Why You Won’t See our Results on our Website.
By Lorna Baldry
We no longer publish examination results on our website and here’s why. Up until 2016 we followed the trend, particularly among CILEx accredited centres, of publishing our results on our webpage and sharing them on social media and in our advertising. This was a habit we had developed over decades of following the same cyclical process around academic years as part of provision within the FE and private training sectors. We did it, as everyone else does, because we’re proud of our learners and our tutors and their achievements and what we can accomplish when we all work together. Whether you are of the opinion that it is a fair benchmark or not for teaching and learning, we are traditionally judged on our results as educators, even more than learners are.
As part of Brightlink’s new and different way of working, we have time to really get to know and work with our learners and what we learned from and about them gave us pause for thought. What are results actually telling us? Here is what we found and why it led us to stop shouting about our results, it may cause you to reflect too.
For the cynical among you it’s absolutely not because we aren’t proud of our results or because they aren’t good, quite the opposite. Of course we take our responsibility very seriously, we have stringent quality measures and we still analyse and reflect on our results internally. We are fortunate to be small and agile enough to be responsive to anything results do tell us and implement improvements constantly.
We value progress and achievements of many different kinds. We are extremely grateful to be building a reputation among our learners and in our sector for being supportive and taking a more relational approach. This means that people are often referred to us who have struggled to work with other centres, who have learning needs that may not have been met elsewhere or who may be having a difficult time for any number of reasons getting started or finishing their study. For some of our learners, it’s an achievement they never hoped for just to arrive for an exam and sit it, regardless of the outcome. Many are brave enough to see the exam as part of their learning experience and may need to practise in this way a few times before receiving a pass result. We value and celebrate all milestones with our learners in the best way for them. We see ourselves truly aligned to CILEx in this respect, as champions and supporters of inclusivity and diversity.
If we shout about results with a focus on those who ‘succeeded’ in the traditional sense of achieving a pass mark, we impliedly censure those who didn’t achieve that as yet. We may be seen to denigrate the achievements and milestones of those learners who may have worked as hard and achieved their dreams or even reached beyond them, by a different measure if we apply this method of reward and sanction by stealth.
We couldn’t bear to think of any of our hard working, inspirational learners feeling less valued or celebrated, maybe even feeling victimised. We’ve come to know so many of their stories and we know the strides they are making and just how much they and their families, friends and colleagues sacrifice for every step of the journey.
We’ve also realised that maybe there’s nothing to be learned from exam results in terms of who should be credited with an outcome, good or bad. Because of our interest in providing varied and extensive support to all CILEx learners, we have developed some revision and exam technique opportunities, as have some of our fellow centres. Learners may choose this on a materials only basis or supported by a tutor and many have taken up this offer to help them with subjects they studied at other centres. So if a learner studies with a centre and then switches to us for revision and passes, who earns credit for this? The learner quite rightly but the original centre or the revision provider? In actuality the pass grade is attributed to the original centre, our learners often tell us they think this is inaccurate because they attribute their pass to our help. Consider also a situation where studying with another centre a learner does not achieve a pass mark in their exam, so they take a revision course with us and then pass, still the original centre is attributed with the pass. This must mean there is some inaccuracy in the analysis and attribution of results overall.
As a restorative organisation, we work with our learners in such a way that we’re often fortunate to be recommended. This means we sometimes work with those other centres can’t or won’t, or those who feel their needs haven’t been met elsewhere. Our learners are often overcoming many challenges and we are privileged to work with them on removing barriers to their progress. They may not receive this message clearly from us if they feel excluded by the publication of just one narrow measure of success. This is why you will no longer see our results used as an information or sales exercise.
Wider reading is available on the internet and in various publications in relation to the pros and cons of rewards and sanctions.