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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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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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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3 ways to reduce unnecessary workload with standardised tests

Katie_Blainey_standardised_reduce_workloadPublishing Director, Katie Blainey, explores unnecessary workload and how using standardised tests can save you heaps of valuable time!

It may sound unintuitive that an increase in testing can ultimately reduce workload for teachers and increase pupils’ learning, but it is worth considering. Increasingly, primary schools, secondary schools and MATs are adopting standardised tests across the school to support informed teaching and save time. Here are just 3 reasons why…

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How have our Optional Tests helped Primary children and teachers?

Optional_Tests_SATs_StyleAs the Summer term nears its end, our Assessment Publisher, Cerys Hadwin-Owen, takes the time to reflect on how using our Optional Tests this term has helped Primary children and teachers.

Our Optional Tests are written and edited by primary subject experts, many of whom have experience of working directly with the Department for Education on the current National Test papers. They have all been primary classroom teachers themselves, with many still holding teaching and leadership positions in schools across the country.

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Planned changes to accountability and why standardisation is more important than ever

James Pembroke is back with another blog, and this time he’s talking all about the planned changes to accountability and why this means that standardisation is more important than ever!

Standardisation_assessmentFor as long as most of us can remember, the progress of pupils in primary schools has been measured from Key Stage 1. Prior to 2016 we had a mixed economy of a levels of progress measure – where making two levels of progress across Key Stage 2 was defined as ‘expected’ – and a value added (VA) measure, in which each pupil’s score at key stage 2 was compared to the national average score of pupils with similar Key Stage 1 prior attainment. This dual approach to measuring progress was confusing because the two measures did not relate to one another. In fact, they were often at odds, and it was entirely feasible for a school to have all pupils make the expected progress of two levels and yet end up with a VA score that was significantly below average. Something had to give.

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