Using Connect to Monitor Progress at KS4 News article - view all Alps blog post - view all

This is the time of year when your Year 11 students have completed their internal examinations, and analysis of outcomes will be used by departments and year heads/raising standards leaders to determine intervention groups.

As we have just launched KS4 monitoring in Alps Connect, you can now submit a series of data collection points for your Year 11 students. This blog is designed to outline how you might get the most out of Alps Connect at this time. How you might use it to determine those students with whom you can make that difference.

Schools will have different processes with regards to monitoring, with most tracking predicted grades arising from teacher assessment. In addition, you may have a set of raw mock grades, the analysis of which may highlight discrepancies in the predicted data. Some schools submit ‘gut feeling’ grades to give them as realistic a picture as possible of GCSE outcomes. The beauty of Alps Connect is that you can submit all of these monitoring points in order to gain a thorough and detailed insight into the projected performance of the school, the individual subject areas and the students themselves.

Alps Connect can be used to analyse all monitoring data at the same strategic level as you can in examination mode. You can build custom reports which highlight the trend over time. Consider the strategic page below:

The strategic Alps grades for the school in 2016/17 have been pasted next to three monitoring points. We can see that the final two data inputs indicate that school strategic Alps grades have declined. Is this staff being too cautious or are these accurate and realistic?

The strategic area can provide you with an overview of how your individual students are performing banded by ability:

Here we can see that the higher prior attainment students at KS2 are performing less well than other students in this monitoring point. This allows you to ask the questions: Who are they? In which subjects are they doing less well?

Monitoring through Connect allows you to ask questions on the accuracy of predictions made by staff. The subject pages will give us more information. You can view up to four monitoring points, with each subject being given an Alps grade.

In the subject table on the left, we can see that many subjects have predicted in line with or above the national average (Alps grade 5 or better) in the November monitoring point. However, by December and January, these predictions had dropped many subjects into a blue Alps score. This raises some questions over quality assurance across the school. How are subject staff arriving at these predicted grades?

If we focus on an individual subject, we can start to identify key teaching sets and students who might be underperforming, for example, clicking onto the English Language page for the January data input.

You can see from this page that there is an overall subject thermometer for the January dataset, which is currently a grade 8 and in the bottom 10% of English departments for progress. The page displays a table where you can see the Alps grades broken down by gender and disadvantage. You could look at the Alps score, identifying any differences between the groups, remembering that an Alps score difference of 0.2 would represent a grade difference per student on average between the groups.

The pie chart shows the breakdown of teaching sets. We can see that there is one teaching set where the predicted outcome is a red grade, and who are therefore making progress in line with the top 25% of English departments nationally. The other teaching sets have black or in the main, blue Alps grades.

Teachers of the individual groups can now look at their teaching sets and see a similar analysis pattern.

In this teaching set, the difference in Alps score between female and male students is over 0.2, therefore on average, girls are performing one grade above the boys in this set.

One of the most powerful tools in Connect is the ‘What If’ feature. In this English set, the teacher can click onto the STUDENT tab and check the ‘What If’ button in the top left hand corner. This now allows them to carry out some modelling with their class. Note that this can also be done at a subject level rather than in individual classes.

Key questions: How many student grades will it take to raise performance in this set from black to red?

Click and drag the right hand box on the thermometer to the grade you want to model against. The panel tells you that in this instance I would need to improve 14 students by 1 grade.

Which students can I realistically target?

Use the thumbs in the “What If” column to alter grades where you feel that intervention would have an impact on that student. The right hand box of the thermometer will model the resulting Alps grade.

Note: at this point there are no fine grades in Connect. This feature will be added in the near future. For now, you may want to model insecure grades using the “What If” tool, in other words, change the insecure grade 5C/5- to a grade 4 – what happens to the Alps grade? You could model the same for the 5A/5+ grades moving up to a grade 6.

Finally, the student area of Connect will give you a horizontal view on progress towards targets across subjects.

Colours indicate progress towards minimum expected grades

  • Red – on or above target
  • Grey – one below
  • Blue – two below

The student view can be filtered for gender, disadvantage and ethnicity. Notice that tutor groups can be imported allowing tutors to monitor their own tutees.

Use the ‘compare’ tool to filter students according to performance across all of their subjects. This will help you to spot students who are struggling across the board, or struggling in one or two subjects only.

In summary, the three areas of Connect work to complement each other to allow you to fully analyse your monitoring data and identify areas of strength and weakness in your predicted data, and potentially in their accuracy across all subjects. Using Connect with all staff across the school will support you in identifying those students who are not currently reaching their full potential, constructing your intervention groups and maximising progress.