Ritical reflection on the use and understanding of SEN data

Module 1 Critical reflection on the use and understanding of SEN data
Task: Critically reflect on your understanding, and the use of, one or more forms of SEN data in your context. (1500 words)
Understanding and using data:
In your role you will collect/create/generate new data or use already existing data. However, the focus of this assignment is on the use and understanding of data. The use of data can take a variety of forms. It will involve an examination of what the data are or will be and how they are conceptualised and represented. This will also involve a consideration of the validity, reliability and legitimacy of using data  the extent to which the data can be  trusted and you can have  confidence in the data. This assignment also allows a critical reflection, such as where the researcher/SENCO is considered to be involved in the co-construction of data and what the value of the data is.
Understanding the use of data emphasises the importance of not simply engaging in a collection of data and a subsequent analysis of it but also of encouraging the user of the data to actually begin to think about what data  is . By considering the  status of data in this way, you should also consider what it is reasonable to do and to say with the data about specific pupils. For example, a table of pupil statistics is different from a qualitative description or staffroom report. They each take a different stance towards the way this data is used to convince the audience of the  trustworthiness of the work. The former stance may perhaps start from an assumption that the  truth of a situation can be  revealed through quantifying and analysing; the latter might assume that one can only  construct stories (albeit supported by evidence such as observations) about a situation that might be useful to the audience.

So rather than simply using data in a way that makes claims to objectivity or to represent reality in some way, researchers/SENCOs should, perhaps, consider the following kinds of questions: 18

How are the data created, collected or constructed?
What are the processes of selection, interpretation and representation that have been engaged in during the generation/production of the data?
Whose interests does the data best serve? Professionals, parents, pupils?
In what contexts are the data produced? In other words in what ways are the data culturally and socially located and shaped?
In what ways have the data been produced/created?

Schools are data rich. You are not expected to collect data but to critically reflect on the use and understanding of data in your working context. However it is worthwhile considering briefly methods of data collection and how the methods you use to collect data may influence the  trustworthiness of the data. Methods used may involve interviews, observations, questionnaires, narratives and stories of events from others, pupil documentation from other sources/organisations/agencies as well as from within your own school.
Consider the nature of the data in your school which informs your coordination role. Data comes in many forms and is used for a variety of purposes.
Describe the types of data you come across and need to engage with.
Consider the most useful types of data and the least useful.
Consider how collected information is different from active knowledge in practice  information is not knowledge.
Consider the ethical processes necessary when collecting, analysing, disseminating and judging pupil data.



You might find it helpful to structure your assignment in the following way:
Introduction: explain briefly the nature of your assignment. This might include a brief description of your chosen type(s) of data, the context (eg school) and how the assignment is structured. (200 words)
Main section: divided into paragraphs which each examine a different point. (total of 1000 words)
Conclusion: sum up your critical reflection and consider implications for your practice. (300 words)
References: using Harvard referencing notation.
Relevant appendices: ensure anonymity, make sure you refer to the appendices in your text.
You might find the following two articles useful to reflect on the nature of data and how it can impact on teacher and pupil identity, beliefs and practice:
Reay, D. and Wiliam, D. (1999) Ill be a nothing: Structure, agency and the construction of identity through assessment British Educational Research Journal 25, 3, 343-354.
Hall, K., Collins, J., Benjamin, S., Nind, M. and Sheehy, K. (2004) SATurated Models of Pupildom: Assessment and Inclusion/Exclusion, British Educational Research Journal, 30, 6, 801-817.

DfES (2004) Every child matters: next steps. London: DfES.
if needed
Cowne, E. (2008) The SENCO handbook: working within a whole-school approach (5th ed). London : Fulton.

” Assessment for Learning (AfL) across the school: a case study in whole school capacity building. website
Harvard referencing system.