Skip To Main Content
Using Data to Support the Development of an Aspirational School Culture
  • Personalised learning
  • Schools
  • Student Engagement
  • Wellbeing

This blog is from one of our COBIS' Supporting Associates. Written by Dr. John Roe, Educational Consultant at Alps Education.

As a post-16 leader, I had high expectations for all my students and wanted to support them as fully as possible to help them reach their full potential. Value-added data analysis supported my sixth form in developing an aspirational culture and was a key driver for great outcomes. It enabled us to set targets for students and staff that were both aspirational and realistic, providing a clear direction for success and helping everyone to reach their full potential. In this blog, I discuss my experiences of using value-added data to support target setting, results analysis and the development of an aspirational, ‘can do’ culture.

1. Target setting

At my sixth form we used software which provided analysis of national datasets to generate Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs) that reflected the progress made by students in the top 25% of schools and colleges. Staff and students at my sixth form found the concept of these grades easy to understand and were motivated by the challenge of working towards outcomes that matched the top 25% of providers nationally.

We devoted time at the start of year 12 through tutor periods, assemblies, and information evenings to explain to both students and parents how these MEGs were generated using prior attainment from GCSE. To motivate and empower our students we would explain to them that each year, many of our students exceeded these challenging targets through hard work, dedication, and focus.

We were also able to set personalised targets, which students could be tracked against. This provided further flexibility when it came to target setting, allowing us the option of either using MEGs directly or as a framework for setting personalised targets for students that were even more aspirational.

2. Self-evaluation and improvement planning

Robust, evidence-based self-evaluation is fundamental to any improvement cycle. From our value-added results analysis, our senior leaders were able to effectively review the progress that had been made against strategic priorities from the previous academic year and establish new priorities for the upcoming year. When reviewing results, we found it useful for senior and middle leaders to consider the following questions:

  • What priorities have emerged in terms of subjects and student groups?
  • Were there any results / VA outcomes that came as a shock?​
  • How do strategic indicators compare with predictions from in-year monitoring?
  • How accurate were predicted grades during the year and is any training required?
  • Were outcomes consistent across different teaching sets?
  • Were intervention sessions targeting the appropriate students?
  • Do improvement plans need amending because of these results?

Using value-added analysis effectively to analyse results at a cohort, subject and student level supported senior leaders when making judgements on whether the curriculum was meeting the needs of all learners. It also allowed us to identify strengths and good practice which could be shared across departments as well as improvement priorities that needed to be addressed during the upcoming academic year.

3. Tracking student progress

When tracking student progress, regular analysis of assessment data and how this compares to target grades is key. The analysis platform we used allowed us to upload unlimited in-year monitoring data which including current working at grades, predicted grades (based on work completed so far), mock assessment data etc.  Whatever data is collected and analysed; it is important that providers develop a clear joined up strategy for addressing underachievement.  If a student is underachieving in just one subject, departments might take the lead in informing parents and putting in place appropriate intervention strategies, keeping key staff informed of the success of these.  If underachievement exists in multiple subjects, it may be more appropriate for pastoral teams to take over, communicating with students, parents and teachers to develop appropriate strategies.

The ability to track the progress of students throughout the academic year and to get instant value-added analysis was a ‘game-changer’ for my school. From analysing our in-year monitoring data we were able to quickly identify priorities with current cohorts in terms of subjects and student groups. 

I hope that you have found the tips in this blog useful and that they support you in developing an aspirational culture within your school.

Want to find out more about Alps? Book your free demo with us here