2.1 Strategic Planning - Online learning activity A - Using school data


To increase councillors’ awareness about how data is used to assist in improving student outcomes.


The Government School Performance Summary provides information about a school's:

  • NAPLAN results for years 3, 5, 7 and 9, and how these compare to all other Victorian government schools
  • performance compared to other Victorian schools after taking account of the different student intake characteristics of each school
  • socio-economic profile
  • average levels of parent and student satisfaction, as provided through annual parent and student surveys.

As part of the Annual Report, each school provides a summary about the school and what it is doing to improve its performance in the four areas of student outcomes (achievement, engagement, wellbeing, and productivity).



  1. Review the reports for Happy Valley Primary School (30 Pages) (click above)
  2. Review the reports for Happy Valley Secondary College (7 Pages) (click above)
  3. Use the reports to answer the questions below
  4. Check your answers by clicking on the 'Show Answer' button.


Question One

How does Happy Valley Secondary College compare with other broadly similar schools (taking into account this school and other school's students) in the area of student engagement?


Happy Valley Secondary College has a similar reported outcome in the area of engagement compared to broadly similar schools.

Question Two

How are student attitudes to school measured for this report?


Student attitudes to school are measured through the Attitudes to School Survey completed annually by Victorian government school students in Years 5 to 12.

Question Three

Have student attitudes to Happy Valley Primary School improved over time?


No, student attitudes to Happy Valley Primary School have declined over time: average results for 2015 are lower than 2013.

Question Four

What proportion of students attending Happy Valley Secondary College have English as a second language?


Happy Valley Secondary College has a mid proportion of students with English as a second language.

Question Five

Of the five NAPLAN Year 5 Domains shown in the report, in which one did Happy Valley Primary School perform most highly?


Students performed highest in the Year 5 NAPLAN writing domain.

Question Six

Where do Happy Valley Secondary College’s NAPLAN Year 9 numeracy results sit compared to other Victorian government schools ?


Happy Valley Secondary College’s results in Year 9 numeracy are above the state average for Victorian government schools. Their result is at approximately Band 9 while the state average is at approximately Band 8.

Question Seven

In which calendar year from 2013-2014 did Happy Valley Primary School report the highest student absences?


Happy Valley Primary School reported the highest student absences in 2013 when the school mean was 13.32 days absent per full time equivalent student.


Key points to remember are:

  • the data is only half the story, context is the other
  • councillors should look for the main stories, not the small detail
  • the two areas on which to focus are trends over time and comparison to other schools
  • do not draw conclusions on the basis of one data set only
  • be aware that data from very small samples can skew results: one student leaving could change a school’s profile significantly.

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