Are we adding value?

I met with a couple of colleagues from schools  today (one primary and one secondary) to discuss how we can make better use of the data we collect through our MIDYIS and PIPS assessment system from the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring based at Durham University.

We now administer these assessments for all children in P1, P3, P5, P7 and S2.  The S2 results act as very accurate predictors of how students will perform in their formal subject examinations in S4. 

Pauline Sales, our Research Principal Officer has been doing some outstanding work to allow us to make judgements about how groups of children progress against the national averages for reading/verbal skills as they move through our schools system, for example “Do children from one primary school improve, decline or remain the same against the national average after two years of secondary school?”  This data offers huge opportunities for school managers and teachers to better understand the impact they have upon children’s literacy levels.

The basic premise is that if we can develop this system further we can make judgements about how much value we add – or otherwise – throughout a child’s educational experience in East Lothian schools. It’s important to emphasise that this data is most useful for judging the progress of groups of children – rather than individuals.  Obviously the form of assessment that makes the most difference to the individual child is that of a formative kind undertaken by the teacher and used to support the learning process. We will be discussing this further with headteacher colleagues with a view to how we make best use of this data.