Why Use Alps at KS4?

15th March 2024

An increasing number of schools are already using Alps at KS4 as a key part of their approach to improving outcomes. You will have a well-established monitoring and tracking system already at KS4, so why consider changing to Alps?

There are three main reasons you should consider investigating Alps further:

Better outcomes

Recent analysis of the latest DfE performance tables data revealed that schools using Alps were far more likely to have a positive Progress 8 score compared with other schools. For the 2023 cohort, 63% of providers using Alps had a positive Progress 8 score compared with an average of 44% nationally.

Alps’ unique, impactful analysis

Secondly, we offer ‘analysis additionality’. What does this mean? As you would expect from a system designed around improving performance at KS4, we provide analysis of the key KS4 Performance measures at both cohort and student level, including Attainment 8, EBacc APS, Progress 8 etc.

However, in addition to this, we offer our unique Alps progress analysis, because whilst analysis using the government measures provides a common framework for evaluating school performance nationally, I would argue they can be blunt tools in term of driving school improvement, particularly from a subject perspective.

Below, I highlight two of the key ‘tools’ within the Alps Connect platform which school leaders use to enable quick, insightful analysis of their KS4 data, to support their drive to make a positive difference in the outcomes for their students.

1. Alps KS4 Quality Indicator (KS4 QI)

Like the DfE Progress 8 measure, the Alps KS4 QI provides a measure of student progress. Crucially, however, the Alps KS4 QI provides an analysis of the progress that students make across all the qualifications that students are entered for, rather than just their ‘best 8’ subjects and there is no double weighting of English and Maths. On this basis, school leaders can use the Alps QI as an additional measure to evaluate impact and monitor progress across the whole KS4 curriculum, and for all key student groups, supporting a ‘leave no stone unturned’ approach.

2. Alps Subject Specific Benchmarks

From a school improvement perspective, the additional DfE P8 value-added measures related to the EBacc and Open buckets provide some insight into the strength and areas for development across the different areas of the curriculum. However, the insight that school leaders find valuable in this context is one which compares student progress in an individual subject with the progress made by students in that subject in other schools nationally. The Alps subject specific benchmarks, generated from the full DfE data set, provide schools leaders with exactly this analysis, helping them to identify strengths and weaknesses quickly and accurately across all the subjects in their KS4 curriculum.

Effective Monitoring System

Thirdly, effective target setting and monitoring systems are a vital element of a school’s drive to improving outcomes. The Alps Connect platform provides school leaders with the ability to generate aspirational targets based on student performance in the top 25% of the full DfE dataset, for both GCSE and vocational subjects. Using the cohort and subject-level analysis tools, leaders can quickly analyse in-year monitoring data and compare the progress being made at both subject and student level against these targets.

The benefits of this approach was highlighted in recent EdTech Impact Review by Rowan Pearson, from Phoenix Academy:

“We have seen huge improvements in our exams analysis processes since using Alps. In particular, the focus on continual improvement through timely and meaningful professional conversations means that teachers and HODs feel well-supported to drive improvement in their own classes and subjects.”

I used Alps successfully in my own school, and now work with other schools on using Alps to make the difference. If you would like more information, we would love to hear from you.

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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