The Easter holidays are approaching and, for teachers, that means more than chocolate eggs. They'll be starting their scheduled data input, ready for school leaders to analyse pupil progress.The data doesn't just appear out of thin air. Teachers will be looking through exercise books and markbooks. Pupils will be sitting end of term tests. This information will be gathered and submitted to senior leadership teams who will provide reports to parents.
Progress is easy to see - just look at the pupil's books! Unfortunately, this fact is often forgotten, with teachers becoming obsessed with data in spreadsheets.
The importance of accurate pupil data
For school leaders, accuracy is the key. Poor data is as much use as no data.
As a former headteacher, I needed my staff to be able to show the learning journey. I didn't want staff to provide data that was based on an 'assessment week' or an end of term test.
I wanted teachers to make assessments at the point of learning. I wanted to be able to 'drill down' to when the skills were taught. I wanted to know how pupils performed during the topics/units of learning, and the lessons themselves.
I wanted assessments with evidence that the skill had been taught. I wanted each skill to be taught repeatedly and in different contexts. Paragraphs, for example, shown in a history description, a graph accurately used during science.
Questions to ask about your school's data entry
As teachers enter their assessment data in the school system, ask yourself:
- is it accurate?
- can you drill back assessment to the point of learning?
Accuracy and transparency is the key.
Does your system allow you to drill back the evidence to the point of learning?