Last week I was a part of a team which included Director of Curriculum Ms Karis and Head of Senior School Mrs Powell who met with Robin Nagy from Academic Profiles, an organisation that analyses HSC results. We identified where students showed significant improvement across different subjects.

One of the key aspects of this analysis is its capacity to perform a “value-added” analysis. That is, it considers how students are performing at the end of Year 10 and then estimates the range of ATARs that they might be expected to achieve in Year 12 based on the data collected in previous years. While the public typically are only aware of our percentage of Band 6 results (a bit like ranking a school on the number of elite athletes that go to that school), the “value-added” analysis is far more comprehensive and insightful in terms of how we are performing as a school.

The analysis based on Band 6 results provides a simple story for the media to tell every year. But this story fails to recognise the genuine achievements of the many students who persevered through the most complex courses to achieve a Band 4 or Band 5. For example, many of our students studying Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2, do so despite the difficulty of achieving a Band 6 in these subjects. These same students could have studied Mathematics Standard and been almost sure of a Band 6 if they had developed the same level of mathematical skills and understanding as was required by their extension courses.

Having said this, it was very pleasing to see so many of our students achieve Band 6 results, placing us 150th in the state according to this one measure. Of greater interest to us as educators in a school that values students at all levels, is the guidance for future years within the analysis conducted by Academic Profiles. Here is a quick summary of some of the findings relating to the overall performance. There was much for us to reflect upon in relation to individual subjects and classes as well, which we will share with our Learning Leaders.

a) In 2022, the school achieved its second-highest median ATAR result in the past ten years. The highest result was achieved in 2020.

b) All measures of performance were higher in 2022 compared with 2021 – means for male and female students and medians for male and female students were all higher.

c) The percentage of students achieving at or beyond expectations was 70% – compared with 65% last year (more on this later).

d) Inaburra ranked 9th of the 22 co-educational Sydney schools who undertake analyses with Academic Profiles, an improvement from 11th place in 2021. These are all high-performing independent schools seeking annual improvement.

Finally, I want to share a graph which tells a story as well.

This graph shows the Year 10 performance of each student against their Year 12 performance. The two black lines running up the middle show the range of expected performance in Year 12. I’ve circled the students who outperformed expectations and the software we use allows us to see who these students were. The fundamental question is what did these students do differently that led to them outperforming expectations? The answer is not surprising. These are the students who demonstrated across their final years at Inaburra a focus and a willingness to persevere with their learning, prioritising their learning each day and engaging with other students to support one another. Many of these students I would see regularly in the Learning Commons taking up opportunities to collaborate with one another, ask for assistance from tutors and set aside time each day to revise what they were learning and to work on assigned tasks throughout the year. For our current Year 11 and Year 12 students, the message, I think, is clear. Use the Learning Commons. Make the most of the opportunities to learn independently and collaboratively here at school each day.

There is no other school that I am aware of that provides a comparable space for its students to study every afternoon until 6 pm. While I achieved a good result in the HSC many years ago, I can only imagine what I could have achieved had I had access to such a space every day – a space where there are tutors and teachers available to assist and where there are opportunities to learn from other students.

I wonder if our students are aware of how much they could benefit from taking advantage of this opportunity. This might be a topic of conversation for our families with senior students!