Blueprint for a tracking system - Pupil Asset

Will Akerman, 15th March 2017

In February 2017, school data guru James Pembroke set out "7 Principles of Effective Tracking". Here's how Pupil Asset empowers schools to lay the foundations of, and build upon, James' tracking blueprint.

Pupil Asset enables schools to:

1. Define and input their own objectives

Schools can write their own objectives, decide how many they want, organise them into different curriculum 'areas' and highlight key performance indicators. There's also total flexibility as to how schools structure/view the objectives: by year group (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3), by Key Stage (KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2) or by term (Year 5 Autumn Term POS). Schools can also choose the number of assessment statuses they want to give and can name and colour these to fit with their assessment policy. So, whether you're following a Beginning, Developing, Secure philosophy, embracing the idea of Working Towards, Working At and Greater Depth or just want the option of recording 'Yes I can' or 'No I can't - YET', Pupil Asset can be customised to fit around your approach to formative assessment.

Once objectives are loaded in to Pupil Asset, they can be exemplified, helping teachers to make secure judgements and to build consistency across their settings. Schools can also translate objectives into jargon-free 'I Can' statements, making it easier to share formative assessment with learners, their parents and carers. For multiple academy trusts (MATs) or schools working within partnerships, the same set of objectives can be shared over a Pupil Asset Cluster. This helps to reduce workload and enhance collaboration as all schools can then work from the same set of objectives.

If, however, that level of freedom seems more terrifying than empowering, fear not. Pupil Asset's Educational Consultants write and update our very own New Curriculum (NC) frameworks. These bring together the age-related expectations from the National Curriculum and the objectives from the latest Interim Teacher Assessment Frameworks (July, 2016). Using these NC Frameworks allows schools to monitor learners' strengths and weaknesses across the broad and balanced curriculum whilst also focusing on key skills that determine judgements at the end of Key Stages.

Pupil Asset also works with commercial providers of assessment objectives. Where schools have bought into these or have access to them, these objectives can also be assessed on Pupil Asset. Currently we support the Oxford Criterion Scale for Reading and Writing (Oxford University Press), Edison Learning Assessment Statements, Kent Steps (Kent Local Authority),White Rose Mathematics and Babcock's 4S Assessment Suite.

2. Define your own summative assessment descriptors

Schools can apply their own wording to the summative descriptors they use within Pupil Asset. These personalised, summative labels can form part of an "on track" approach such as a Point in Time Assessment (much favoured by James Pembroke) or a linear, points-based solution which monitors learners' growth through the curriculum. Broadly speaking, Pupil Asset offers three main approaches to summative data tracking:

  • Point in Time Assessment - Schools report pupils' achievement in relation to what's been taught. A grade such as 'Expected' indicates that a learner has met the expectations of the programme of study thus far and may indicate that they are on track to reach the age-related standard at the end of the academic year. Pupils are seen to be making sufficient progress where they retain a grade e.g. Expected over time. Better than expected progress is shown by moving up through the grades (e.g. from Working Below to Expected) and less than expected progress is shown by moving down through the grades (e.g. from Above Expected to Expected).
  • Linear - Pupils' learning is equated to age-related grades or bands such as '2 Working At' or '3 Greater Depth' (you can choose the wording). As learning deepens and more age-related expectations are achieved, pupils move from one grade to the next, following a linear progression. Schools can still monitor "on trackness" as Pupil Asset extrapolates each school's definition of expected progress from their learners' current attainment level, calculating what they should achieve by the end of each year or Key Stage. Progress is measured by comparing the number of points or steps a learner has made against what the school defines as expected progress over a given time frame.
  • Overlapping Linear - Similar to the above, but with the advantage that some bands or grades represent optional, in-year greater depth. All learners are required to progress through the Working Towards and Working At criteria (or whatever you've called them), but learners can "bypass" Greater Depth when moving from year group to the next. All the benefits of a linear, points-based approach to tracking, but moulded around a non-linear curriculum; clever stuff!

If none of the above fits the bill, a Pupil Asset Consultant can work with you to incorporate your bespoke approach to summative data tracking into Pupil Asset's powerful analysis and reporting functionality.

Schools can base their summative data on the professional judgements of their teachers or they can design their own algorithm that can Auto-Grade learners based on formative assessment. Tests results such as standardised and scaled scores can also be recorded, either as a replacement to teacher assessment or as a way of triangulating judgements. If schools need more than one set of descriptors to account for their pupils' different achievements, they have this option. In fact, you can have any many descriptors as you like!

3. Recording depth of learning

Depth of learning is central to Pupil Asset's approach to measuring both attainment and progress. Formatively, objectives can be assessed at different levels of competency, using the rag-rating system James advocates (see point 1). Termly formative assessments can also be compared graphically, meaning that teachers, parents and pupils can actually "see" the development as learning deepens. Pupil Asset can also translate formative assessment into a percentage of the curriculum that has been achieved, using the idea of a weighted percentage to convey the increasing depth and breadth of learners' understanding.

Summatively, a Colour Key is used to show each pupils' depth of learning. For learners that begin a year group already attaining at age-related expectations, schools can show better than expected progress by awarding the grades and colours that represent even greater depth. If desired, schools can also add 'stickers' to pupils' summative grades, illustrating mastery in particular curriculum areas or fluency in certain skill domains.

4. Enter whatever data they like

"Whatever they like" is pretty broad, but then again Pupil Asset does allow schools to record and analyse a wide range of assessment data. Teachers can assess pupils against multiple curricular objectives (either supplied by Pupil Asset or their schools), they can upload photos and notes to support and inform teacher judgements and can securely store confidential documents such as EHCPs in individual Pupil Profiles.

The range of summative data Pupil Asset supports is almost limitless, but includes: New National Curriculum grades (see Point 2); the EYFS Development Matters Age Bands and ELGs; P Scales; GCSE Grades (letters or numbers); A-Levels; Vocational Qualifications (e.g. Level 1 and 2 qualifications); Standardised Scores; Phonics Screening Check results; Legacy Levels (for calculating progress for current Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils); end of key stage assessments against the Interim Teacher Assessment Frameworks and end of key stage test results. In addition to the core pupil data imported from your Management Information Systems (unless, of course, Pupil Asset is also your MIS), schools can also create their own bespoke pupil groups. This makes it possible to monitor and analyse data across a wide range of cohorts and to undertake complex group analyse by applying multiple filters to the data you want to interrogate.

5. Track pupils out of year

Pupils don't start attaining within their age-related expectations just because we adopt a grades-based curriculum. Whilst the aspiration is for as many pupils as possible to "keep up" with the raised expectations, the reality is that some learners first need to "catch up". Where this happens, schools (and the pupils themselves) should be able to recognise the impact of their efforts. With Pupil Asset, teachers can assess learners out of year, both formatively and summatively. This makes it possible to identify and target gaps for low attaining individuals, so that rapid and sustained progress can be made. Accordingly, progress measures don't just acknowledge in-year movement, but recognise the lower baselines of less able learners and children with SEN(D). This makes it possible for such learners to make expected (and better than expected) progress and for schools to show where and when they have 'closed the gap'.

6. Design your own Reports

There's a balance to be struck here because the more freedom you have to produce reports "your way", the more "fiddly" it becomes to design those reports. You may want pupil names along the top (not down the side), for percentages to appear in italics (not in bold) and for the Expected pupils to be shaded a slightly different shade of green, but computers aren't mind readers and all these conditions need to be specified. This can be time-consuming and confusing. With busy teachers in mind, Pupil Asset provides schools with ready-made report templates that allow teachers to analyse data quickly, but with options that allow users to decide what data is shown and the format in which it is presented. These choices include whether you want to see the number of pupils or their names and if you want to report on the whole school or just focus on a particular year group, class or cohort (SEN, Pupil Premium etc.). Reports also allow you to choose the term and/or range you want to report on. This means you can create attainment reports for previous terms (and past year groups) and, when measuring progress, that you can stipulate the time frame you are interested in: progress made over the last term, the last year or the last key stage.

There is even more freedom to build reports the way you want when using Pupil Asset's powerful, higher-level Cohort Report. This analyses attainment and progress by the various cohorts and vulnerable groups that schools need to monitor and allows schools to specify the year group(s) and subject(s) that they want to evaluate. Schools can also choose how their data will be presented e.g. do you want to express attainment as the percentage of children attaining at Expected or as an average grade attained by the cohort as a whole? Do you want to measure progress in terms of the number of points added, or as a percentage of pupils who have made expected progress? Do you need to know how many higher attainers you have? You choose.

7. Input and access their data on any device

Pupil Asset is cloud-based meaning teachers can access and input data any time, any where. All you need is a device that can access the internet, an internet connection and your username and password. Pupil Asset operates through a normal web browser, so desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones are all suitable (Apple or Android). In addition to the main website, Pupil Asset users can also access freely downloadable Apps, including a Teacher App which allows you to save photos and notes as evidence in a pupil's profile.

If we've whetted your appetite for truly customisable tracking that help teachers know their pupils better, why not arrange a free demonstration at your school (by clicking here) or get a quote (by clicking here).