FAQs

These are our FAQs – we hope they help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Alps. If not, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Ordering Alps Reports

What happens if I have re-grades after I have submitted data to Alps? Show

It is not uncommon for some students’ grades to change after re-grades. For this reason every Alps report includes one free re-run of each school report built in to our price. We recommend that the data is re-submitted for this ‘validated’ report once all re-mark and result enquiries have been resolved.

Please note that a free re-sub is not included with our Monitoring reports.


How much does an Alps report cost? Show

The price of your Alps report will depend on the type of report requested, the number of reports ordered and the number of students in your cohort. More detailed information is contained in our price list.

There is more information available on our prices page.


Which KS4 reports are available? Show

For schools we currently offer a KS4 Provider report which includes a separate Teaching Set report and an electronic Student Performance Overview (in Excel format). Summary Pupil Premium analysis is also included in this report.

For Regional Schools Commissioners, academy chains, multi-academy trusts and LAs there is the KS4 Group Report which evaluates performance across the whole group to identify areas of excellence and areas of relative weakness.


Which reports are available? Show

Full details of the reports that we offer are detailed in the ‘Our Reports’ page of our website. We now offer reports at both KS4 and KS5 level.

Our Reports

If you cannot find what you are looking for please contact us directly to discuss further.


How long will it take to receive my Alps report? Show

We aim to process your data, check your report and post it out to you within 8 working days of receiving an error free data file. This means that for both KS4 and KS5 reports, if you submit your data on the respective Results Day you will receive your reports before or at the start of term in September.


What data do I need to send to get an Alps report? Show

To receive an Alps report you will need to send us your results data using our Alps Data Collection Software (ADCS).

How to order an Alps report

If you require further help please contact us directly.


How do I get an Alps report? Show

You do not need to pre-register to receive most Alps reports. You just need to submit your data to us. We will then process your request, post out your report(s) and invoice you for your order.

How to order an Alps report

You will need to pre-register to receive monitoring, consortium or group reports. To discuss these reports further please contact us directly.


Educational Questions

What are the main advantages of using Alps at KS4 and KS5? Show

  1. We base our benchmarks on the full Department for Education datase
  2. We set National Minimum Expected grades for students, set at the 75th percentile
  3. All performance judgements in our reports are based on benchmarks using national data from the DfE
  4. Our end of year reports can be available by the start of the academic year
  5. We show 4 year trends
  6. Our reports evaluate the quality of teaching based on outcomes and student progress
  7. Our reports contain student performance analysis showing the progress made by each student across every subject and analysis by banded ability
  8. Our reports enable you to set the right improvement priorities at the right time
  9. Our reports are easy for all staff to use, understand and interpret
  10. We offer best practice training together with our free data support and educational telephone helpdesk service to our users
  11. We provide a common language across groups of schools or colleges
  12. The Alps methodology is simple and transparent and can be understood by all staff. This promotes positive engagement with data and helps to drive improvement
  13. At KS4 – our key indicators show the progress students make in all subjects and in their ‘best 8’
  14. At KS4 – our reports contain individual subject and teaching set analysis

How can I use these reports with Governors? Show

We will identify specific pages in our reports as being of particular interest to Governors. We also offer Governor Training or you could invite the Governors to attend your Alps Feedback with your SLT.


Why do you use red, black and blue when most schools use the traffic light system of green, amber and red? Show

When Dr Kevin Conway invented Alps he designed thermometers to visually display how ‘hot’ a subject or school was. The nearer the top the more red-hot you become. Blue is the cold colour you want to ‘warm up’ in the year ahead.

The easy to understand Alps colours provide a simple way to view what is a much more precise tool than a three colour traffic light system would allow. Our thermometers show you exactly where you stand against robust, national indicators.


What does Alps offer for groups of schools or colleges? Show

We offer two different reports which apply to groups of schools. Our Consortium reports analyse data for groups of schools that ‘swap’ students. Local Authority/Group reports cover schools or colleges that do not ‘swap’ students but which collaborate in their provision. These reports collate data from all schools or colleges within an area or group, giving an overall picture of the provision on offer. We also provide these reports for Multi Academy Trusts.

To discuss any of these reports further please contact the Alps office.


Why can’t I have A level and BTEC in the same report? Show

These are contained in separate reports because they are very different in terms of assessment, grade outcome and profile of students taking them. It is not possible to directly compare BTEC with A level progress. At the back of our KS5 reports you will find a ‘Student Performance Overview’ which shows the performance of these two very different courses.


What data are your benchmarks based on? Show

Our benchmarks at both KS4 and KS5 are created using the full national dataset supplied by the Department for Education. Alps reports compare your performance against a benchmark which is based on every students’ results nationally.


Educational Questions at Key Stage 4

Which KS4 subjects do you include? Show

All GCSEs and short GCSEs, BTECs and Cambridge Level 1/2 Nationals.


Will the reports be interactive? Show

Eventually we aim to move to fully interactive online reports.  This year we are providing you with the electronic Student Performance Overview (in Excel format).


Will I be able to see analysis for gender or ethnicity at KS4? Show

For 2016/17 there is no separate KS4 gender or ethnicity report, as there is at KS5. However, the Excel version of the Student Performance Overview at KS4 provides schools with the best way to look at the performance of specific student groups, including gender and ethnicity.


How will Alps deal with the KS4 changes over the next few years? Show

Just as we do at post-16 we will aim to ensure our reports remain both fair and relevant through these times of change.

We are thinking carefully about how to deal with the existence of two grade sets (A*-G and 1-9) in 2017 and how we will deal with the move from levels to standardised scores at KS2, both in terms of target setting and evaluation.

Alps has always responded positively to changes in the qualifications framework and will adapt systems in a way that best serves schools and colleges while retaining our simple and transparent methodology.


Why would I use Alps when I have got RAISEonline? Show

RAISEonline comes out late in the Autumn Term and is primarily designed to ‘weigh the pig’ and assist Ofsted in making pre-inspection ‘judgements’.

Alps KS4 reports will be available at the start of the academic year to help schools make informed decisions about improvement priorities.

The Alps report will provide progress data at teaching set level and will also deal far more comprehensively with subjects other than English and mathematics in comparison to RAISE.

The KS4 Student Performance Overview will be a powerful interactive tool enabling schools to delve deep below headline data to evaluate outcomes at individual student and student group level.

Alps is a process designed to make a difference to students while they are still studying and is primarily designed to ‘feed the pig’.


Why are you moving into KS4? Show

We have received many requests from schools, academy chains and LAs to develop our trademark simple and easy to use analysis for KS4. We are now delighted to be developing Alps KS4 reports and training.

Until now the headline KS4 measure (5+ A*-C including English and mathematics) has trapped many schools into being judged on their performance at the C/D border. Progress 8 and Attainment 8 mean that every grade for each student at KS4 is important for the school as well as the student.

The Alps KS4 report evaluates the progress made from KS2 by the students in your school. Ensuring students are successfully challenged to make better than expected progress from KS2 to KS4 will be crucially important to schools.

Our KS4 reports will enable school leadership teams to identify areas of strength and weakness and develop strategies for improvement. We will also deliver KS4 training which shares best practice from top performing schools and colleges.

Our move to KS4 represents an opportunity to give 11-16 schools access to the powerful Alps message and methodology for the first time.


Alps Minimum Expected Grades (KS4 and KS5)

I want to set higher target grades than the Alps targets. What do I do? Show

You simply raise them. In our view every student should be targeted to achieve the highest grade they are capable of in each subject studied. You know your students and your teachers and will know what is realistically possible. Teachers with a growth mindset who inculcate the belief in their students that they can and will achieve higher can perform miracles.

The Alps analysis of final results will always be based on the Alps minimum expected grades derived from the benchmark rather than any higher target grades that might have been agreed with students locally.


Why do you not have subject specific target grades? Show

Alps generates minimum expected grades based on the performance of students with prior achievement at the 75th percentile nationally. We think that this is where the target-setting conversation should begin regardless of the subjects a student is taking.

Targets higher than the suggested minimum can be set in subjects where students have demonstrated a particular aptitude or strength. Schools and colleges may well wish to consider raising these grades in some subjects rather than others if an individual student has more ability in these subjects.

Our strong advice is never to see the Alps minimum expected grades as a ceiling.


How do I generate targets? Show

Alps targets can be generated directly from the Alps Data Collection Software (ADCS). This is free to download from our website. You do not need to submit any data to Alps in order to generate these targets.


Why are Alps targets set at the 75th percentile? Show

We set our grades at the 75th percentile, as opposed to the 50th percentile, because evidence shows that setting an aspirational target leads to stronger outcomes. We believe that realistic, achievable targets give the best motivation and result in the strongest performance. We do not believe that we are challenging our students if we only set them a target to be ‘average’.


Alps KS5 Targets

Should I use A level or AS level targets with my students at the start of the AS course? Show

In our experience the majority of schools use their A level targets from the start of the AS year, in order to keep the message simple for their students. However, AS level targets are slightly lower than A level targets, which may mean they are more appropriate for your students. Both sets of targets are based on the full Department for Education dataset.


What is the best time to set targets with my KS5 students? Show

At the earliest opportunity in the sixth form, in the first week if possible. We also recommend that you explain where they come from at the same time.

If you need any advice on how to get students on board with their Alps targets please contact us directly.


Alps KS4 Targets

What is the best time to set targets with my KS4 students? Show

This will vary from school to school. Some may want to set out minimum expected grades at the start of Y7 whereas others will want to wait until students start KS4 courses – whether that is in Y9 or Y10. If you do set targets at the beginning of the GCSE course we recommend you set them early, ideally in the first week.


Some of my students have no KS2 SAT fine grade score – how should I set minimum expected grades for them? Show

If they have teacher assessed levels use these. If these are whole levels, for example 4, start at 4.50. As you get to understand the student’s real ability think of the generated grades as the minimum expected and raise where appropriate.

If you have no KS2 data consider using tests such as the NFER CAT tests and give students the same minimum expected grades as another student with the same or similar CAT scores.

Although the CAT analysis includes GCSE forecasts, we still recommend that you use the aspirational Alps minimum expected grades with your students. Our experience is that CAT forecasts tend to be lower than the aspirational grades set by Alps because they are predicting the most likely outcome on average for a student with those CAT scores.


Alps Training (KS4 and KS5)

Do you offer governor or local authority training? Show

Yes, we can deliver training to governors and to local authority staff.

To discuss this training further please contact us directly.


Is there a training session you would recommend to a school or college that is new to Alps? Show

We recommend that schools and colleges new to Alps have an Alps Feedback training session. This is a ‘round the table’ discussion with the SLT at your school or college, based on your own Alps data. It can help you to fully understand your report and how to use it for performance improvement.


What training sessions do you offer at KS4? Show

We are initially offering two different training session at Key Stage 4. These are our ‘Introduction to Alps at KS4’ and our popular school feedback (based on your school’s KS4 Alps report). We can also tailor bespoke sessions to the individual needs of schools, for which additional costs will apply. To discuss further please contact us directly.


What training sessions do you offer At KS5? Show

The full details of all the training sessions we offer are in our training brochure. We can also tailor bespoke sessions to the individual needs of schools or colleges, for which additional costs will apply. To discuss further please contact us directly.

Our training brochure contains more information about the training we currently offer.


Monitoring at Key Stage 5

How much do monitoring reports cost? Show

Please refer to our price list for more details about the cost of Monitoring reports. There is more general information about our prices available on our prices page.


How regularly should we monitor? Show

We recommend that formal monitoring takes place approximately once a term – or about 3 or 4 times a year. These grades should be recorded and reported to students, parents and senior leaders.

To discuss best practice on monitoring further please contact us directly.


Which qualifications do you offer monitoring reports for? Show

We offer Monitoring reports for A level, AS level and BTEC. We are also able to produce Teaching Set Monitoring reports.


What are Alps monitoring reports? Show

These are ‘in-year’ reports which follow the same format and layout as our main ‘end-of-year’ Provider reports. They let you see what your final Alps report will look like and identify underperforming students or departments while there is still time to take action.

These reports are based on your own teacher progress grades. For more information about best practice in determining these grades please see the Monitoring reports section on the Our Reports page.


Monitoring at Key Stage 4

When should we start and how regularly should we monitor? Show

This will vary from school to school. Some may want to monitor towards Alps minimum expected grades from the start of Y7 using their recently designed ‘flightpath’ whereas others will want to wait until students start KS4 courses – whether that is in Y9 or Y10.

Many schools find it helpful to record progress grades once per term and then analyse this data relative to minimum expected grades. This allows targeted intervention to take place when potential underachievement is identified.


Do you offer KS4 monitoring reports? Show

Not in 2016-17 but there will be Excel ‘what if’ spreadsheets available to enable monitoring towards Alps targets at subject and teaching group level.


Alps and Ofsted

Can Alps help with an inspection? Show

Yes. Many schools and colleges phone us before or during their Ofsted inspections and have been impressed with the support and advice that we offer.

In the past we have been asked to produce reports at very short notice in preparation for Ofsted inspections and have helped school leadership teams gain a valuable deeper understanding of their data prior to an inspection.

To discuss our support further please contact us directly.


How should I use Alps during an Ofsted inspection? Show

It is really important that you demonstrate how you have used Alps to inspire curriculum improvement. You will need to understand the Alps indicators and be able to show that you have embedded Alps into your curriculum improvement and quality assurance processes. Ensuring that you have a SEF or Executive Summary that references your Alps reports and shows how your analysis has led to setting the right improvement priorities is crucial. Even better if you are then able to demonstrate using current progress data that your interventions have had a positive impact on achievement.

If you need any support with understanding any aspect of your Alps report please contact us directly.


Can I use evidence from my Alps KS4 reports during my inspection? Show

Yes – inspections under the CIF have a strong focus on student progress. Inspectors will want to know whether students ‘progress well from their different starting points and achieve or exceed standards expected for their age nationally’, whether students’ ‘progress is above average or improving across most subject areas‘ and whether the ‘progress of disadvantaged pupils, disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is above average or improving’.

The handbook tells Inspectors that they ‘should consider performance information presented by the school for current pupils across year groups and previous cohorts, including that provided by external organisations’.

Inspectors will want evidence to demonstrate that ‘leaders and governors have created a culture that enables pupils and staff to excel’ and that ‘leaders and governors focus on consistently improving outcomes for all pupils, but especially for disadvantaged pupils’. They will seek to discover whether ‘the school’s actions have secured substantial improvement in progress for disadvantaged pupils’.

The use of Alps minimum grade expectations is evidence that a school is aspirational and expects students to achieve progress that is above average.


Can I use evidence from my KS5 Alps reports during my inspection? Show

Definitely. The latest Ofsted guidance states that inspectors should consider all value added measures used by a school or college, which includes Alps. More information is available on our ‘Alps and Inspections’ page.

We are available during inspections to provide further support. To discuss further please contact us directly.


myAlps

I cannot find my myAlps password, what do I do? Show

Please select the ‘forgotten my password’ option on the login page to reset your password. Alps staff cannot reset passwords or manage myAlps users.

If this does not resolve the issue it may be possible to request that we resend the activation letter which would originally have been posted to your head/principal. Please contact the Alps office to request this.

Please note that, for data security reasons, we can only send your activation code by post and only to your head/principal.


I cannot find my activation letter, what do I do? Show

Please contact the Alps office.

Please note that, for data security reasons, we can only send your activation code by post and only to your head/principal.


How do I register for myAlps Data Exchange? Show

You can set up your organisation using the unique activation code which was posted to your head/principal. If you no longer have this code please contact us to request another.

Please note that, for data security reasons, we can only send your activation code by post and only to your head/principal.


What is myAlps? Show

myAlps is our online portal, providing a platform for a number of current and future Alps services. This includes the myAlps Data Exchange which allows schools, colleges, local authorities and academy chains to upload their data and to receive and view their reports securely.