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Aspirational Targets. Good or bad?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    From starting in a new school in September and working a ridiculous amount of hours, putting myself and the students under a lot of pressure, seeing unhealthy breakdowns from both the pupils and myself, I have just this week found out that all of the students targets are 'aspirational'. As in I have students that by my records have a target grade of of an A however should achieving a minimum of a C. No one outside of SLT have knowledge of what the students actual targets are but it has been hinted that they are being placed two grades above where they should be.

    What are your opinions of them? How do your schools do them?

    I understand that we all want our students to achieve their minimum and hopefully above the expected but at what point does it become ridiculous?

    Personally I find that it puts so much more pressure on because you are expected to get those results and those results only. It has caused me to have a melt down of tears, panic and anxiety so far.

    (Apologies, posted this in the wrong place before)
  2. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    They are rubbish as it means that pupils feel like nothing is good enough. Which demotivates them which makes them all the more unreachable, Which means that the teachers have a choice

    a) fiddle the progress data or

    b) be honest put yourself in the firing line and spend every hour under the sun "intervening"
    grumpydogwoman and ldnsenco like this.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    From a 2015 inspection report (school rated inadequate):

    Senior leaders do no not make effective use of national information about students' progress and the targets set for students are unrealistic. For the large majority of students, the targets are unreachable.

    Students' targets are set by senior leaders. The targets are very high and students are unlikely to reach them. This leads to high failure rates and students continually working below their target, which does not add to their confidence. Equally, some teachers and subject leaders say that they lack faith in the targets that are set by leaders to improve their own performance.

    From "What does the school need to to improve further?":
    Improve the rates of students' progress and raise attainment in all key stages by;
    - setting targets for students that are stretching but which are also realistic and achievable.
    (That was the first point under progress/attainment.)
  4. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Seems OFSTED agree with you, but they now have to consider their progress 8 ranking do they not?
  5. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    I'm so sick of progress 8. I'm fairly new to teaching, about 3 years, and I honestly did not realise when I got into it how much schools have become exam factories. So much so that we put it before student and staff well being. All for league tables. That tell us what? We might be a tiny bit better than another school? It might affect how many students attend?

    Parents don't send their children to schools for league table results, they send them for a healthy experience where they are cared for and hope their child achieves the best.

    When I was at school my target grades were a C, they weren't aspirational but the moment my teacher told me I was only expected to get a C it made me determined to be better, and for a few of my subjects that determination paid off. I met my target grade and went above that because I wanted to. If someone told me I was expected to get an A I most likely would have given up every time I got less than that - which is what I'm finding other students doing.

    It's too much pressure everywhere and the system is breaking, for the sake of some stupid numbers on a league table that the students don't even understand or care about, and they shouldn't have to care about it.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Maybe you need to move to another school? Some are still sensible places to work.

    Aspirational targets are a good thing, but a degree of realism is needed. And they should be set after a discussion with the teacher, SLT, parents, pupil.
  7. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Aspirational targets ... the "shoot for the stars and be satisfied with the moon" approach ... unfortunately many schools have forgotten how to be satisfied with anything and many many students are either demotivated by bonkers targets or, if the approach is explained to them, they just aim for the moon making aspirational targets redundant.

    There's also a semantic issue now as schools seem to use the word aspirational when the word unachievable would be better suited.

    I'm not a fan.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Whatever happened to "Do your best and then you'll get whatever it is you get and be grateful for it because you couldn't have done more and the result is a true reflection of what you achieved"?

    I know how it worked when I applied for university. You got an offer. As soon as I was offered 2 Es I was happy. Personally I wasn't keen on killing myself and didn't even bother to entertain any other offers. Targets wouldn't have inspired me. They'd have oppressed me. I wanted to learn because it was interesting. Not for the paper at the end.
    SLouise91, Anonymity and simonbfc like this.
  9. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

  10. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    My English teacher wouldn't have liked the 'are stretching'.
  11. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I might have aspired to be a pop star or footballer. Nothing wrong with that, unless professionals are having breakdowns as a result of my unrealistic aspirations.

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