How effective is your use of school data? Ahead of her upcoming workshop “Using data to inform learning and secure high achievement”, NACE associate Dr Ann McCarthy shares guidance on the use of historic outcomes to target improvement in outcomes for all learners, including the more able.

This article is an excerpt from the NACE Essentials guide, Using data to improve provision for more able learners. To access the full guide, log in.

This area is led by headteachers and senior leadership teams who set strategy, policy, school improvement plans and quality assurance arrangements. Senior leaders also develop middle leaders so they too can contribute to school priorities, extending the vision and policy into their areas of responsibility.

Based on effective school review and self-evaluation, school leaders highlight areas for development and improvement. They set targets which include the quality and range of school provision, progress and achievement of more and exceptionally able learners. They introduce new initiatives and practices with measurable outcomes, and promote action research to enable them to explore and implement the most effective strategies and practice.

It is important to set quantitative targets so the impact of actions can be measured objectively. This information can then be supplemented by qualitative measures of performance. Learners’ attainment and achievement targets are used to ensure all, including the most able, make appropriate progress across year groups and over time.

Six steps to implement in your school

1. Put in place an action plan in response to self-evaluation and research evidence, which includes performance measures.

2. Set whole-school end of key stage targets, using national benchmarks, which can be measured.

3. Use the same or higher targets for interim school years.

4. Set quantitative performance data targets, with attention to closing gaps in achievement between different year groups and subjects.

5. Include targets for defined groups of learners including: gender; ethnicity; EAL; SEND and disadvantage.

6. Identify other schools where performance is better in target areas and seek to work in collaboration or acquire support, dependent on needs.

In general, leaders would expect to see a small variation in the performance profile between year groups. This allows leaders to target marginal improvement year on year using existing data. However, where there is a significant variation in the prior performance of any given year group, these targets should be adjusted to reflect the differences.

Reviewing outcomes for more able learners

The following questions, regarding more able learners, should be considered:
  • Are historic attainment outcomes in line with or better than average for similar schools or family of schools? 
  • What actions will lead to higher attainment and what quality assurance milestones can be put in place?
  • Do more able learners make the same or better progress than other learners, relative to their starting points, and is this true regardless of learner groups?
  • Have targets been put in place for all year groups and for all subjects?
  • Are there any subjects or year groups where progress and attainment measures lie below whole-school targets and what specific action is in place to monitor and measure improvement?
  • Have the targets been communicated effectively to middle leaders and have they acted to make changes which will lead to further improvements?
When reflecting on the school’s position in relation to more able learners, there is a balance between where the school has been historically and what might be achieved if all barriers were removed.

Read more…

  • Log in to our members’ site for the full NACE Essentials guide to using data to improve provision for more able learners.
  • Not yet a member? Find out more.

Join Dr McCarthy’s workshop in January…

New for 2019, Dr Ann McCarthy is running a full-day workshop in London on 31 January 2019, designed to support senior and middle leaders in the effective use of school data to improve provision for more able learners, while raising standards and aspirations for all.

View the workshop programme and book your place.

Dr Ann McCarthy has been a NACE associate since 2017, with a focus on developing the charity’s more able school review work, guidance on the use of data to support more able provision, and action research programme. She is currently Improvement Director for a multi-academy trust, and has extensive experience in coaching, training and consultancy, as well as teaching and leadership roles in both primary and secondary schools.

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Date: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2018