KS4 Updates 2018 (England)

6th July 2018

1. Benchmarks
We are updating our benchmarks for 2018 using the 2017 validated DfE full national dataset. Please note that once the new benchmark is available in early summer, schools using Connect Interactive will have the option of switching to the new benchmark for their current interactive monitoring analysis.


2. Use of transitional points
In 2017 and 2018 the A*-G grades are being given transitional point scores to map achievement against outcomes using the new 9-1 scale for reformed subjects. The image below compares the previous A*-G point scores with the A*-G transitional points. These transitional point scores will be used in the calculation of all Government attainment and progress measures, for example Progress 8 scores. We adopted the transitional points scores in our 2017 reports and will do so again for 2018 to remain consistent with the point scores used by DfE.


3. Setting Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs)

9-1 grades (most subject outcomes in Summer 2018)
Our benchmarks enable you to set MEGs at or above the 75th percentile nationally for your students whether they are on 9-1 reformed courses or the few remaining A*-G courses or studying vocational alternatives. We are providing you with information in the 2018 reports to enable you to set minimum expected grades for students in current Y8 who entered your school with standardised scores.

Standardised KS2 SAT scores
In September 2018 the prior achievement of students in Years 10-11 will be based on KS2 SAT sub-levels. Prior achievement for Years 7 to 9 will be based on the standardised KS2 scores. Our reports and software will recognise both formats and allow you set MEGs for all year groups. However, it is important to recognise that Alps along with the DfE and other service providers can only produce a ‘best estimate’ for the MEGs based on the KS2 scaled scores. It will not be until after the first cohort complete their KS4 programmes in summer 2021 that any actual data is available to confirm the progress calculations. To date, through ‘comparable outcomes’ Ofqual have managed the grade profile to reduce fluctuations as reformed subjects publish their first sets of results.

It is important that our MEGs are not treated as the best grade a student might achieve in each subject. There should be no ‘ceilings’. Another important point to consider is that, during this time of change, the earlier you establish definite MEGs/flightpaths for a year group in your school, whether using Alps and/or DfE Attainment 8 estimates/other systems, the likelier it is that their performance in KS4 will subsequently be evaluated against different standards by the time they reach Year 11.


4. Combined Science benchmarks

Please note that the Combined Science course will not have a benchmark in the 2018 KS4 report initially, as there is no data against which to produce benchmarks for this new course. We will be reviewing our client data, and if we have sufficient, robust data with which to produce a subject level benchmark we will do so and update those schools and colleges affected in the autumn term 2018. If there is insufficient client data we will use the DfE datasets we receive and be able to update the benchmarks in spring 2019.


5. Alps Connect Interactive

Alps Connect is our new web-based interactive reporting platform, allowing internal analysis using our familiar Alps benchmarks and established methodology via simple yet accessible new tools. We are delighted with the number of schools and colleges who have subscribed to Alps Connect Interactive this year. Using Connect, every member of staff can have access to their own teaching set analyses. This will empower your staff to really engage with their own data, understanding which students are on target, and who needs strategic intervention. Connect Interactive allows you to analyse as many in-year monitoring data points as you wish, so you can tailor it to your school or college needs. Connect Interactive will also allow you and all staff to:

  • Analyse your data by gender, ethnicity, teaching set, tutor groups and other custom fields
  • Carry out in-depth departmental analysis – including interactive ‘What if?’ functionality – to model how many grades would have been needed to move into the Black or into the Red
  • Identify the areas of both celebration and concern or intervention; by > Student > Subject > Teaching Set > Gender, ethnicity, SEND or other custom field
  • Create bespoke reports e.g. for governors

See the Training Hub to book onto free webinars on using Connect effectively.


6. Connect Data – Launched January 2018 for KS4 Monitoring

Connect Data is our new service to integrate uploading data into Connect Interactive or to produce the traditional Alps Reports and will completely replace the existing Alps Data Collection Software (ADCS) by Summer 2018. Currently, Connect Data is available for KS4 monitoring data submissions, with KS5 to come soon.

This new online service will simplify the process for submitting data and will enable our analysis to be directly available to you. Student data can be uploaded at the beginning of the year and you can then just add the grades at each monitoring point. If you have pre-loaded the student data, on results day, only the subject and grades will need to be added to be able to see your Alps analysis directly.


Need more information?

If you would like any further information, please contact one of our expert advisers.

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