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Using data

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#1 Heather Scott

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 09:27 PM

I’d like to kick this seminar off by saying at the outset – I firmly believe that teaching should be about kids and experiences, and not about figures, spreadsheet, graphs and calculators!

However, over time I’ve come to appreciate that as a classroom teacher I can actually USE the reams of paper that come my way to improve what I do for the kids in my classroom.

Within our department at Challenge College, we have built a detailed “picture” of a student’s progress over Key Stage 3. On the record, we include the student’s CATs, SATs at KS2, gender, reading age, tutor group – and here’s the time-consuming bit – as Head of Department I set targets each year for each child in Key Stage 3. (see ROAs doc). That might sound a bit grim … but actually it’s quite stimulating, in that I am fully aware of every child’s potential and how well we are progressing towards that potential.

I use a ready-reckoner compiled from the DfES standards site which predicts what children should achieve at KS3 given their points at KS2. In History, however, we are whistling in the wind a bit here, because we never find out what the child’s History KS2 scores were. Sometimes we never even find out the KS2 English, Maths and Science! I use the joint scores of the KS2 and then predict at least two-thirds of a level’s improvement in each of the three years. This is typed into the child’s ROA and I make sure that class teachers have a copy of the ROAs for their class groups at the beginning and end of each year.

If class teachers take over someone else’s class or a child moves between sets, the ROA follows the child to the new teacher – it’s an at-a-glance view of that child’s progress so far.

I started it off as a mailmerge from the data-sets which the Data Deputy Head produces on a regular basis. Once it’s merged, it becomes a base document for me to enter in the grades achieved and reported to me by the class teachers. I’m hoping that with the introduction of CMIS to our school soon, that the technology will do a lot of this for me in the near future!

At the end of each term, I ask the class teachers for their assessment grades for the classes they teach. We are well served with assessment tests – we have seven per year in each of the three years of Key Stage 3! We are realistic though – we know we can’t get through them all, and nor should we. I firmly believe that History should be fun, it should be exciting, it should be about questions like “what if….?” – not about more tests on tests! The class teachers have the freedom to apply as many (or as few) of the tests – it depends on the progress being made through the units we teach as much as anything. However, setting cover lessons at KS3 is made much easier by the existence of drawers of tests, copied in 30s and ready to use.

I then spend a couple of Admin hours keying in the class results for each pupil – this may seem odd, but it gives me a real “feel” for how well the department/class teachers/pupils are coping with the demands of the units I’ve written and with anomalies like training days, closure days for Eid, etc. In theory, then, I get to review each KS3 child’s progress once per term – and of course class teachers are doing it much more often, because they are teaching those children.

I use the ROAs to work out setting groups with the Head of Geography (we have to block together) and I make sure that copies of the ROAs pass on to the next class teacher. I also use them to look at class teacher performance and aptitude with particular groups/sets. I produce graphs to look at the L5+ performance – which is the national benchmark.

Using this method, I feel informed about children’s progress and about what we are doing for them. If I see a particular class or topic is poorly performing, I can take action – I can re-write the teaching unit for the department, discuss it with the class teachers or drop it completely.

As a way of using data to monitor and inform progress, I’m sure what we do could be improved with technology/ICT. However, as a Head of Department, I’m pretty confident that I’m up to speed with children’s progress through Key Stage 3…. Now then, about Key Stage 4…..!!!!!

#2 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 09:35 PM

First up, my apologies. Heather had the seminar ready to post ages ago and I forgot that I'd said I'd post it on her behalf.

Heather asked me to upload a sample of the ROA docment she uses for people to refer to. Here it is.

#3 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 10:29 PM

The problem with data is that half of it is created for someone elses benefit!

The important, and most difficult bit is getting the data to work for the students. Good ways of doing this? using data from KS2 to project progress across KS3 - certainly gives an interim target for pupils to be aiming at: though it needs to be communicated in more ways than just the data.

Having students map out their assessment results can show them where their strengths and weaknesses are: plotting results on a graph as they go through the key stage. if the graph is prelabelled with different skills etc in the appropriate places it can illustrate areas of high and lower attainment which can then build into self evaluation and teacher intervention programmes.

Analysis of data from previous years is useful as well as it spots trends and can help a department to spot things that do / don't work. I use the value added chart from the Autumn pack and have added out own results to that ever since our first set of results. Quite clear where the departments strengths are from that - and a great motivating tool for students who think they can't achieve because they're not in a top set... there in black and white are examples of level 3's at KS3 turning into A-C at KS4.

They work quite well for me. According to Ofsted there's a lot more I could / should be doing though... any ideas folks?

#4 neil mcdonald

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 07:03 PM

I know I shouldn't say this but as far as I am concerned the Maths Department have3 the situation in hand to a mind boggeling dgree. They have a data management spreadhsett that creates lines of best fit in scattergraphs that can visually identify underperforming students. Then fromt hat at praents evening they run through how the child is working towards their level/grade and what % of students in the year have that simialr profile and then they can use that to suggest likely outcomes. I know it all sounds flash and no substance but to see it is a marvel for me. It makes data management actually somehting that I can use for parents evening and departmental meetings.

Of course for me the big issue as far sa data management is concerned will be students empowerment of the data. The use of SMART targets and sub levels 5a, b, c or 5.3, 5.5 5.7 to show progrssion (see KS3 strategy). I intend to bring in reporting booklets kids keep throughout KS3 and then they put down their grades so they can indeify weaker skills and then suggest suitable SMART targets. Then, in subsequent lessons show moodel answers by utlising the data - what level do they need to progress to.
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#5 donald cumming

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:18 AM

I have to agree with the above - this whole data malarkey can be illuminating and useful - both for monitoring your own class (and your department) and for use with the students. For the past few years we have used KS3 results with our GCSE classes to help them set their own targets/raise aspirations and even increase motivation. We convert their average KS3 SATs level to APS and show them their predictions. After exams/assessments we add new grades to the database and show the students again. It provokes great thoughtfulness and none of the kids are mean about each other. We have found that kids compete with those just above them - especially those C/D borderline students. It also gives any G&T students who are coasting a kick up the arse.

Obviously their SATs average is not a measure of Historical skills, but thats how the departments targets are set so we might as well use them - we're certainly going to be judged by them. Also as teachers, being aware of which students have lower English SATs than Maths/Science is important, as you know you have to focus on scaffolding their literacy skills as well as teaching our subject. This counts the same for KS2/CATs data with our KS3 students. Going through the classlists and data is something we all do together at department meetings in September, and revisit during the year. It is a worthwhile and interesting activity, and as Heather says, you really get to know your students well.

I'm also the G&T co-ordinator so data is always a good friend when defending underachieving students - some ours have a massive imbalance of skills and are, unsuprisingly, less than positive when it comes to writing. I don't think it necessarily makes my colleagues feel better but if you have the data in black and white (to quote mr moorhouse) they can't really argue. Nothing frustrates me more than people saying 'they don't deserve to be G&T'; data is normally all that is needed.


Edited by donald cumming, 16 July 2004 - 11:21 AM.

#6 MrsB


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Posted 05 July 2005 - 05:06 PM

I am currently filling in a subject review and evaluation and our use of data is coming up at all Key stages as something we should be focusing on more closely next year. I've dug up this seminar from way back but it isn't very 'juicy' and I'm sure with so many new members there is some value in reviewing it.

I have a lot of raw data available to me - APS, KS2 test (eng/maths/sci), NFER VR
BUT I'm not really sure what to do with it all to make it into a valuable and workable form that will make the regular monitoring of pupils progress integral to what we are currently doing.

At A Level we now have ALPS data which is quite interesting for setting target grades but again I'm not sure how we could be setting targets regularly. I would like to see more integration between what pupils are doing in each of the three units.

All ideas welcomed
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#7 Elle


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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:16 AM

I think there is now such a huge amount of Data available that we would be foolish to discount it, however there are times when it does seem that we are drowning in data. At the school I work in we have KS2 SATs for targeting yr 7, as well as the CATs which they take on entering the school, we have KS3 SATs for Yr 10, as well as YELLIS and the FFT, and yr 12 have ALIS. Recently I was asked to fill in a form for yr 11 with all their data on, this included YELLIS predictors, FFT predictors and my predictors, as well as my target grade, none of which really agreed.

The problem with much of the data we are give (eg YELLIS) is that it takes little account of prior achievement and dfferent circumstances for each child, therefore when a child does not reach their target due to outside influences we get our wrist slapped and told to do better.

I am not trying to devalue the use of data here, I do think it is very useful, especially when setting targets, I just think we need to be careful sometimes how it is used.

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#8 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:13 AM

The problem with much of the data we are give (eg YELLIS) is that it takes little account of prior achievement and dfferent circumstances for each child, therefore when a child does not reach their target due to outside influences we get our wrist slapped and told to do better.

I am not trying to devalue the use of data here, I do think it is very useful, especially when setting targets, I just think we need to be careful sometimes how it is used.


The Fischer Family Trust data is based on prior attainment, local trends and socio-economic features of your catchment area. They send out loads of materials which certainly include year group analysis on a subject by subject basis and also on a pupil by pupil basis. I've found it to be a pretty good indicator of potential and it can be useful to show pupils who have teacher assessment levels that are much lower than they suggest.

#9 MrsB


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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:15 AM

but how do you turn this into somethinng useful for setting targets and monitoring achievement in history?
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#10 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:54 PM

It does most of it for you.

Its graphical, adaptable (in Excel) and the chances of getting x,y or z are made abundantly clear. Show it to kids, talk em through it and say 'where would you like to be?' Its very very easy to understand the FFT data if your SLT pases it on in user friendly formats - ours don't s I grab the disks and get the stuff I really want.

Monitoring - simple. They've done the maths and compared your school to similar ones over the years. Average pupils should therefore et what FFT says.... anything different stands out a mile when you add to your asessment data. Auto filtering in Excel will highlight the kids that are under achiveing and can be used to highlight exceptional achivement, sub groups, gender etc....

I normally merge their targets into my own TA based data and use it to give a broader overview of where they're at.

#11 Stevie G

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:48 AM

Folks, just read this seminar and have to say a lot of it went whizzing straight over my head. Someone mentioned drowning in data - I was drowning in jargon and acronyms. YELLIS, SATS, SMART, ROAs, CATs, ALPs, ALIS.......the list goes on

I'm sure these terms are second nature for the vast majority of people who use this forum but for those of us not currently in the profession.......... Please help! :unsure:

P.S Meant to post this as a reply to the seminar on "Using data" but just realised I posted it as a new topic instead. Aplologies.


I have merged your post with the Using Data Seminar - as you had intended.

Carole Faithorn

Edited by Carole Faithorn, 24 March 2006 - 11:16 PM.

#12 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 12:18 PM

YELLIS - Year 11 information system - provides indicators of progress and attainment based on tests run by Durham University. They also run one for younger pupils - Midyis (Middle years ) ALIS is another for older pupils.

SATS - (Also called NATS by some). Attainment tests...

S Specific
M Measurable
A Attainable
R Realistic
T Time-constrained

ROAs - Record of Achievement (being replaced by progress files)

CATS - cognitive ability tests

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