MARK: A Case Study by St John Vianney Catholic Primary School

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.

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NTS Assessments, PiRA and PUMA: What are the differences?

NTS, PiRA, PUMA, GAPS

After talking and listening to teachers, like you, about how we can help to make your life a little easier whilst providing insightful performance and progress data and familiarising pupils with the SATs, we are very pleased to launch NTS Assessments: our brand new termly, standardised, National Test-style progress tests for Years 1 to 6. As excitement builds for NTS Assessments (National Test-style Standardised Assessments), many of you are asking about the differences between these new papers and our popular existing standardised tests: PiRA and PUMA. We’ve written this article to help answer your questions. Continue reading →

Our new partnership with Groupcall Analytics makes GAPS, PiRA and PUMA data integration easier than ever before

Our new partnership with Groupcall Analytics

We are pleased to announce our new partnership with Groupcall Analytics, which will benefit GAPS, PiRA and PUMA customers using MARK, our free online assessment and reporting tool. This partnership with Groupcall Analytics will provide our customers with a time-saving solution for MIS data integration, providing increased options for enhanced data analysis.

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The Power of Pairs

Consolidating and extending learning opportunities with peer partner work in the classroom

Thanks to Ruth Duckworth, Year 6 teacher and Writing Lead, and Kate Sanghera, Year 6 teacher and Science lead, from Christchurch CE Primary School for the following article.

Some assessments focusing on pupils’ ability to ‘speak and listen’ effectively have diminished recently – especially with the reduction in teacher assessments required to be reported at the end of key stage two.  This should not mean, however, that we begin to lose sight of the valuable contribution which paired oral language opportunities, work tasks and challenges, as well as peer assessments can make in both consolidating and moving on children’s learning.  The benefits of mixed-ability paired groupings can be particularly effective for all learners.

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New partnership between our standardised tests and Arbor’s cloud-based MIS

We are delighted to announce the new partnership between our standardised tests for primary schools and Arbor’s cloud-based MIS for schools & MATs.

Our standardised tests for primary schools

Our standardised tests, PiRA and PUMA, are a key component of many primary school improvement strategies, helping key stakeholders to track pupils’ in-year progress and benchmark against age-related expectations.

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The effects of age, gender and school type of primary maths and reading attainment

From Katie Blainey, Publishing Director, RS Assessment from Hodder Education

Thousands of primary schools are now using PiRA and PUMA to get rich termly data that highlights pupils’ strengths and weaknesses, which helps support tailored teaching and learning throughout primary school years. In the last few years MARK (My Assessment and Reporting Kit) has become an increasingly popular support for schools to enter their test results and quickly analyse data for pupils, classes and the whole school. As the number of results in the MARK database increased we wanted to see if any trends were emerging at an aggregated level, as we know large data sets of this size are rare.

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Challenging ‘Behaviour Policies’: Misunderstood, inappropriate and unfair

I believe that proper assessment would reveal that these children have a range of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) problems that are the real cause of their misbehaviours.

Thanks to Rob Long, educational psychologist and author of SNAP-B, for the following article.

Recently I attended a meeting on school exclusions where clear evidence was presented which highlighted there are certain ‘at risk’ groups that are more likely to be excluded. For me this reinforced the article I had read by J O’Brian in which he suggested that there is a systemic bias in the education system against certain ethnic groups.

With this thought in mind I began to wonder if there is a similar bias to explain why children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) or Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) statements are also a vulnerable group to being excluded as the data suggests that they are higher than other non-disabled groups on exclusions.

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SENCO or Superhero – how on earth can any one person even start to do it all?

At first glance, the key issues related to SEN support and provision seem overwhelming. It gets worse at second glance, and the third … Small wonder so many schools find recruitment so hard for this role.

Thanks to Charles Weedon, educational psychologist and author of Special Needs Assessment Profile (SNAP) SpLD and SNAP-B, for the following article.

Who are they, who should they be?

The SENCO is the only role in a school that must be a qualified teacher and have a post-graduate qualification (unless they were in post before 1 September 2009). As a SENCO, you’re responsible for some of the most challenging pupils in a school – at the same time you’re at the confluence, the crunch point, for an ever-increasing barrage of expectations and demands.

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The most common SpLDs found in the classroom: How identification and intervention can remove barriers to learning

By identifying and minimising the barriers to learning, the child can feel more comfortable in the learning situation and will usually respond more effectively to the intervention offered.

Thanks to Gavin Reid, educational psychologist and author of Special Needs Assessment Profile (SNAP) SpLD, for the following article.

 

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs)

In every classroom in every school there will be a considerable number of children experiencing some form of specific learning difficulty. These can include: literacy difficulties (dyslexia), movement and coordination issues (dyspraxia), numeracy problems (dyscalculia), handwriting issues (dysgraphia), speech and language problems (Specific Language Impairment) and auditory processing difficulties (APD).

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Ofsted and the 2019 Framework: Paradigm Shift or Cosmetic Respray?

In September 2019, the Ofsted inspection framework will change, but what does that mean for assessment?

Thanks to John Dabell, trained teacher and former Ofsted inspector, for the following article.

Although work is ongoing, and Ofsted is still preparing for the 2019 changes, there are some signs we can draw on which help shed some light on what the future holds.

Ofsted strategy: 2017-2022

Ofsted reminds us in it 2017-2022 strategy that everything it does is first and foremost to champion the interests of children and students, acting as a ‘force for improvement through intelligent, responsible and focused inspection and regulation.’  It also tells us that it is nimble and adaptable to change and does not have preferred styles of teaching. Continue reading →