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. The tests have become even more crucial for MATs recently, as central teams at growing Trusts need the ability to monitor and support school improvement across multiple schools and get an overview of whole MAT performance. Our free online assessment and reporting kit, MARK (My Assessment and Reporting Kit), plays a pivotal role in providing time-saving analysis of these test results.

Arbor’s MIS for schools & MATs

Arbor’s cloud-based MIS helps to transform the way schools and MATs work, by putting essential data at the fingertips of senior leaders, teachers and office staff, and by automating and simplifying administrative tasks to reduce staff workload. At a MAT level, Arbor MIS centralises not just data reporting, but operations and communications, too. It helps MATs to manage and support their schools all from just one system.

Our new partnership

Our partnership with Arbor brings together, for the first time, the power of their simple and smart cloud-based MIS with the results of PiRA and PUMA tests for schools and MATs. Later this year, schools and MATs using Arbor and tracking PiRA and PUMA test results in MARK will be able to:

  • Automatically sync pupil data directly from Arbor MIS to MARK, with no need for data downloads and upload
  • Automatically sync results from PiRA and PUMA tests back to Arbor MIS for MATs, so central teams can get an aggregated view of results across all their schools
  • Allow senior leaders at schools and MATs to use Arbor MIS to take action on their results – for example, by setting up intervention groups, or by building custom reports combining data from their PiRA and PUMA test results and Arbor MIS

We have worked on this partnership with Arbor in collaboration with REAch2 Multi-Academy Trust, to ensure it works just as seamlessly for MAT leaders as it does for individual primary schools.

To learn more about how we can support your school or MAT, contact Arbor on 0208 050 1028 or email You can also meet Arbor and members of the RS Assessment team at BETT 2019, stand C65.

A White-Knuckle Ride in the Changing Face of Primary Curriculum and Assessment

At this year’s BETT Show Peter Richardson, Assistant Head teacher at Walton-le-Dale Primary School, gave an insightful talk about his school’s journey through the new curriculum and changes in primary assessment. Here’s a quick summary from Peter.

  • When developing a system to measure progress against the new curriculum, avoid trying to recreate another flawed system of levels. This is an opportunity to create something better!
  • We find that having one assessment system that can be used by teachers andsubject leaders as a ‘one stop shop’ for assessment data really works.
  • The new curriculum has brought with it brand new challenges, but there are free tools available to help in terms of new curriculum content and demand. The Rising Stars Progression Frameworkswhich support teachers by breaking down the curriculum into meaningful statements with guidance on what to look for in a child who is meeting expectations, have given teachers more confidence with the new curriculum and have led to more accurate and robust teacher assessments.
  • There are tools out there that can save schools time, but these must support teacher judgement. We’ve chosen to use Classroom Monitor because it’s easy-to-use, time-efficient, provides high-quality analysis and uses the Rising Stars Progression Frameworks.
  • Test results should be used as one piece of evidence to support teacher judgements. We choose to use Rising Stars Assessment Progress Testsas they inform our teacher assessments and we trust their results. They also inform our teachers’ planning and direction to take learning without resorting to ‘teaching to the test’.
  • We choose to invest in resources from companies that we can trust, like Rising Stars.  We believe they are a company who produce expertly-written, easy-to-use resources that fit the needs of our school and ultimately, have the interests of improving learning for children at their core. Continue reading →

The Depth vs. Breadth Challenge – Assessing Pupil Knowledge in the New Curriculum

At the BETT show this year, Rising Stars and Classroom Monitor joined forces to assemble a panel of experts to discuss the New Curriculum, Mastery and its implications on Assessment.

The debate was chaired by Chris Scarth, Commercial Director of Classroom Monitor and the panel was made up of:

Ed Walsh: Lead consultant for science at Cornwall Learning

Shareen Mayers: Primary English Adviser for Sutton Improvement and Support services

Ben Fuller: Joint Lead Assessment adviser at Herts for Learning Ltd,. Former primary school teacher and local authority adviser for assessment.

Tanya Parker: who has worked as a consultant at a number of different education technology companies including Classroom Monitor and was a primary teacher with responsibility for assessment and maths.

Some sizeable issues were dissected during the debate and our panel offered some really interesting and practical perspectives on how teachers can approach mastery and assessment in a world free from levels.

The first point of discussion was around the depth vs breadth debate. Chris Scarth questioned whether focusing on fewer things in greater depth was intrinsically linked to mastery.

Ben suggested that finding a balance between the two could be a more useful way of approaching mastery, commenting: I would say that in really good schools teachers always go for depth and breadth, helping students take knowledge and applying it in a range of different contexts.”

The conversation then moved on to question whether mastery could lead to repetitive teaching. However, Shareen offered a positive and practical approach that would avoid this pitfall, suggesting that teachers could approach one concept in a variety of ways. Continue reading →