Tracking and Reporting Update

Tracking and Reporting Update

It is clear from feedback from parents that there is some significant anxiety about the new qualifications. We are concerned that this could have a negative effect on students’ confidence and accelerate their anxiety.

Because of this, we have looked very closely at the information we are communicating with parents and students, reviewing what is helpful in these turbulent times, and what is not. Most importantly, our results from this year’s new GCSEs demonstrate that much of this worry is unfounded. This year, our students achieved significantly above national averages because teachers were well informed, up to date and had prepared students very well indeed.

To help parents and reduce unhelpful anxiety, we are going to heighten the importance of the predicted grade and direct parents and students to these when they want to know how students are likely to perform. Even with the new qualifications, our data shows that our predictions have a high degree of accuracy. These predictions are made based on all class performance, work in books, internal assessments, end of year exams and mock exams. They are also brought about by taking in our current knowledge about the new GCSEs, what we know about students’ attitudes to learning and finally a professional judgement about how the student will perform at the end of year 11. It is easily the most sensible way to assess how a student is doing.

Internal assessments, exams and mocks are extremely useful to teachers but we have found that they are not helpful to parents and students currently because they do not reflect how students will do in their final exams, in isolation.

Some students might be demoralised as they take some of the new style tests because of the significantly increased content which is being released by exam boards. A low score in a test will alarm students and parents but may well not indicate low performance overall because the grade thresholds will be lowered to ensure that consistent numbers of students will receive the new grade 4, who in the past received a grade C. This is a problem affecting all schools at the moment. Indeed, some schools have stopped attempting to track student performance altogether.

We are proud of our predictions and will continue to make predictions. However, giving more information in light of this turbulence is simply unhelpful and could distract teachers - and our children - from the main job: achieving the very best performance possible.

September 2017