Published on: 30 Apr 2012

For children that might be "invisible" to teaching and support staff, PASS is a great way to unearth these pupils.

Testing Attitudes, Special Children magazine

Sam Pearsall and Josee Verity-Latham from Hereford Academy review the Pupil Attitudes to Self and School attitudinal survey.

Published in Special Children magazine, April/May 2012 issue.


It is easy to measure academic results but not so easy to measure attitudes in a school. At Hereford Academy, 39 per cent of students have statements of additional educational needs or are placed on school action or school action plus. We wanted a tool to give us insight into the emotional obstacles that might be holding students back, and that would allow us to tailor interventions and then measure their impact.

PASS (Pupil Attitudes to Self and School) from GL Assessment is a series of psychometric that measures student attitudes in nine core areas with a proven link to academic outcome. We find it gives a very accurate picture. For the last four years we’ve tested all of our pupils. GL Assessment then does all the number crunching for us and delivers the reports within 3-4 days, which allows us to put proactive interventions in place.

PASS is great at unearthing children who might otherwise remain ‘invisible’ to teaching and support staff. We could make an informed guess at 15 or so students who are likely to score poorly but the results can surprise us. For example, we didn’t know the student with the lowest score in the school at all. On the surface she presented as an ‘ordinary’ student without behavioural issues and with average grades. However, following investigation we discovered that she was deeply unhappy. She felt that her efforts at school went largely unnoticed. The PASS assessment enabled us to step in and access the help she needed.

Another interesting case during initial trials involved a boy in Year 10. We were not surprised to find he had scored poorly in PASS. He was well known to us, his attendance was of concern, he was disruptive in class and received many detentions. He was also in trouble outside school. We instigated a 16-week pastoral support plan concentrating on the areas highlighted by PASS, including self-awareness, self-regulation and conflict resolution. A year on, his attendance is 100 per cent, his attitude to school and relationships with staff are much improved and his aspirations are much higher. His PASS score has more than quadrupled.

In the past, we could often see that a child had an issue but couldn’t pinpoint the cause. PASS allows us to do that, helping us to create a community of balanced young adults who achieve their personal best in all respects, including exams.


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