In doing so, PEGS identified an opportunity to implement a consistent approach to gathering this data, both in terms of the questions asked and the technology used by teachers and students.

PEGS turned to Ziplet to implement a school-wide survey solution that would provide richer insights into the experiences and challenges faced by students, whilst requiring minimal effort by teachers and staff to implement. 

PEGS identified five key focus areas

PEGS identified five questions for each teacher to ask their students each term. These questions were linked to the school’s strategy, and provided a direct link between this strategy and the classroom. 

Moreover, asking these questions early in the term provided an opportunity for teachers to adopt changes to enhance the results in the current term, speeding up the improvement cycle.

Students were asked to respond to the following questions, each asked with a scale and free text response type: 

  1. I reflect on what I have learned at the end of each lesson
  2. I find the work interesting
  3. I can get help in class when I need it
  4. I understand the learning intention of each class
  5. My teacher respects me

Individual teachers were able to review their own class data to make any changes to drive improvement. School-wide trends could be shared with school leaders, in an aggregated, anonymised format.

PEGS saw high response rates and immediate improvement

More than 90% of teachers gathered feedback from Ziplet, with most gathering students feedback in the first week of Ziplet rollout. In addition, more than 95% of students provide feedback at PEGS across each year of use. 

Between semesters 1 and 2, results showed improvement across all of their strategic objectives. This was a most pleasing result for the school as it was able to demonstrate definitive improvement in key areas linked to its strategy in the first year of using Ziplet.

Additionally, 70% of teachers used Ziplet to ask questions above and beyond the recommended model questions. These included:

  • What are you struggling to understand at the moment?
  • What change could I make to better support your learning?
  • What topic were you most passionate about this semester? And why?

PEGS’ use of Ziplet provides a model for other school seeking continuous improvement

The success of Ziplet at PEGS is underscored by several key elements:

Leadership input into question development: School leadership worked with the school’s strategy and teaching staff to identify the list of model questions for teachers to ask each term. This ensured buy-in from the school’s teaching staff.

School leadership engaging with school-wide data: Ziplet’s unique platform allows for aggregated and anonymised data to be made available to school leaders to better inform decision-making. PEGS’ school leadership regularly engaged with this data to understand school-wide trends. 

Sharing of school-wide data to support professional development priorities: PEGS’ school leadership shared school-wide data with teaching staff to celebrate successes and identify areas for professional development support. This engendered trust and helped to build a school-wide approach to continuous improvement.

Ziplet is ridiculously easy to use and I have found it helpful. I like it when I need to know if kids 'got' a concept or if they're still a bit confused. It's a safe forum where they don't have to draw attention to themselves.

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