The Impact We Are Having
We want Trinity to be a ‘+1’ school. This means that we expect the average child leaving Trinity will achieve a grade higher in their public exams than would be expected if they were to attend a ‘national average’ school. However, as a new school we will not have any students taking GCSE or A-level exams until the summer of 2024 and 2026, respectively. How do we know if we are making good progress towards our ambitious aim?
As a school, we have bought into an assessment package that allows us to benchmark the performance of students against a national cohort in English, maths, reading and spelling. This package – provided by GL Assessment – allows us to compare our students against millions of other students who have previously sat the same assessments. These tests measure outcomes as standardised age scores (SAS) – an age-sensitive measure with 100 representing the mean average across the national dataset.
As of summer 2021 (the last time benchmarking tests were completed), there had been an increase in SAS in both English and maths (see table below). This means that the average child at Trinity had improved in both subjects compared to other children of the same age. The assessments also provide a progress measure – which takes into account the starting points of each child. Over 80% made expected or above expected progress at Trinity. This is particularly impressive given that the national cohort that Trinity students have been compared to predates the Covid-19 pandemic and associated disruption to education. In short, students are making, on average, significant progress within a single year in English and maths regardless of the disruption to learning as a result of the pandemic. Importantly, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with special educational needs, those with high and low prior attainment and those with English as an additional language typically make a similar level of progress despite being more at risk of falling behind during a disrupted year of education.
Reading and spelling tests are arguably a broader measure of academic progress over a wide range of subjects. The results of these tests measure the exposure to, and learning of, technical and disciplinary vocabulary and application in comprehension activities in a wide variety of contexts. Last year, students at Trinity improved significantly in both spelling and reading despite the disruption to learning as a result of the pandemic. As with the English and maths tests, students were compared to a national cohort which did not have any disruption to education, making the improvements even more impressive. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with special educational needs, those with high and low prior attainment and those with English as an additional language all made high levels of progress.
We are therefore confident that students are making strong progress in all nationally benchmarked assessments – validating our approach to curriculum design and pedagogy. We are also cautiously optimistic that we are on track to achieve our ‘+1’ goal. The next nationally benchmarked assessments will be in February 2022 (for spelling and reading) and June 2022 (for English and maths).