We have been working closely with Learn Academies Trust (Learn-AT) for the best part of an academic year now. We had a simple mission: develop an assessment model suitable to implement Trust-wide. Like most Trusts, Learn-AT knew it wouldn’t be so simple, but they knew it would be essential to ensure they provided the best solutions for all stakeholders involved.
Research, research, research
Stef Edwards (CEO of Learn-AT) wanted to ensure that each school worked coherently and unified. But, like so many other Multi-Academy Trusts, Learn-AT started out with each school assessing differently. Unphased, Stef and the Assessment Focus Group started investigating – they took a year to simply learn about good assessment. The robust system they now have is built on the solid foundation of their research.
“Why were levels abandoned? What went wrong? What must we not repeat?”
All of these questions, and more, the Trust took time to research and answer, looking to a whole host of academic journals and educational influencers for knowledge; their next port of call: to design an assessment framework and an assessment package that could reflect their principles and practises. This, they found with OTrack.
“Simple, clear data and pertinent analysis”
It’s important that schools know their data before they decide to use an assessment tracking package such as OTrack. We would never dictate what terminology a school should use, but having worked with schools for over 10 years, we always aim to share good practise.
By working closely with key members of the Learn-AT Assessment group, we created a system bespoke to them and the data they wanted to analyse and present, using their own terminology.
Yellow, Green, Purple
The Trust decided upon a half termly approach, taking into account evidence accumulated during this time, from standardised test or any other assessment activities, to arrive at a summative assessment for Reading, Writing and Mathematics.
Those pupils that require additional support, but are working within their programme of study (PoS) are coded ‘Yellow’, secure learners are coded ‘Green’, and those with a deeper understanding of objectives are coded ‘Purple’.
For those working in the PoS below, teachers record the PoS (E.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and whether the pupil is Y, G or P.
In addition to summative assessments, the Trust decided to conduct standardised tests (using Rising Stars PIRA and PUMA). These tests are given once per term and the data that they provide help to:
- Evaluate pupil progress year on year
- Provide evidence to support summative judgements
- Moderate standard and expectations across year groups within individual schools, and Trust-wide
Trust self-evaluation and school improvement
After this ‘once-only’ data input, OTrack’s powerful reporting allows Learn-AT to draw all of this data together for comprehensive analysis of pupil attainment, including groups, at academy and trust level.
The reports used by Learn-AT, mean that countless hours of data manipulation are saved. The combination of key reports, evidence of pupils work and additional evidence captured in school, mean Learn-AT now has everything they need for those all import Pupil Progress Meetings.Learn-AT believes in evidence-informed practice to allow pupils, and teachers, to flourish, and OTrack makes tracking that evidence simple.
This blog post has been written with excerpts from:
- EDWARDS, S. A research-informed journey to principled assessment practise. (2017). Impact Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching, (1), pp.24-26
– Learn-AT. (2017).