Published on: 16 Dec 2015

How can you make sure everyone gets the most out of the data?

Top 10 tips on sharing data

By Ryan Hibbard, Assistant Headteacher at St Bede’s Catholic Academy

If you’re introducing a new assessment programme, how can you make sure everyone gets the most out of the data?

Here are 10 top tips from Ryan Hibbard, Assistant Headteacher at St Bede’s Catholic Academy in North Lincolnshire, who has just introduced our Transition Assessment Package – a suite of ability and attainment assessments – to benchmark students as they arrive in Year 7 and support teaching and learning.

  1. Your staff need time. Make sure you give staff the time to get to grips with your new assessment programme and how they should use the resulting data to understand their students better. If you don’t allocate specific time to it, it won’t happen as everything else will take priority.
  2. Remove the burden of marking. Where possible, take away the marking from teachers. With digital assessments this happens automatically so see if it’s an option for your school. Instead, staff can spend their time on more worthwhile tasks, like analysing the data to inform their teaching.
  3. Ask for their input. Involve staff in the assessment process from the start. The ideal time is during an inset day or if not, in a dedicated staff meeting or twilight session. Ask what they want to get out of the process as well as any potential difficulties they foresee so you can address them as soon as possible.
  4. Make it relevant. Provide your staff with the data that’s relevant to them and their class/department. Don’t burden them with more than they need.
  5. Understand the lingo. Standardised assessment data has its own language – standard age scores, stanines, percentile ranks, etc. Staff aren’t always familiar with the terminology so make time to explain it to them.
  6. Know what you’re assessing. Knowledge of what you are assessing, what you’re not assessing and the limitations your assessments may have is key.c.
  7. Assessment is only the beginning. Enable staff to understand that assessment is just the start of the process and that it’s there to help. The next step is for assessment data to be used formatively to plan lessons and make adjustments, depending on need.
  8. Be open. Explain to your students what you’re assessing and what the data can be used for. With the tests from GL Assessment, our students were actually pleased that these were tests that they did not need to revise for.
  9. Assess all new students. When you’re benchmarking new students, don’t just focus on Year 7.  Assess all of the students who join your school, whichever year they’re in and whatever time of year they start. Previously, we were reliant on the data we were provided with but in a life after levels, it’s more difficult to use a variety of datasets. Use assessments that speak the same language for you and your school.
  10. Share information with parents. We shared the assessments’ parent reports with our parents and they liked the fact that they demonstrated that we knew a lot about their children so soon. They appreciated seeing which subjects their child was likely to excel at and which they might struggle with. They found it all very impressive. It’s nice to start home-school relationships like that.

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