Harry and the H-Quotient

Scene: we find ourselves in the nondescript office of Brunt Stickler, Head Teacher at Mokita High School. Stickler is tending to a virtual Zen garden on his tablet (the real desktop version made too much mess when he left a window open on a particularly windy day) by way of a distraction from the latest pile of management statistics on his otherwise empty desk. There is a knock on the door and in walks the slightly dishevelled Harry Juggler, Geography teacher at the school.

Stickler: Tuck your shirt in Harry, for goodness sake!

Juggler, adjusting his shirt: I thought we had a no-tucking policy? So we could be “down with the kids” if I recall your memo correctly.

Stickler, motioning to the carefully stapled reports on his desk: That turned out to be a bad thing according to the latest statistics. Attendance is down 2% since the no tucking policy was implemented and we’ve also used 3% more paper in the photocopier. So keep it tucked in, we don’t have the budget for this kind of flippant stationery use.

Juggler: Could that not just be because of all the information leaflets we sent out after the measles outbreak last month?

Stickler: I’m not sure that’s the kind of conjecture we need at the moment, Harry. Besides, there’s something far more important that I need to run by you. I’m a bit concerned that you’re not fully engaging with the new Panacea lesson delivery system. How are things going with Panacea?

Juggler: It’s been a bit of a struggle. After the last training session I…

Stickler: Hmm, I thought you might say that. I can see from the latest report that your H-Quotient is the second lowest in the school. What do you have to say about that?

Juggler: I’d need to know what the H-Quotient is before I can answer that question.

Stickler, turning the report around for Juggler to see: It’s all quite clear, look. The current H-Quotient figures range from 12 to 87. Yours is 23. Clearly if the highest rating is 87 then yours isn’t high enough.

Juggler: That still doesn’t tell me what it is.

Stickler: Don’t be awkward Harry, it’s one of our most important KPIs for the effectiveness of teaching this term. I know you’ve read the memo because you initialed the distribution list, here. Look…

Stickler, sliding the memo across his desk: I’m not sure why you initialed it “WTF?” but nonetheless it’s initialed which tells me you’re happy with it. I gave you all one of Jock Beefcake’s Panacea modules for PE by way of an exemplar at the last training session. His H-Quotient for that module was 82 which is, I think we’ll have to agree, outstanding. Did you not adapt it to suit one of your lessons like the training consultant suggested?

Juggler: I wasn’t sure how I could adapt a module on Cross Training to fit my current topic of Post-war Town Planning. I did bring this up at the last Panacea working group.

Stickler: I’ve come to expect a higher level of creative thinking from you, Harry. This is all a little disappointing, I have to say. If you can’t see the potential value of incorporating an 82% H-Quotient module into your teaching then we might have to bring this up at your next performance review. I mean, Harry, it’s 82%. Eighty… two… percent. That’s just outstanding. Outstanding.

Juggler: But I’ve been working on improving the Q-Ratio of my modules. According to the Geography forum on the Panacea website that’s more relevant for my classes. You seemed to like the idea last week.

Stickler, half choking: The Q-Ratio! Have you gone mad? No, no, no. I clearly remember you mentioning the U-Factor, but not the Q-Ratio. I only went along with your suggestion because the U-Factor is one of our secondary KPIs. Nowhere near as important as the H-Quotient but still worthy of attention. Where on earth have you got the idea that the Q-Ratio is at all relevant to this school?

Just as Juggler takes a deep breath, readying himself for another futile and circular discussion, the email notification on Stickler’s computer pings.

Stickler: Give me a minute Harry, it’s from the Panacea advisory group.

Stickler reads the email, inching closer to the screen, his eyebrows gradually rising.  After a few minutes he turns to Juggler, smiling: Well Harry, it seems you’ve been ahead of the game all along.  Word from the advisory group is that the Q-Ratio is the way to go.  Silverspoon School for the Privileged are about to report record-breaking achievement levels and their Q-Ratio figures are off the scale.

Juggler: Could that not have something to do with their 6:1 pupil to teacher ratio and the £20 million legacy left to them last year?

Stickler, turning his monitor around: Nonsense!  Look at that, Harry.  Silverspoon’s average Q-Ratio is 3.4, up from 2.9 last year, and their exam results are up an average of 4.6 percent.  That’s a clear correlation.  Now if I overlay your Q-Ratio figures I can see that your lessons are averaging 3.5.  Harry, you’re ahead of Silverspoon!

Juggler: But five minutes ago you said…

Stickler, lost in the graphs on his screen:  Hmm?  Right, I need you to head up the Q-Ratio task force.  This needs attending to immediately.  I’ve assigned Gary Swarf to cover your lessons for the rest of the week…

Juggler, executing a facepalm: It’s three weeks to the coursework deadlines.  Do you really think it’s a good idea to put the metalwork technician in charge of my Geography classes?

Stickler: Relax, Harry!  With Panacea Q-Ratios like this your lessons are practically going to teach themselves.

Juggler: But…

Stickler: Right, you need to start with Mme Sacrebleu.  Her “conversational French for recruitment and selection boards” module has the lowest Q-Ratio of all the Panacea content.  Your “introduction to glaciation” module has the highest Q-Ratio in the school.  See if you can’t translate some of that icy magic into French.

Juggler, burying his head in his hands: I’m really not sure…

Stickler: I have every faith in you, Harry!  There’s a promotion in this for you.

Juggler: It’s not about…

Stickler: I won’t hear another word, Harry.  Have confidence in yourself.  I mean, 3.5.  Three… point… five.  Outstanding!  Truly outstanding!

As the scene fades we notice Harry Juggler beginning to sob gently into his hands.  Stickler, oblivious to the situation, excitedly prints out the new Q-Ratio statistics onto A3 paper for the staff noticeboard.


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