Accessing reliable assessments is one of the greatest challenges facing schools. There are a range of stakeholders with different, and sometimes competing, needs. Classroom teachers are looking for granular data to meet their formative needs, whereas school leaders and Multi Academy Trust (MAT) staff require summative assessment data to measure performance objectively over time. And of course, the time of teachers and students is precious, so any assessment needs to add considerable value to be worth its while.
RS Assessment from Hodder Education offer a neat solution that can work for all stakeholders with its market-leading suite of termly standardised assessments, which accurately measure and predict pupil progress in mathematics, reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling. The standardisation element is particularly important - by going through the process of standardising every test against a representative cohort of pupils, they’re able to contextualise pupil performance using national benchmarks like standardised scores and percentiles. These assessments are suitable for Reception to Year 9 and encompass PIRA (Progress in Reading Assessment), PUMA (Progress in Mathematics Assessment) and GAPS (Progress in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Assessment).
This benefits staff across a school or MAT in a number of ways:
You can see whether a child has mastered a topic. Question and strand level analysis helps a teacher to identify whether a child has grasped a concept that has been taught, and identify where further teaching is needed.
You can see whether children are meeting age-related expectations. The tests show whether children are on track to meet age-related expectations at the end of the year. Such definitions can be quite subjective if left to teacher judgment alone and a standardised test can provide a data driven measure to use alongside teacher judgment. The data can be viewed at individual, class, group or school level in order to pinpoint areas of strength or weakness in a school’s performance.
You can measure progress. Measuring progress also becomes easier with a standardised test. The common scales across multiple years and points in time allow meaningful comparison of attainment over time.
You can compare school performance. Aggregated data across a school or MAT means the team can see how performance compares to national benchmarks, which can help inform how teaching and learning resources are managed.
How Assembly partners with RS Assessment
In 2016, RS Assessment launched MARK (My Assessment and Reporting Kit), a free online reporting and analysis tool that works with RS Assessment from Hodder Education assessments. Raw test data is entered into the online platform to generate the standardised results, allowing analysis for individual children, classes, groups or schools to be generated. This can save teachers hours of time and produces easy to digest visual reports and dashboards which can be shared across a school, with parents and other school stakeholders. The platform even allows assessments to be sat by online, removing the need for data entry altogether!
The MARK data synchronisation dashboard
This year, RS Assessment has added an integration with the Assembly platform to the MARK system, which provides two valuable benefits:
You can now sync pupil data from your MIS directly into MARK. Assembly’s automated school data syncing technology can extract data from your MIS and pass it on to MARK in a secure and fully automated way, saving your school hours of configuration time, andd increasing the range of demographic analysis that is possible within the system.
You can also send test data automatically from MARK to Assembly for further analysis. Assembly Analytics is the country’s leading MAT analytics tool, and it now integrates with MARK to analyse data from PUMA/PiRA primary assessments alongside other data from your MIS like attendance and exclusions.
The Elliot Foundation have adopted both PUMA/PiRA and Assembly Analytics across all their schools. Assembly’s data analysis platform is “simply beautiful”, according to Jem Shuttleworth, their Director of Governance and Policy. She neatly summarises the analysis that takes please in Assembly Analytics by saying simply that “Assembly are data wizards”.
Attainment in Assembly Analytics
Katy Russell, Head of School Development at EMLC Academy Trust, has also seen PUMA/PiRA used to great effect across her MAT. She says:
There is no such thing as a perfect test…but coupled with teacher observations and low stakes daily Assessment for Learning, they are able to create a holistic picture of pupils’ progress.
Crucially Ofsted supports this view with the trust’s assessment strategy being praised in a February 2018 inspection. The inspector commented:
The school has wisely focused on bedding in the new approach to tracking pupils’ progress. The system now provides you with a comprehensive picture of pupils’ progress, including the progress of different groups of pupils.
Katie Blainey, Publishing Director of RS Assessment, comments:
Working with Assembly has been an exciting part of our assessment developments. Their automatic synchronisation reduces the time it takes to create pupil accounts within MARK and keeps the data up to date. Their passion for making it easy for schools to access and visualise their data has been evident in all of our work together. We feel it is important that senior leaders in schools and MATs have access to a wide range of data to help make informed decisions. We know termly assessment data can add to this bigger picture and help give valuable insight across a trust. Working with Assembly directly has helped a large number of trusts using our assessments.