We explore the potential of innovative classroom assessment methods, as well as the impact of major exam reforms

What PISA tells us about pupils from ordinary working families

Last week, we heard a lot from the government about their interest in children from ‘ordinary working families’. (For our initial take on the topic, see here and here.) In its new consultation document, the Department for Education has provided information on the GCSE grades and progress of these children – defined as those not [...]

By | April 20th, 2017|Admissions, Exams and assessment, Pupil demographics|

Are 19-year-olds really becoming less qualified?

Aficionados of DfE Statistical First Releases (SFRs) were shocked to their very core a couple of weeks ago with the revelation that the percentage of 19-year-olds qualified to Level 2 had fallen for the first time since records began. In the real world this equates to young people achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C [...]

By | April 14th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision, School accountability|

‘Ordinary working families’ are not educationally disadvantaged – those claiming benefits are

The Department for Education has published a consultation document on family incomes, pupil attainment and school attended that will either fascinate (if you are a data cruncher) or terrify you (if you are a privacy campaigner). For the first time, the records of pupils sitting in the National Pupil Database have been matched to parental [...]

By | April 12th, 2017|Admissions, Exams and assessment, Pupil demographics|

What difference does a year make? Part 2

This is part two in a series of posts exploring trends in attainment over time by month of birth. Other posts in the series can be found here. In the first part in this series we looked at how attainment at age seven – Key Stage 1 – varied with pupils’ month of birth. Overall, [...]

By | March 30th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Pupil demographics|

What difference does a year make? Part 1

This is part one in a series of posts exploring trends in attainment over time by month of birth. Other posts in the series can be found here. Dave Thomson’s recent blogpost about how attainment varies by month of birth reminded me of one of the reasons I first got interested in looking at the impact [...]

By | March 15th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Pupil demographics|

Putting Progress 8 in context

We thought we’d run out of things to say about Progress 8 but a couple of blogposts from Tom Sherrington and Jim Gordon last week made us realise that we hadn’t. Both examine, among other things, how Progress 8 scores vary by pupil and school characteristics. (Progress 8 is the headline value added measure by which [...]

By | March 2nd, 2017|Exams and assessment, School accountability|

The equivalence of A-Levels and BTECs

* Updated 3rd April 2017 following helpful feedback from UCAS* Last week, the Higher Education Policy Institute published a report on BTECs and university admissions [PDF]. It recognised that much of the increase in the proportion of young people achieving Level 3 – A-Levels or equivalents – by age 19 (see Table 3 here, XLSX) [...]

By | February 28th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

Multi-academy trust league tables: What can we learn from the data?

This morning the government published multi-academy trust (MAT) league tables, building on an approach it trialled last year. At a headline level, two thirds of MATs had Progress 8 scores that were below average across the secondary schools which they run [PDF]. But what does the underlying data tell us? In this analysis we’re looking at [...]

By | January 19th, 2017|Exams and assessment, School accountability, Structures|