Published on: 09 Nov 2020

Back to school: Progress tracking post-lockdown

By Samantha Krbacevic, Deputy Headteacher - Upper Prep, Repton Prep

This data from GL Assessment has been extremely useful in helping us to plan for the post-lockdown curriculum.

Key outcomes:

  • Use your PT Series results data to inform curriculum planning
  • Investigate the impact of lockdown on pupils’ learning
  • Analyse the differences in key groups (e.g. gender, year group)

Repton Prep is a co-educational day and boarding preparatory school of over 400 pupils, aged from three to thirteen, set in the grounds of an eighteenth-century Palladian hall in South Derbyshire. Samantha Krbacevic, Deputy Headteacher – Upper Prep, explains how the school is using GL Assessment’s Cognitive Abilities Test 4 (CAT4) and Progress Test Series (PT Series) following the return of pupils post-lockdown.

Like many schools, once we resumed fully in September, we were keen to conduct some assessments that might show us what effect, if any, the term of remote learning had on our pupils’ attainment and progress, so that we could help those pupils to bridge any gaps this year.

We were lucky that our pupils had access to devices at home, which meant all pupils were able to access a full programme of remote learning, and we devised a new timetable that would fit better with the needs of pupils at home than our in-school timetable. Teachers were delivering full online lessons with video elements and resources sent home, with work submitted electronically for marking and feedback. We felt that a large portion of pupils accessed this work and completed it, but not all pupils engaged with our assessment and feedback process, with some completing work with the help of parents rather than teachers.

We decided that, after a settling back in period in September, our pupils in Years 4 and above would sit CAT4 - which they usually sit at this time of year - as well as pupils from Year 2 and above sitting the Progress Test Series in English (PTE) and Progress Test in Maths (PTM) that were missed during the Summer term. We have been using the PT Series alongside CAT4 for a number of years now to give a rounded picture of pupil progress across many areas.

The results were both reassuring and interesting. We have seen no great dip in results for any cohort in any of the tests, so we are confident that the lockdown period has not adversely affected pupil progress in any one area. When we dug a little deeper into the results, we found that girls had actually often made better than expected progress in the tests, whereas boys on average had made worse than expected progress. This matches with our experiences that during lockdown girls were generally more likely to want to please their teachers and submit work accurately and carefully (or even do extension tasks). Whereas boys, without their teacher's live encouragement, were more likely to either not submit work or submit work that was not as accurate.

We also saw differences in year groups. Our current Year 8 seem to have the greatest gap between their CAT4 scores and their Progress Test scores, with the progress scores lagging behind by 3 SAS points on average. Conversely, our Year 5 and 6 pupils have performed generally better in the Progress Tests than their CAT4 scores. Our younger pupils had seemed to approach the remote learning more conscientiously. We now wonder perhaps whether there were ‘optimum’ age groups for remote learning (for us Years 5 and 6), where pupils were keen to access work and independent enough to make progress with less teacher input.

This data from GL Assessment has been extremely useful in helping us to plan for the post-lockdown curriculum. We will be using this data to help target certain pupils that we’ve identified individually, but we will also be closely monitoring the progress of boys this year to try and push them back up in line with the girls’ progress. We are going to use the PT Series again in the Summer Term this year and will be hoping that all the results for all groups are back in line with our expectations.

We are now confident from the results that we do not need to amend our schemes of work across the board, therefore our pupils will be continuing their normal curriculum for their current year group. However, for our Year 8 pupils, who are due to sit Common Entrance exams at the end of the academic year, we will be building in time for revision of those topics studied in remote learning last year.

Repton Prep is one of our Centres of Assessment Excellence