KS4 Raising Standards Leader Priorities

On or around 24 August, Headteachers and KS4 Raising Standards Leaders (RSLs) will be using a variety of means to try to calculate their Progress 8 score. However, the reality – as demonstrated nationally in 2016 – is that no one can know what their actual Progress 8 score will be with any degree of certainty until these are announced, based on unvalidated data, mid-October. The replacement of RAISEonline with ASP adds further uncertainty in 2017.

The switch from a headline measure based on raw grades to one based on pupil progress has had a profound impact on strategic priorities in schools all across England. Headteachers and KS4 RSLs are searching for the best way to identify key priorities for improvement, with impact that will raise student progress, as they analyse their results. In increasing numbers they are turning to Alps as we can provide them with the information they need – as at post-16 – at the start of the academic year.

The introduction of the Progress 8 measure was welcomed at Alps and was one of the key drivers for the introduction of our KS4 report in 2016. To say that we are both stunned and delighted by their immediate popularity nationwide would be an understatement. Strategic Review Meetings were held in around 300 schools. At these meetings, one of our consultants works with the SLT for 1hr 30 to help identify priorities. If you fancy that in 2017, let us know.

Performance Evaluation and the identification of Key Priorities for 2017-18 using Alps at the start of the year.

By the start of September schools will have their Alps KS4 Report, their Teaching Sets report and interactive Student Performance Overview (SPO), providing them with a rich analysis of progress from KS2 with which to accurately identify strengths and weaknesses in terms of subjects, sets and student groups.

The difference in 2017 is that many will also be looking at their results in Alps Connect, our interactive online product. This enables you to interrogate the data rigorously looking for underperformance in student groups, comparing school and subject performance in terms of disadvantage and so much more. Have a look at our website at https://alps.education/connect/ if you are behind the curve on this. We can get you involved very quickly.

Schools using Connect will be uploading monitoring data throughout the year looking for key interventions, comparing PPE / Mock results with predicted grades and utilising the ‘How Do I’ and ‘What if’ scenarios so teachers and Heads of Department have a firm grasp on what needs to be done to either move out of the blue or into the red.

On receipt of your 2017 KS4 report, make sure you use it strategically. In the Quality Indicator (QI) there is no hiding place. In Progress 8 or QI8 some of each student’s poorest grades do not make the cut. The Quality Indicator contains every grade taken by each subject and treats them all equally – nothing gets double-weighted and nothing omitted. So, what was the overall quality of your provision for the class of 2017? Obviously your QI8 grade – roughly based on the Progress 8 bucket rules will be of interest too. We are not attempting to guess your Progress 8 score. What we are doing is measuring the progress your students made in 8 subjects in 2017 against the DfE 2016 national data to allocate you an Alps QI8 grade (19). In my view, as between 70-80% of QI8 and P8 is ‘home and hosed’ if English, Maths and Science all perform strongly it is key to seek out any underperformance in those areas.

To do so you may first turn to Subject value-added overview to identify which subjects have had the most positive and negative impacts on student progress from KS2. If you have submitted 4 years of data (2014-2017) you can also see whether progress in individual subjects has been improving or not through time. The next step should be to look at the Teaching Set Overview to look for in-subject variation. That will make it easy to identify where inconsistent progress in sets has had a negative impact on subject and, potentially, whole-school grades. Where has outstanding teaching & learning enabled some sets to gain grades 1-3 in a subject when at least one other set was graded 7-9?

Switching to Connect – or opening the SPO in excel – will enable RSLs to swiftly filter and / or sort to, for example, see which students made rapid progress and which made least progress. You will want to see how students in specific groups such as disadvantaged, White-British boys have got on.

Gap analysis is significantly enhanced in the 2017 reports. The Strategic Overview Gap Dashboard breaks down every measure from your Strategic Overview to compare the performance of your disadvantaged students with their peers in your school.

Alps KS4 – Strategic Overview – Gap Dashboard:

Where you can see there are gaps between your disadvantaged students and their peers, go straight to the ‘Subject Value-Added Overview by Group’ to understand which subjects had the most significant gaps. You will also see gender gaps in each subject on that dashboard. As in 2016, each subject page will also enable RSLs and HoDs to see whether there are gaps in terms of gender and, critically, disadvantage

Then the RSL should organise robust Performance Management meetings with all Heads of Department focusing both on evaluating 2016 performance and on planning to make a difference in 2017-18. If a department is significantly under-achieving, make it clear ‘what got you here won’t get you there’, agreeing what is going to be different and when the RSL will be regularly checking up.

If you have not yet ordered your 2017 KS4 report it is far from too late. Download our KS4 data collection software from the Alps website at https://my.alps-va.co.uk/Go/DownloadADCS today and get cracking.

If you are an 11-16 school where the staff have no prior knowledge of Alps, or an 11-18 school where a refresher would work well, think about contacting Alps by phone or at training@alps-va.co.uk  to organise a KS4 Introduction to Alps training session.