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, science, reading and spelling. This package – provided by GL Assessment – allows us to compare our students against thousands 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. The assessment tool also provides an ‘indicative GCSE outcome’.
The table below shows the latest SAS and indicative GCSE grades for our Year 10 students (our oldest year group), compared to their first assessments when starting at Trinity.
The results suggest that our students are making, on average, significant progress across all three subjects, regardless of any 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 the disrupted years 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. Since starting at Trinity, our Year 10 students have improved in both spelling and reading despite the disruption to learning as a result of the pandemic.
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 2023 (for spelling and reading) and July 2023 (for English, maths and science).
Alongside external benchmarking, we also operate a highly structured internal assessment process. All subjects with a written component sit termly (Autumn, Spring and Summer) assessments in an Assessment Week. To allow for valid comparisons, students sit the same assessments at the same time. Student performance of individuals and groups of students is then carefully monitored. The school holds a half day INSET after each Assessment Week to give staff the time to look at what students know and don’t know and to alter curriculum plans accordingly. From this system, we have evidence to suggest that our most vulnerable groups of students – such those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with English as an additional language and those with SEND – are at least keeping pace with their peers and, in some cases, are making greater progress.