Published on: 30 Apr 2018

How we use data to inform our pupil progress meetings

By Ellen Moss, Assessment and Reporting Leader Junior School, The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL)


The Grammar School at Leeds, Junior School (GSAL) uses GL Assessment’s Progress Test Series (PT Series) for English and Maths, in conjunction with other types of assessments and teacher judgements (that can be evidenced through books) to build a holistic picture of a how a pupil is achieving and progressing. The results of all summative and formative assessments, together with teacher judgment grades, are entered termly on the school's data system (SIMS).

We believe that effective termly Pupil Progress Meetings ensure that all pupils are making progress that is appropriate for them and are on-track to meet age-related expectations at the end of the year.

Each teacher is expected to analyse their data on SIMS in advance of the meeting in order to scrutinise the progress of individuals and groups prior to completing a Pupil Progress proforma. The proforma and data is then used to inform professional dialogue held between form teachers, members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the Assessment and Reporting Leader and the Individual Needs Co-ordinator, or other support staff where relevant. All pupils, from the most able to the less able, pupils with individual needs and pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) are discussed. Where pupils are not achieving their potential then conversations are held to ascertain the reasons why. The proforma that we use at GSAL includes space to note the number of pupils working at, above or below age related expectation in reading, writing and maths.

Where pupils are underachieving, intervention strategies are discussed. At GSAL, we also consider potential barriers to learning and how to overcome them. There can be a whole range of reasons why a child may be making slower than expected progress. We recognise that these may include their home or social circumstances. The proforma includes space to record what is to happen next to tackle any underachievement or risk of underachievement. Each term, discussions are held on the effectiveness of existing intervention. We consider what actions have taken place since the last meeting and what impact they have had on attainment and progress. We look for evidence to support the reported impact.

At GSAL, we believe that meeting termly can ensure all pupils are making good progress and that early interventions are planned and can be actioned immediately. We firmly believe that this will minimise the number of interventions needed later on. The PT Series allows teachers to understand where the gaps are in a child’s learning. The reports give feedback about the questions that have been answered well or less well. These can inform the next steps in teaching and learning.

We use GL Assessment’s Progress Test Series for English (PTE) and Maths (PTM) at the end of an academic year to demonstrate how well the children have mastered the year’s curriculum. As an independent school, the assessments allow us to benchmark our pupils against pupils nationally. We believe that the standardised scores validate our professional judgements. The data also allows us to compare group scores. For example, we can compare results by gender or according to special educational needs. We have found the feedback useful as we are able to gain a ‘snapshot’ of how a cohort, group or individual pupil is performing. We are able to use the reports to easily identify a pupil's strengths and weaknesses and those who require further support, intervention or extension work. 

As Assessment and Reporting Leader I carry out an analysis of the PTE and PTM data and give a summary of the findings to the Head of Year for each year group. Trends from this analysis are then discussed in year group teams, who also discuss how these will be tackled in the new academic year in order to raise attainment. Discussions between members of the SLT, the Assessment and Reporting Leader, subject leaders and others can also focus on what aspects of the curriculum have been best understood, and enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning and to inform future planning.  This summer will be the third year that we have used these tests and therefore we are beginning to track progress year-on-year.

The information provided by the GL Assessment reports for teachers enables us to personalise learning and identify a pupil’s strengths and weaknesses. We ask the following questions: Which individuals/groups seem to be progressing well and are on track to make at least age-related expectation by the end of the year? Which individuals/groups seem to be making slower progress? What are the barriers to their learning/progress? Is one subject area an issue? What do the work books show?

At the end of last year, we were able to use the progress categories to compare how a pupil who had completed PTE and PTM in May 2016 had performed, and we were able to categorise progress as expected, higher or lower than expected, or much higher or lower than expected. This enabled us to look for any anomalies and hold discussions about pupils who gave us cause for concern or those who had made better than expected progress.

We also used the analysis of curriculum content categories and the analysis of process categories to identify strengths and areas for further development. For example, some children were shown as having good English skills but weaker comprehension skills. This information, together with the group report for teachers and individual student report for students, gave recommendations as to how to assist those requiring further support.

Using this model of assessment and monitoring allows us to target our teaching to meet the needs of all our children and ensure that pupils are making good progress or exceeding national age-related expectation.