School reporting on pupil progress

Every school is expected to report on pupil progress. STAR Assessment helps schools to demonstrate that.

Although everyone agrees high quality teaching and high quality formative assessment practice go hand-in-hand, assessment hasn’t had a good press recently. A YouGov survey commissioned by the Times Educational Supplement shortly before this summer’s exam results found that just 46 per cent of the profession were positive about the accuracy of those results. 63 per cent of headteachers and 47 per cent of teachers agreed with the statement that they were less confident in the GCSE system than the year before.

Policy changes and efforts to drive a national school improvement agenda led to confusion, frustration and even open rebellion by some teachers and parents when it came to SATS day while Progress 8 and other changes to high stakes testing have added to this mood of uncertainty in the secondary sector. But it’s worth stepping back a little from the foam and froth to view calmer waters and think a little more proactively about how you can assess children.

The DfE’s principles of assessment do not impose a single system for ongoing assessment on any school but they do expect schools to demonstrate, with evidence, their assessment of pupils’ progress. It’s the evidence bit of that key responsibility which Renaissance Star Assessments for reading and maths are ideally suited to deliver. Schools using Star know they can rely on the complete neutrality of a computer adaptive testing system to tell them how their pupils are performing, not just relative to each other, but against national standards – whilst providing clear, accurate reports anyone can understand, teacher, governor or Ofsted inspector. They give everyone a secure and accurate basis from which to discuss pupil performance.

Testing 43 different skills across 4 different domains, schools using Renaissance Star Reading can accurately talk about any child’s progress because they can see their:

  • National Curriculum reading level
  • Reading age in years and months
  • Zone of Proximal Development
  • Norm Referenced Standardised Score
  • Percentile Rank
  • Scaled Score

Testing 50 different skills across 10 different domains, schools using Renaissance Star Maths can accurately discuss any child’s progress because they can see their:

  • National Curriculum maths level
  • Norm Referenced Standardised Score
  • Percentile Rank
  • Scaled Score

Together, they tell you where every child who joins you starts from and every time you test them, you can see the evidence of how they are progressing. Tests typically take only 20 minutes to administer and you can run them as often as you like.

Research is increasingly revealing how important local context is in terms of school performance. There is no guarantee whatsoever that a head teacher who does well in one specific type of school or locality, will achieve similar results in a totally different location and school, for example. So any accountability discussion should begin with an individual school’s, or multi-academy trust’s coherent assessment practice. How much healthier for your staff and your children, where a school or MAT is able to say with complete confidence, we can show you the objective evidence.

Teachers are the professional assessors. It’s one of the most routine aspects of their job, but anything that helps a whole school do this part of the job objectively and consistently, by automatically interrogating a vast database of previous assessments to provide accuracy, has to be an asset. Star’s well-designed computer adaptive testing, which is used extensively by schools like yours, does all this for you.