School Data Updates

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What I think a primary tracking system should do

By James Pembroke / July 9, 2018 / 4 Comments

I talk and write a lot about the issues with primary tracking systems: that many have reinvented levels, and are often inflexible and overly complicated. Quite rightly this means I get challenged to define what a good system looks like, and it’s a tricky question to answer, but I think I’m getting there now. I’ve…

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VA Calculator: excel version free to download

By James Pembroke / July 9, 2018 / 4 Comments

With KS2 results about to be released on NCA Tools (10th July, 07.30) I thought I’d publish a link to the latest excel version of my VA calculator. This version, with pupil group tables for progress and average scores, can be downloaded here. To use the VA calculator, you will need to download first (it…

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Arm yourself!

By James Pembroke / June 12, 2018 / 5 Comments

A headteacher recently told me she’d been informed by her LA advisor that “only ‘good’ schools can experiment and do what they like when it comes to assessment”. This fallacy has been trotted out so many times now that it has become embedded in the collective consciousness and headteachers have come to accept it. Perhaps…

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In search of simplicity

By James Pembroke / June 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

I’m a climber. Or at least I’d like to be. Back in the day I got out on rock loads, climbing routes all over the UK. From sea cliffs to mountain crags; from deep-wooded valleys to wild moorland edges, I would revel in the light and the textures, the exposure and the fear; and the…

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The changes ahead of us, the changes behind

By James Pembroke / May 31, 2018 / 0 Comments

Stop the world, I’m getting off In the four years since the removal of levels primary schools have had to contend with a staggering amount of change to almost every aspect of the accountability system. No longer are pupils achieving Level 4 or Level 5; now they are described as meeting ‘expected standards’ or achieving…

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Test score upload and progress analysis in Progress Bank/Insight

By James Pembroke / May 4, 2018 / 0 Comments

Andrew Davey at Insight (@insightHQ; has been busy building a very neat, intuitive interface for the quick uploading of standardised test scores into Progress Bank and Insight, and analysis of the data. As stated previously, the aim of Progress Bank is to provide schools with a simple, online system that will capture any standardised…

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5 Things primary governors should know about data. Part 5: pupil groups

By James Pembroke / April 26, 2018 / 2 Comments

This is the 5th and final part in a series of blog posts on data for primary governors. Part 1 covered statutory data collection, part 2 was on sources of data, part 3 explained progress measures, and part 4 dealt with headline measures. In this post we’re going to discuss those all-important pupil groups. When…

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Capped scores in 2018 progress measures

By James Pembroke / April 22, 2018 / 0 Comments

The DfE recently announced that they would cap the extremely negative progress scores (but not the extremely positive progress scores by the way) in order to reduce the impact that such scores can have on school’s overall measures. This is a welcome move considering how damaging these scores can be, particularly for schools with high…

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Converting standardised scores to scaled scores

By James Pembroke / April 21, 2018 / 0 Comments

Many schools are using standardised tests from the likes of NFER, GL and Rising Stars to monitor attainment and progress of pupils, and to predict outcomes; and yet there is lot of confusion about how standardised scores relate to scaled scores. The common assumption is that 100 on a standardised test (eg from NFER) is…

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5 things primary governors should know about data. Part 4: headlines and trends

By James Pembroke / April 18, 2018 / 0 Comments

This is fourth part in a series of five blog posts for primary governors. Part 1 covered statutory assessment, part 2 dealt with sources of data, and part 3 explained the progress measures. Here, we will look at the headline measures governors need to be aware of. Inspection Data Summary Report (IDSR) Areas to investigateThis is an important place to start.…

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