Published on: 15 Mar 2019

Improving and evidencing pupils’ progress in learning and self-esteem with PASS

By Lucy Davies, Headteacher at The Firs School, Chester

PASS is there to establish pupil perceptions and challenge staff and parent assumptions. Given the correct time to analyse and discuss pupils it can be a powerful tool for school improvement.

Often when teachers look at the huge amount of assessments provided by GL Assessment they may be inclined to miss out Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS). But how wrong they would be! PASS has helped our school to further improve pupil self-esteem and, from this, their progress in learning.

We have all our classes from Reception to Year 6 take PASS in late January each year. We find that this provides the pupils with enough time to have formed an opinion about being in their new class and the staff enough time to deal with any issues which may arise before the pupils move onto the next class.

GL Assessment provides very detailed reports, both as spreadsheets and as a series of tables analysing cohort and individual perception. When it is put into a historical and whole school context, it becomes even more powerful. This analysis is provided by our data and assessment manager (music teacher by day!) who has non-contact time to move the data into one file, which is therefore more manageable for staff meetings.

At the same time, I look back through the previous three years’ data to see if any pupils still have attitudinal roadblocks or if any have seen an improvement in their attitudes to themselves as learners. This is then fed back to staff in a document and discussed. The SENDCo and safeguarding team also have an overview and cross match any pupils whose low scores may be caused by known factors. We have also compared our overall pupil satisfaction rating from year to year using the data that GL Assessment provided and are pleased to note significant improvements.

Pupils who have low scores in any of the PASS factors are discussed with teacher and support teams and then possible interventions are considered. These could be extra activities in areas of talent, 1:1 counselling in school, meetings with parents, yoga or breathing interventions, referrals to outside agencies (with parental support) or just as simple as finding a buddy/friend.

During our school’s inspection from the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2017, PASS proved a useful tool to provide evidence – not only to back up positive pupil perceptions about school, but also to show evidence through time about how we put interventions in place for particular pupils and how this affected their confidence and self-esteem.

PASS is there to establish pupil perceptions and challenge staff and parent assumptions. Given the correct time to analyse and discuss pupils it can be a powerful tool for school improvement. Don’t ‘pass’ over it, give it a go!

The Firs School is one of our Centres of Assessment Excellence