Effectively tracking and evaluating your new Y11 (pt.2)

September 15, 2016
By: Becky St.John, Principal Consultant

As discussed in part 1 of this article ‘Data to avoid for your new Y11’ , for our new Y11 students calculating useful headline figures seems to be a problem.
However, there are many ways we can analyse the data to ensure that we know our students are making good progress without the need to project headlines. If we look after the students and departments, the overall performance measures will look after themselves. We need to focus on the small data, rather than the big data.

Let’s start by looking at useful data we have for the non-reformed subjects that will give us a good indication of how our new Y11 students are, in fact, doing. Note that the illustrations are taken from SISRA Analytics, but you can do all these calculations using any analysis system, SIMS or Excel.

Grade banding and point scores

The percentage of students gaining A*-A, A*-C and A*-G for each unreformed qualification, and the overall average point score for each subject are really useful figures. With the exception of English and maths, our Y11s are doing unreformed GCSEs, so for these subjects these figures can be compared to previous cohorts’ achievement. Even if you didn’t opt into Progress 8 last year, you know from your shadow data in RAISE how your school did on the new performance measures, so you know whether you need to hold firm or raise the game for 2016.

We can, and should, also break these figures down into our groups. Check how your Pupil Premium students are faring, or your students on the SEN register, and also break them down into high, middle and low ability students. From this we can get a good picture of where there might be issues.

Our department leaders can do the same thing for their classes, to really get to the nub of where there might be problems.
We can also look at how they compare to national achievement from last year, for example 90.7% of our Art students are assessed as attaining a C or above compared to 75% nationally in 2015.

We can then compare them to our in-school targets. The red box here shows that despite the fact that the % achieving C+ is above national, our Art department is still below target, because we are expecting 100%.

Transition matrices

The transition matrices that can be found on the RAISE website can also really help us here. If we compare our own in-school matrices to the national ones from last year, we can get a very detailed idea of how the progress of our current year group, broken down into KS2 sublevels, compares to that of last year’s national cohort. Again, for new Y11, for everything apart from English and maths, we are looking at unreformed GCSEs, so the comparison is valid.

Also, this is an easy way to check who the KS2 level 4 students are who are not making 3 levels of progress, or the KS2 level 5 students who are not making 4 or 5 levels, or look for the rogue students who are not achieving as well as the rest of their department, class or group.

Progress 8 – Ebacc and Open baskets

While the Maths, English and the Overall P8 score cannot really be calculated with any accuracy (see previous article), we can look at the baskets other than English and Maths, since for these we can compare like with like, as long as we look at in-school scores using 2016 points compared with national estimates using 2016 points. We need to be careful because the changing entry patterns may have some effect on the EBacc basket estimates, but not so much on the Open. This is also not an exercise just for the performance tables – if a student has a negative score for the open basket, they are not achieving the median score for this basket that was achieved by students with the same KS2 fine level last year – and they have the potential to do that.

Here we are looking at the latest predicted grades for current Year 10, Open basket scores. Overall, we are looking at a slightly negative progress score for the open basket. We need to investigate to find out where the problem is.

By looking at the student list, we can identify which students have negative scores, and investigate further. Remember that it might be worth comparing with 2014 estimates rather than 2015 for students with a KS2 of 5.5 due to the boycott effect. I would also suggest looking at who has an only slightly positive score as well, in case of inflation of national acheivement this year.

By looking at the grades in the Open basket for a student (basket 3), we can easily check in which subject the student needs support. Adam Ant is a 4a student but is only getting a D, which is 2 LOP, in English Language and Literature. He is assessed at D+ though, so he has a chance of pulling it up to a C with help. He also has a D+ for Spanish. The B at the bottom is not being included in the open basket, because it is a short course. Perhaps Adam should have gone for full course RE!

We can also do this for the EBacc basket, but as I have said, we should really avoid projecting P8 scores for the English/Maths basket for the 2017 cohort. So what should we be looking at for English and Maths for this year group that will mean something to us?

Threshold in English and Maths

(previously known as the Basics)

This is not points related, so we can very easily establish who is and who isn’t projected to attain it. We can’t compare the overall figure to previous year groups’ achievement, but we can use it to identify which students need help to get it this year. Achieving a ‘good pass’ in English and Maths is not only of benefit to the school performance tables, but also to the student. And if they don’t achieve it and they want to carry on to sixth form they’re going to have to retake it, possibly more than once.

Here we can see that only 56.9% of my students are attaining it. Who are they? We can create a list of which students are on track to get a 5 in English but not maths, and give it to the Head of maths, and vice versa for English. One thing to remember is that students only need one entry in either Language or Literature for their grade to be counted, unlike the 5A*-C including EM measure.


Let’s find out who is getting a good pass in the five EBacc subject areas, and who is not. Which subjects do they need in order to do so? In this case we can include English and maths, because the EBacc is grade based, not points based.

Here we can see that Chris Cornell is getting a ‘good pass’ (C or 5) in all subjects except English. So it is easy enough to pass that information on to the teacher of that subject. Since he/she is currently assessed at a 4 in that subject there is a good chance of him/her being able to move it up to a 5. Likewise Mariah Carey’s D+ in History or Geography.

Let’s get started!

So, as you can see there are plenty of ways that you can ensure that your Y11 students are making good progress. Just focus on the small data. Look after those pennies (students) and the pounds (headline figures) will look after themselves!

Becky St.John, Principal Consultant