St John Vianney is a larger than average Catholic primary school, with two-form entry, based in Blackpool. In March 2018 they were rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and their outstanding teaching of English and Early Literacy means that they are now one of thirty-two national English Hubs supporting other schools. They use PiRA, PUMA, GAPS and MARK (our free online assessment and reporting tool) three times per year, to support teachers in validating their judgement and identifying learning needs of individual pupils and classes. The assessments are used from Years 1 – 6, to ensure a consistent approach throughout the school.

Their performance is generally above the national average. The below shows the percentage of pupils working at the expected standard in 2018:

  • 90% in phonics at Year 1
  • 78.3% in reading at KS1
  • 78.3% in mathematics at KS1
  • 73.3% in writing at KS1
  • 80% in reading at KS2
  • 83% in writing at KS2
  • 86% in mathematics at KS2
  • 76.2% in GPS at KS2

What are the top three pain points that MARK has helped you to overcome?

MARK has helped our school overcome the issue of identifying where pupils are at the end of each term in relation to their ARE (Age Related Expectations). Most other solutions are limited to the Summer term, whereas MARK enables us to see if pupils are on track from the Autumn term. MARK allows us to identify where pupils are working below, at or above expectations, so we can ensure they receive intervention at the earliest opportunity to be able to get them to where they should be and allow those who are on track to aspire towards greater depth and mastery.

Since using MARK, we’ve also been able to adopt a consistent approach to assessing across school and through key stages. This has allowed our teachers to use the reports alongside teacher judgements at the end of each academic year to ensure the next class teacher knows their cohort without delay in providing essential support at the beginning of the year. This has allowed us to ensure intervention begins much sooner in the academic year than previously.

MARK helps us track our contextual groups (such as EAL, SEN and Pupil Premium) through reporting filters and having the ability to create additional groups. Group tracking has allowed us to evaluate the impact of interventions through the standardised scores and raw data which may not always be clearly visible via summative and formative trackers.

How much time has MARK saved you?

MARK has saved us a considerable amount of time through consolidating marksheet data and producing user friendly reports that help identify areas of need to ensure intervention is put in place. In the past, we have used assessments without graphical reporting abilities requiring us to create our own graphs. The reports are intuitive and easy to interpret, giving more time to teach and put appropriate support in place. Our teachers have their reports to hand at pupil progress meetings as they’re so quick and easy to refer to, along with their formative and summative tracking data, giving a clear picture for each individual pupil.

Data entry into the system is extremely quick and simple with the ability to stop and come back to finish inputting at any time. Anyone with basic IT skills can input the data with no assessment or specialist knowledge required – users have also fed back that the system is user friendly and doesn’t come across as complex.

Once the test papers have been entered into MARK, the reports can be run instantly without having to wait for them to be processed or calculated. Systems we have used in the past have required a few days or sometimes weeks to produce reports!

The MIS sync tool is a huge time saver as new pupils are added to the system during their MIS onboarding process without having to manually add each pupil and their contextual information. This also ensures MARK is ready for marksheets to be completed as soon as assessments are completed without delay.

Which reports do you use on MARK and why do you use them?

After completing assessments, the first report we run is the Group Listing report which provides a colour coded standardised score for each child, a concern indicator and the number of marks achieved per subject strand. This report is a powerful teacher tool to identify learning needs at a glance. We use this report throughout school, which also supports pupil progress meetings and helps validate teacher judgements. The group average standardised score is also very interesting when comparing groups. At a management level, we can use the reports to pinpoint subject strand weaknesses within classes and/ or year groups whilst being able to see a whole school progress overview.

We also run the academic year, class or group progress reports for the Spring and Summer terms to view progress between terms. We find this report useful for our own internal progress tracking but also to track our school’s progress against the national average which is displayed within the graphs.

To grasp how our cohort is doing against similar schools, we also run the academic year, class or group comparison report to see the class results vs a national average. This report helps us to understand the cohort ability nationally and will prove helpful in the future, such as when changes occur to the National Curriculum.

We have just started to look at the individual pupil report as we have recently discovered the predicted Hodder Scale scores and look forward to utilising this data in the future to find correlations with SATs results.

Can you describe your favourite things about MARK?

Quick and intuitive data inputting is one of our favourite things about MARK. Ten to fifteen minutes is ample time to input a class set of 30 marksheets without any specialist training or knowledge. Once the data is entered, MARK then provides us with instant, intuitive and powerful reporting with all the information teachers need to ensure their pupils learning needs are met and support is put in place. Reports within MARK are conveniently colour coded and only contain useful information that can be used productively – such as concern indicators, colour coded standardised scores and subject strand result summaries. We find MARK a convenient tool to monitor interventions and groups on a termly basis to evaluate impact, as pupils can be included in several groups without having to complete separate assessments. These reports allow the teacher and management team to track progress and performance indicators via the School Dashboard which provides interactive graphs for an instant overview on ARE for year groups and classes based on subjects. We often export these graphs to share with Governors alongside our anonymised summative tracking reports as they are very easy to read and understand.

Alex Smith, St John Vianney Catholic Primary School

Find out more about MARK and how our free online assessment and reporting tool can save you time