Published on: 30 Nov 2018

T’was the night before 'Life after Levels'...

By Josh Richards, Assistant Headteacher, Rothley Church of England Academy in Rothley, Leicester

We’ve got the data – so now let’s teach those gaps!

T’was the night before ‘Life After Levels’ and no teacher was stirring, not even a data and assessment lead...

Hold on! Every teacher, assessment lead, SLT and head teacher across the country was stirring! What was going to happen? How are we supposed to bench mark our children nationally? How can we show progress? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

I believe every teacher and stakeholder working in education had this feeling. For me, being new to assessment and data leadership, I’d spent the majority of my spare time in the summer researching assessment and data, RAISEonline, and everything else in between. Had all this been for nothing?

I now had to find a solution to our school’s approach to ‘Life after Levels’. After reading article after article, journal after journal, and meeting with various different companies on their approach, the DfE eventually released how they were going to be reporting the results at the end of KS2: scaled scores.

As a school, we decided to have one final meeting with GL Assessment, who provide assessments with Standardised Age Scores (SAS). We knew that this differs from scaled scores – as in the SAS follows a normal distribution (50% over 100 and 50% under 100) and the scaled scores are different after each year of KS2 SATs. However, the underpinning significance of the 100 score made us have the second meeting.

After this final meeting, it was clear that GL Assessment’s tests not only provided a SAS score but a wealth of other data – percentile rankings, scaled scored indicators, group analysis, gaps analysis, dedicated parent reports and individual child reports. And, with the Complete Digital Solution (CDS) package that GL Assessment offers, the data is generated within minutes, so teachers could focus on what really mattered – “We’ve got the data – so now let’s teach those gaps!” It was clear that this was the way forward for our school.

In October 2015, all of our children took the Progress Test Series so everyone had a baseline. Reports generated and staff training given, all staff were equipped to interpret the wealth of data GL Assessment offers. June 2016 came around quickly and the next round of assessments were taken and analysed. The whole project seemed daunting at first, but with the ease of the CDS package, my wonderful staff and the support that GL assessment offered, we were up and running in no time.

I am sat here writing this in November 2018, over three years since we first decided on our new approach. GL Assessment is now embedded in the DNA of our school’s summative and formative assessment system, which incorporates not only the Progress Test Series but the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) and New Group Spelling Test (NGST) and various other assessments, too.

Our approach to assessment, accompanied with the fantastic teachers we have at our school, have contributed to our extremely successful results in recent years at all primary assessment stages.

Rothley Church of England Academy is one of our Advocate Partners