The need for robust data on pupil progress has become a focus of all schools, but when the national assessments do not match your transition points, it can be a headache to show demonstrable progress over time - even for the most established leadership teams.
The need for robust data
Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School in Somerset is a middle school, serving a rural community. Pupils enter Year 5 from our five feeder schools (and others) and are with us until the end of Year 8. The Progress Test in English (PTE) and Progress Test in Maths (PTM) from GL Assessment have been invaluable in providing the entry and exit data that not only enables the school to demonstrate progress over time, but also the data to set annual targets and monitor pupil attainment.
Pupils first sit the written PTE and PTM assessments at the end of Year 4, prior to transfer, to ensure that they have the best chance of demonstrating their abilities in familiar settings. This data, alongside Year 4 teacher assessment, Key Stage 1 SATs and Fischer Family Trust (FFT) estimates, is used to inform the Year 5 target setting process. As mixed ability groupings are used throughout the school, GL Assessment data is central to ensuring that all pupils are appropriately challenged. In this respect, we use the stanines as an indicator of the pupils’ potential and, as they progress through the school, the expectation is that they, at least, maintain their stanine ranking.
The PTE and PTM assessments are repeated at the end of Years 5, 7 and 8, with the Year 6 SATs moulding into this assessment regime (as opposed to being used as a summative outcome). We continue to use the written papers as a tool to familiarise pupils with the test conditions of both their SATs and eventual GCSE examinations, but also because we have found that having the physical examination paper encourages the note taking and jottings that enables them to demonstrate their full understanding. These papers are very quickly turned around by the GL Assessment marking and scoring service, resulting in staff having detailed reports on pupil attainment and areas for improvement without adding to their workload. Monitoring, over the last few years, has demonstrated a strong correlation between the GL Assessment outcomes and Year 6 SATs and year-on-year pupil progress can be easily demonstrated to the governing board and others.
As pupils move into Key Stage 3, sights turn to transition to the upper school. The robust nature of GL Assessment data with group and individual pupil reports enables quality question analysis to inform future planning and a data rich transfer process. Stanine rankings are also used; those with higher stanine rankings being encouraged towards GCSE grades 7 to 9. This constant evaluation of the curriculum provision and its impact on pupil attainment has proved to be a contributing factor of the rapid progress pupils make in KS3.
Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School, Somerset is one of our Advocate Partners