Summer Term Monitoring Tips

16th May 2024

Effective target setting and monitoring systems are a crucial element of a school or college’s approach to driving improvement. Our internal analysis of Alps providers indicates that the best performing schools and colleges are often those where student data is uploaded on a regular basis and where there are high numbers of colleagues who have access to the data in the Connect platform.

This approach helps to facilitate a focus on continual improvement through timely and meaningful professional conversations, meaning that teachers and curriculum leaders are well equipped to drive improvement in their own classes and subjects.

As we reach the start of the Summer Term, you will most likely have data collection points for your current Year 10 and/or Year 12 students. However, for colleagues in England, if you are still deciding the best approach to take with your Year 10 students in the absence of KS2 SATs data, we have some great options to explore which are described in detail in this article: Alternative Prior Attainment Baselines for Alps Connect at KS4 – England and International.

Analysis of Alps schools so far this year indicates that 66% of schools are using CAT4 Mean SAS scores as their alternative baseline, with the remainder using one of either the MidYis equivalent, KS2 scaled scores derived from past papers or our cohort distribution analysis approach.

This short blog gives you some tips on how to get the most out of Connect in analysing your in-year data.

How many monitoring points do you have?

Schools and colleges that make the most effective use of the Alps Connect platform typically upload 3-4 in-year grade points per academic year. These grade points are usually taken at regular intervals across the academic year and often include data from internal examinations.

From an Alps perspective, we would recommend using a Monitoring Point Zero (MPZ) grade point at the start of the academic year which reflects the most likely grade a student will achieve based on assessment data to date.

What definition of assessment grades do you use…and are your teachers all using the same one?

Schools and colleges typically will monitor on the basis of either:

  1. Predicted grade or most likely grade – the professional judgement as to what each student is realistically likely to achieve at the end of the course.
  2. Current working at grades – usually a grade based on teacher assessment of student ability to that point in the course

Colleagues may also choose to upload the actual results achieved in internal examinations.

Each approach has its merits, but the type of grade used will influence how you view the value-added analysis in Connect. The key message here is to make sure that all teaching staff are clear on your expectations on how they arrive at the assessment grade for each student if you are to make meaningful school improvement decisions.

Key questions to ask of your data

Once your data is in Connect, you will be able to see your value-added grades at a strategic, subject and student level. The table below outlines some of the questions you may want to explore in the platform:

Supporting In-Year Monitoring

Additional questions for pastoral teams and learning mentors

  1. Are there students who are underperforming across all subjects in an in-year monitoring point?
  2. Is there a place for a more holistic support plan for that student?
  3. What impact is attendance having on student performance (Remember you can upload attendance data as a custom column to support analysis in this area)
  4. Are there groups of students who are underperforming because of a shared barrier to learning, for example, less well-developed numeracy skills? Is there a school/college-wide strategy to address these issues?
  5. Are students having positive learning conversations with their mentors/tutors to ensure that they are on track to achieve their aspirational targets?

If you would like to gain further insights into how your Alps Connect platform can be used to monitor student progress, we have many resources available within the Support Hub via Connect, including our new Alps Explorer programme.

In addition, we have presented four Alps Champions webinars this year specifically focused on using Alps Connect to monitor student progress. You can find and watch recordings of these webinars by following the link here.

Finally, we offer excellent tailored training for schools and colleges, so if you would be interested in one of the Alps educational team delivering training to you and your colleagues, details of what we offer are on the link here.

End note from Alps:

We currently work with over 1,200 schools and colleges and 95 Groups and MATs in the UK and internationally, offering our high-quality analysis at both KS4 and KS5.

If you do not use Alps, but are interested in how Alps could support you to improve your outcomes, do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly team at [email protected] . You can also call us 01484 887600 and we will be delighted to speak to you, or you can book a demo with one of our knowledgeable team here.

About the author: Dr Jevon Hirst, Alps Training Director

Jevon has over 20 years’ experience working in education. Prior to joining Alps in 2020, Jevon has worked in a number of senior leadership roles within schools, with responsibilities for teaching, learning, curriculum, strategic planning, self-evaluation and student achievement. Central to these roles, has been the intelligent use of data to inform school improvement and maximise outcomes for students.

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