Alps KS4 Updates 2017 – England Alps briefing papers - view all

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1. Benchmarks

Based on the validated 2016 KS4 dataset from the Department for Education we are updating our benchmark tables. The benchmarks for 2017 will be available after Easter and will be included in our Summer 2017 reports.

Because of the turbulence in education caused by the current reforms (the switch to 9-1 grades, the Transitional Points for A*to G grades and the new Standardised KS2 SAT scores first used in 2016), we will be reviewing our benchmarks annually. We will let you know if there will be benchmark changes each year, during this transition period.

Alps is committed to keeping students’ best interests at the centre, while providing schools with reports that evaluate their provision fairly.

2. Use of Transitional Points and why?

In 2017 and 2018 the A*-G grades have been given Transitional Point scores to map achievement in them against outcomes using the new 9-1 scale for reformed subjects.

The image below compares the previous A*-G point scores with the A*-G Transitional Points.

These Transitional Point scores will also be used in the calculation of all Government attainment and progress measures, for example Progress 8 scores.

Philosophically, at Alps we are against the concept that it is more worthy to improve an able student’s attainment from C to B (1.5 points) than a more modestly able student’s attainment from F to E (0.5 points), believing that progress from each grade to the one above should be equally rewarded.

Nevertheless, we have decided to adopt the Transitional Points scores in our reports, since not adopting them may lead to confusion for our schools. For example, if we carried on treating grade C as being equivalent to 5 when Ofqual have announced that only a third of the candidates who gained C in 2016 would achieve grade 5 on the 9-1 scale.

3. Additional Gap analysis – Strategic Overview and Subject Overview

The 2016 KS4 reports included a significant coverage of gaps, particularly the ‘disadvantaged gap’ at school and subject level.

In 2017 we have enhanced this considerably through the inclusion of two new pages:

Strategic Overview Gap Dashboard

This dashboard breaks down every measure from your Strategic Overview to compare the performance of your disadvantaged Pupil Premium students with their peers in your school.

As you will be aware the DfE have chosen to compare differences between how well disadvantaged students in a school do compared to non-disadvantaged students nationally. We have no plans to switch to that methodology in our reports.

Subject value added overview by group

This page pulls together all the disadvantaged and gender gaps, which are visible on the individual subject pages, into an overview enabling you to see which subjects have overly contributed to any gaps in your school.

Reminder – Student Performance Overview in Excel!

Your Student Performance Overview is available in Excel to download from your myAlps account. This enables you to use multiple filters or sorts to identify and evaluate the performance of very specific groups, for example White British, disadvantaged boys. Our experience in many of the 300 schools we visited for Strategic Reviews in 2016 suggests that many schools underused this excellent resource in the first year.

4. Setting Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs) in light of:

9-1 grades (most subjects accredited in Summer 2018)

Our benchmarks to enable you to set MEGs at or above the 75th percentile nationally will be using the transitional A*-G points. As the 2016 national dataset does not contain any 9-1 grades we have used all available data, including DfE Attainment 8 estimates, to create these, with the aim that our suggested 9-1 MEGs will enable you to be aspirational when setting student target grades in all subjects.

During the Autumn term our data team will do further research on the 2017 award of 9-1 grades in English Language, English Literature and mathematics.

Standardised KS2 SAT scores (Years 7 & 8 in 2017-18)

In September 2017 the prior achievement of students in Years 9-11 will be based on KS2 SAT sub-levels. Prior achievement for Years 7 & 8 will be based on the standardised KS2 scores. The tables in our reports will provide a suggested correlation for Years 7 & 8 based on the standardised scores.

It is important that our MEGs are not treated as the best grade a student might achieve in each subject. There should be no ‘ceilings’. Another important point to consider is that, during this time of change, the earlier you establish definite MEGs/flightpaths for a year group in your school, whether using Alps and/or DfE Attainment 8 estimates/other systems, the likelier it is that their performance in KS4 will subsequently be evaluated against different standards by the time they reach Year 11.

5. Alps Connect Launching Autumn 2017 – KS4 and KS5

We are launching a new Alps service in Autumn 2017 called Alps Connect, an interactive web-based platform which will allow you to interact with both your exam results data and monitoring data.

It will allow you and all staff to:

  • Analyse your data by gender, ethnicity, teaching set, tutor groups and other custom fields
  • Carry out in-depth departmental analysis – including interactive ‘what if’ functionality – to model how many grades would have been needed to move into the Black or into the Red
  • Identify the areas of both celebration and concern or intervention; by
    • Student
    • Subject
    • Teaching Set
    • Gender, ethnicity, SEN or other custom field
  • Create bespoke reports e.g. for governors

We are at the end of the telephone Monday to Friday 9am-5pm – please contact us for more information