Magic markbook

10th March 2000 at 00:00
Lynne Taylor's step-by-step guide to assessment with free support materials on the Online website.

You've committed your selfschool to using ICT to manage assessment data. You've started to locate and gather this information and store it. What next? Recall what was said in the first of my columns:

"Be prepared to address and respond to the underlying issues that assessment data illustrates, as once you are aware of this doing nothing is not an option!" Our build-up of free support materials continues on our website under "Getting started - introduction". Here we look at methods of using ICT to analyse assessment data.

Hasn't it all been done for schools?

A sophisticated analysis of schools' baseline, end of key stage and examination results data takes place at the DFEE and in all LEAs and, with the exception of the early phases, these results are published nationally.

On the DFEE Standards Site, there is valuable help offered to interpret issues relating to school performance in "The Autumn Package" and is well worth a visit.

Used effectively, this summative key stage and examination data can, and does, have real value to help to raise standards in schools. Yet everyday teachers' professional judgements of a pupil's progress and needs is not about "a fraction of a percentage"I "in the upper quartile"I "of the mean"I "with a standard deviation of"I!!

Even the most expert statistician cannot make a direct correlation between these statistics and the ongoing progress, strengths and weaknesses of one pupil in various aspects of hisher education. If, however, meaningful analysis of standardised assessments takes place within the classroom, not only will teachers' judgements be enhanced but a direct indication of these summative figures can be found.

It is my belief that if a school focuses on the specific needs of individuals, an overall improvement of standards will result and this will reflect in schools' overall performances.

What analysis and how?

A data sheet showing a comprehensive set of assessment information, sorted by rank, date, age, gender, minority group, classes or combinations of these, gives teachers a new perspective of their pupils' performance. The ore there are, the clearer a teacher's vision becomes. Collate this information by classes, cohorts or subjects and even broader patterns develop.

Questions relating to individual pupil performance that might be answered through assessment data analysis include:

* How is a pupil progressing in a subject, across the curriculum, over a period of time?

* What can we expect this pupil to achieve in hisher summative tests?

* Where are his weaknessesstrengths?

* Are there areas where heshe is underachieving?

* Are there areas where heshe is near the boundary to a higher level?

* What specific targets shall we set?

For more information of methods and ideas to carry out individual pupil analysis visit the section on our assessment website called "analysing".

As indicated above, extend this process to whole classes, cohorts and curriculum areas and you arrive at a method of directing your curriculum development, driven by formative and summative assessment.

You will be able to address such questions as:

* Which areas of the curriculum are functioning well?

* Which areas need attention?

* What are our expectations in curriculum areas?

* How will this affect our assessment results?

For help on curriculum development look on our website under "analysing curriculum development".

Things to do before next month's Target Setting edition * View our web pages at * Get some ideas from other schools in our case studies * Download files and documents.

* Carry out various analyses using the standardised assessment data in your system. See our website for help.

* Print out and feed back simple reports to staff. (More comprehensive support materials for reporting, including those to teachers, governors and parents will feature in May's edition.) * Establish, from the analysis, which standardised assessment records are the best indicators for pupil performance.

* Make links with information in "The Autumn Package" * Begin to talk about target setting for individuals Lynne Taylor runs Cogent Computer Solutions, based in Kenilworth. Questions can be emailed to cogents@aol.comPrevious assessment materials can be accessed on the TES Online website

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