Granular Tracking

What’s on your wish list for tracking as a class teacher, subject leader or member of a school’s leadership team? Chances are along the way you will want to look at:

1. Performance

Judge your own or staff’s performance in terms of progress made by their class towards age related expectations. And ideally compare this to how the same class did in previous years to get a deeper understanding of the challenges presented by that particular year group.

2. Progress and Attainment

Look at progress and attainment for various groups of children and whole classes.

3. Curriculum Trends

Pick out strands within subjects that can be identified as strengths and areas for development that can feed into planning and improvement plans.

And it’s the third of these that this post focuses on. Granular tracking.

What I want to be able to do is simply and quickly be able to look at, say Writing, see across EYFS, KS1, KS2 and the school as a whole and be able to find areas that we do well as a school and areas that need development. That is the key — being able to see that ‘Vocabulary’ skills are lower than other areas of grammar can quickly and easily focus school development planning, subject leader plans and individual teacher’s efforts. It can then be monitored as a strand over time and improvements can be monitored. That means good practice can be shared between staff and lesson observations, book scrutinies etc can all follow the same process and feed into each other with the purpose of enabling children to meet those o-so-tricky age related expectations.

Whilst you can do this in our chosen assessment partner’s system, Classroom Monitor, until now you have had to look at the hexagons of each class to see trends, and you can’t go deeper viewing trends easily for particular groups:

Now they have introduced a new module called ‘Curriculum Tracking’ that provides us with that simple and quick method of doing so. And it’s extremely flexible too.

Let’s say that I’ve used it to identify across school that Vocabulary is ‘a bit dodgy’ (it actually isn’t — we’re doing pretty well on that area but it was an easy one to pick to illustrate the purpose of this post!) I now want to compare performance across each class. The below table shows where a Y3 and Y4 class are currently, with their year group’s vocabulary objectives.

Now whilst I like a nice table of data as much as the next person, I actually prefer viewing something ‘nice and pretty’ in order to see trends. Then I can always ‘zoom in further’ looking at tables if necessary. It’s all about being able to simply and quickly do what you want. So can you do that? Why yes, yes you can. Literally by clicking this switch:

Then you get the same data presented like this:

This clearly shows that the main skills that need to be improved in Year 3 and Year 4. Forming nouns with prefixes in Year 3 whilst it’s word families for Year 4. Not particularly useful in itself but imagine if there were similarities across the majority of class. You could very easily as English leader or school leader focus on that area, lead CPD session, share good practice, or simply re-focus those members of staff who may need to do nothing more than devote more lesson time in order for that group of children to become more secure with those skills.

You can also (at the press of one button) switch to the view below that totals the ‘scores’ the children have got altogether. Another way of seeing strengths and areas for development across and within strands.

I could roll over the bars to get a list of the children in that bar present itself to make it super fast for me to look at potential interventions, re-grouping children in the classroom (if you group by ability) or who as a class teacher, I might work with over several days to boost that group’s ability within that objective or two.

I could have just looked at pupil premium children within those year groups. I could have looked at every class in school at the same time. I could even have added all the classes together in the same data selection and simply looked at each strand’s total score. A very quick way to get a snap shot of each area within a subject.

I could have looked at comparative years (ie when the year 3 children were in Year 3 last year — how did they do when compared with the current Year 3?) We could use that information to predict and intervene where necessary in the current Year 3, setting them up for an improved result in Year 4. But we’ll only be able to do that once we have enough data in the system (our first set of complete data was July last academic year).

I could I could I could.

I didn’t.

But I could have if I had needed to.

And that’s what’s great now. Simple. Quick. Useful analysis.

I see this being pretty important going forward and think the way it’s been introduced makes it easy (and this is key) quick enough that every class teacher as well as subject leaders and school leaders will feel comfortable (and dare I say enjoy) looking at snapshots of data in this format. Who doesn’t enjoy a pretty graph with the potential to give ourselves a pat on the back? Even if in reality we are pre-programmed to focus on our weaknesses!

If you want to find out more (I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface of potential with this addition to Classroom Monitor) check out this blog on the features.