Using Alps to set aspirational targets with students

18th July 2019

The ethos of driving an Alps culture in schools and colleges begins by encouraging staff and students to be aspirational. This starts in September in the setting of targets, or Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs) and with Alps, this means basing all targets on the progress made by students in the top 25% of schools and colleges nationally.

How do I generate Alps MEGs?

Target setting software is incorporated into Connect Data for both Key Stages and all qualification types. Once you have submitted student and subject details into Connect Data, it will automatically generate your MEGs. These are available in the MEG Reports area of your Connect homepage, and you can export them to excel of to a PDF.

The points below give a quick overview of the methodology we adopt to generate your MEGs – more details are available in the Alps Guide, also on the Connect homepage.

A potted overview of MEGs for all staff in September – this is common to all Key Stages

  • Each of your students are placed in a prior attainment band
  • We analyse the national dataset and work out the average grades achieved by students in each prior attainment band
  • We then identify the school or college whose progress hit the top 25% mark for each band
  • We then call these grades the Minimum Expected Grades or MEGs
  • They represent the average grade, or even better, point score, which if all students reached would place you in the top 25% in terms of progress – in Alps terms, this means that your Quality Indicator or BTEC Provider Value-Added Score would be RED HOT.

When is the best time to set targets?

The start of a new academic year is the perfect time to share new targets or review existing targets with your students, but this varies across schools/colleges. The great news is that the software is there for whenever you want to use it.

Sharing the Alps aspirational message

  • Top performing Alps schools/colleges train students to understand how the target setting process supports them in being aspirational.
  • Get students to calculate their own MEGs by sharing prior attainment data and banding tables. Make sure to point out that these are minimum grades only.
  • Plan time in your quality assurance cycles for dialogue to occur between subject staff and students to agree subject specific targets.
  • Ideally parents should be involved by having the target setting process explained. This could be via an early parents meeting followed up by regular written communication.
  • Show students past results, with examples of those who have smashed their MEGs in previous years, MEGs are after all just the starting point.

Using your MEGs to set personalised subject targets

  • Firstly, MEGs are minimum grades and not a ceiling. Some schools and colleges now use 90% MEGs as a standard to encourage students to aim even higher.
  • Crucially, teaching staff have to understand how progress in their subject compares to the MEG. For this we turn to the subject thermometers.
  • It is great practice in September for all staff to revisit the Alps methodology, remind themselves of what MEGs are, identify how their subject has performed against the MEGs nationally and finally review their targets. This can be done through staff training sessions delivered ‘in-house’ by your Alps champion or by watching one of our free webinars. We can deliver training on site or through video conference for a fee.

Read full briefing paper…

Need more information?

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

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