How to Respond to Results

If you are a teacher then results day can be quite daunting – and to top it off there are two of them. In my time as a teacher I have had some amazing results days and also some really difficult ones. There can also be the mix of elation at some grades and confusion at others.

The important thing is how we respond to the results and the steps we take post results. It will not only make us better teachers, but also prepare us for the future:

  1. Celebrate success and look at the positives. It isn’t all about the A*/A grades, look at those students who you know got a grade that they really had to work for – it might be a C/D grade, but if that was their target, then that is great. Value Added is more important that pass-rate but sometimes less obvious.
  2. Get all of the facts in front of you so that you can answer questions. You need a breakdown of grades, grade boundaries and also a clear understanding of what each unit is – but I am sure you will remember that. If you spot a grade that is a little lower than expected then you need to be able to answer questions that students & parents are likely to have.
  3. Don’t ignore results day until September. ‘But it’s my holiday, I deserve a break”. You do indeed, we all do. But it doesn’t pay to ignore the main goal of your academic year. If I am able to then I will always go to school on results day so that I can be there to celebrate with students and answer questions. September will then be a lot easier as you have had time to process what has happened.
  4. Do a full analysis of your results. Look at each student in turn and see if you think there are any anomalies. Then compare what each student has got to see if you can find any trends. If there are issues with coursework – and there often are – then go back and listen to work because sometimes on reflection we have made mistakes. Check back to the specification to see if you have made a mistake or if a mistake has been made. I find the crucial thing to do is look for any really obviously “wrong” marks and then work from there. The key thing is to get into the results and not worry about the headline figure. You need to know that everything is fair and correct.
  5. Get stuff re-marked if you think there is an issue and get that request in early. The sooner the better in fact, because then you haven’t got to wait all of September. It does cost, so you need to speak to your exams office about this. Sometimes students want to pay to get things remarked, but sometimes it might be that you have to take it out of department funds.
  6. Don’t turn to social media with issues and complaints too quickly. It can be tempting to vent against the exam boards, but I think firstly it is good to just self-evaluate. I read some comments yesterday on social media that were a little worrying and highlighted teacher inefficiencies/errors.
  7. Get back some written papers so that you can see how things are marked. This is going to be particularly important with the new spec – so if your students sat the AS this year then it might be good to get some marked papers back so that you can see how they are picking up marks. I have done it in the past and it has really informed my teaching. One student got an A* at A-Level a couple of years ago and so I got the paper back to read their responses and inform my teaching – it worked a treat!
  8. GCSE results day can be a chance to recruit students to study music – another reason to go in to school.
  9. At some point the new term starts and so you have to move on from any frustrating results and just make sure that things are different next year.
  10. Talk to colleagues. Send them work that you think has been incorrectly moderated or marked and see what they think. Don’t suffer in silence.

The more results days you live through the more you learn to cope with them. They can be stressful and daunting but they can also be amazing. The results are the students, but we play more and more of a role in them. We must learn from them and celebrate success and also make sure that students get what they deserve. And then we start all over again in September.

Hope you are having a great summer!

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