Using Digital Technology Effectively for Assessment and Planning for Progression

What is good assessment practice?  How do you set up conditions for success?  Where can tech help?

This collaborative webinar hosted by BSME, in discussion with Matthew Koster Marcon (Learning Ladders CEO and Founder) and Natalie Kaye-Aspinall (Assistant Principal at GEMS Wellington Primary School, Dubai) seeks to shed light on these questions.

Matt explains the Learning Ladders formula for improving student outcomes; bespoke curriculum design policies, tailored assessment policy, communication, sharing and reporting on student’s learning to create the continuous feedback loop necessary to have impact.

Natalie reflects on her school’s experience as a Learning Ladders user over the past two years and the shift from traditional assessment practices towards far more effective methods including involving the children in conversation and feedback as part of a wider process.

Tracking formative assessment data goes beyond providing an audit tool.

Listen to the webinar recording to find out how data can really be your friend as a classroom teacher and senior leader:


Webinar Transcription:

Michael: So this is a recorded webinar for using digital technology effectively for assessment and planning for full progression structure. So we’re really lucky today. We have got to two lovely speakers. Matt Koster Marcon, a former teacher and founding CEO of Learning Ladders and Natalie K. Aspinall, a teacher and leader and leader at Gem’s Wellington Primary School, to share their experiences and knowledge with us. 

Matt I want to thank you for watching the recording, slightly unusual on this one, so this presentation that I’m about to give was designed to kick off a sort of question and answer session rather than necessarily just CPD. So if you have any questions or you want to get in touch about any of it afterwards, then those are those are my contact details. What I’m going to cover in terms of the session today, I suppose, is probably the big picture. And then Natalie is going to go through some specific insights and tips from a school perspective. So I’ll try not to overlap too much. 

So just in terms of obviously using digital technology for planning, for assessment and progression really has to be based on good assessment practise, whether you’re doing it on digital technology or not. 

So what is good assessment practise? Where does formative in summative fit into it? How to set up the sort of conditions for success. Where tech can help and sometimes where it doesn’t? If you’re doing something badly, then EdTech will just accelerate it and do it faster and at scale. So there are sometimes some sort of pitfalls to tech and then some questions to ask when you’re thinking about tech and things that you might want to you might want to implement in your school. 

So from our point of view, I suppose just as an overarching theme, everything that we talk about at Learning Ladders, we always talk about great learning conversations. So everything we do is designed to try and start great conversations between teachers and children, between students themselves, between teachers in the staff room and between home and school. So that, in our view, is the good stuff and everything is designed to start those. So curriculum design assessment policies, communicating that, sharing that, reporting on evaluating it is all designed to be a sort of continuous feedback loop. And essentially, what we’re what we’re aiming for simplistically, are the key stakeholders in a school having these kind of emotions so that the child, the student at the top, simply knowing exactly what they’re working on, what they need to do and what comes next. They’re in control. They feel like they’re succeeding. They’re independent learners, they’re resilient learners, and they know what they’re doing. 

Teachers know exactly what every child needs for every lesson and have the tools in place they need they can focus on. Teaching is no more complicated than that. Really demystifying education for parents that they understand what children are learning. They’re showing exactly how to help at home and kind of take the stress out of home, learning by being really, really specific about exactly where a child is at any point in time. And then obviously from a senior leadership point of view, just quickly and easily understanding what’s happening, how to share best practise, how to manage interventions and that sort of stuff. So that’s our starting point. You hopefully will agree with with most of that. I don’t think that’s particularly controversial, worth probably clarifying principles of good formative assessment. 

So most of you are probably familiar with the work of people like Dylan William, and he talks a lot around these sort of guiding principles, which again, is very much what the system is is designed to do. So you can’t if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there. You have to know the starting point. So this great teaching always starts with knowing exactly where every child is and therefore what you can build on and move forward. So everything, again, is designed to engineer those effective discussions, to understand where children are and what’s the best way to move them forward. 

Now, you can do that with digital technology. You can do it normally, but ideally you would do it as a blended approach. So everything’s working together so that you’ve got the systems in place so that before a lesson, a teacher can understand exactly where the gaps in learning are, exactly where the starting points are for for the children, that in the lesson there are structures in place to help the children, help the teachers make those conversations happen, recall those conversations and build on them. But fundamentally, you’re also activating the students themselves as owners of their own assessment. Traditionally assessment has been something that’s been done to children quite often associated with we would assess children’s work after they’ve left the classroom and look for learning in exercise books and test results and stuff, far more effective to involve the children in their own assessment and get them involved in those conversations, get them talking to each other as well as part of a wider process. 

So we talk about those kind of things, some basic basic stuff to create conditions for success. And it’s worth just going back to these fundamentals. You have to have a bespoke curriculum and you have to bring it to life. So bespoke curriculum is not simply a long list of objectives, but it’s your policies relating to those objectives. It’s your teaching resources relating to those objectives. It’s previous work. It’s moderated work is team teaching is internal expertise. It’s external resources all captured within one system, a really, really clear assessment policy. So your curriculum is telling you what you want your children to know. Your assessment policy is telling you how you’re going to know when they’ve got there. So making sure that it’s really clear so the teachers can use it accurately at scale. And you need a simple system. Again, from my time working in schools, sometimes the theory is there. But if the system requires walking into the admin office, going through five different logins and then waiting for something to enter data into it, it’s simply not going to be used and it’s not going to be helping you. So particularly when you’re thinking about digitising some of this and using systems to help you, I would say one thing that we find time and time again, implementation is key. A fantastic resource, whether it’s digital print or anything else, is absolutely no good unless it’s used. So you have to have a resource that teachers are going to want to use, that they’re going to see value from. It is going to help them in their day to day learning and an assessment who often systems have looked like a scenario where they’re only used by class teachers because an email goes out from SLT at the end of term, I need to get your data into a system and teachers then sit there, they plug data into the system, but they know what the thresholds are. So that data then gets manipulated to hit the thresholds. All that data is a bit vague. It gets aggregated into a load of graphs and it sits on a a senior leaders shelf waiting for inspection. That process is just not helping, teaching and learning, so it needs to be fundamentally simple to use and it needs to be meaningful to staff and help them do other stuff. So use the systems in that way. 

Then get specific, how can you use technology around specific tasks that finding out about children’s learning, how can you use technology to help with that? So, for example, things like low stakes quizzes are really, really popular. Interactive homework, open-ended tasks that you can set through technology or work extremely well linked into one system will save you a huge amount of work as well. So those are the sort of fundamentals setting yourself up for success, if you like. And the other side of things that we find that I would say possibly a slightly less popular view is data is your friend. So in education, data is quite often seen as an audit tool. It’s seen as something to measure to better people over the head with and causes stress. And it’s really only done for those purposes. It really shouldn’t be like that. If you set your systems up properly, then data really is your friend as a classroom teacher. Yes, of course. There’s always a work load conversation when it comes to using an assessment system. But if you use the right assessment system, the limited time you take to enter information onto the platform, particularly if you’re doing it live, should repay itself in spades. So, again, Learning Ladders our bargain with teachers, as always. Yes, of course. You have to enter assessment data into the system for it to be able to do the analytics and stuff. But if you do that, then it will automate your parental engagement. It will automate your end of term reports. It will automate your data reporting. It will do homework for you. It will do self marking for you, will do all sorts of other stuff. So actually in the round, it’s saving you a huge amount of time. So think about data in that way. Be realistic about workload, but don’t think teachers are ever afraid of hard work. What they don’t like is wasted time that needs to be considered as a whole, a whole area tailor your systems so that it’s giving you meaningful information. 

Another big problem that schools traditionally have with data is it may be possible to tailor your curriculum. It may be possible to tailor your assessment policy. But if the fundamental algorithms in your system are not working and tailored for your school, you’re going to get erroneous information. You’re going to get edge cases. So in the context of this presentation, a lot of you’ll probably be in the Middle East and clearly the Middle East in terms of your different terms, structure doesn’t normally sit a third, a third of third across the year. The summer term is very disrupted by heat, religious festivals and all sorts of other stuff. So your reality may well be if you don’t get 50 percent of your work done by the winter break, in your reality, you’re behind. Well, if you bought a system from the UK, which is kind of slightly out of date and assumes learning happens, a third, a third, a third across three terms at the end of the first term, it’s going to tell you all of your children are significantly above expectation because it’s only expecting you to have done a third of your curriculum. But actually, in your reality, you need to have done 50 percent of your curriculum. And all that data is wrong. And that will not correct itself until the final day of term that all those children have been showing a significantly above all through the year suddenly kick in and potentially become below you really need to be specific around the data. When you’re using digital tools, they can be very, very powerful. But unless you understand the intricacies of the calculations behind them and unless your system is open enough to share those with you, you’re always going to be relying on a sort of black box technology that you may or may not understand and may or may not be giving you the information which is tailored to your school. 

So ask to see the algorithm, make sure you can customise it and make sure you can customise it on a subject level as well, because the way you teach and assess science may well be completely different to the way you teach and assess writing. So again, it’s about that level of detail. Once you’ve done that and you’ve set yourself up for success, then your system should really simply be able to let you share excellent support need based on data rather than guesswork. You can look at long term patterns and you can be really proactive and specific around interventions, particularly at the moment. A lot of schools are missing a lot of data for the last academic year. You can use your assessment data to plug that and predict likely challenges of school to, for example, just to show you some of the ways that we do it. This would be where the classroom teachers live most of the time. This is your simple Gap Analysis. It has the children along the top, the objectives. It has the resources embedded in there. And it shows you very, very simply where the gaps in learning. That’s your starting point as a class teacher. But if I wanted to start doing some more specific planning analysis, I can do things like looking at cohort performance across multiple years. So what I’m doing here in the system is I’m looking at my maths strands in here and I’m looking at how did the current Year six do when they were in year four? How did the current year five do when they were in year four and how have the current year for been doing? Well, the current year for we don’t have much data for. 

But when we’ve been looking at this information for our existing schools, you find some really interesting patterns. So for example, you may find that consistently year on year. If timetables is in your year three curriculum, that actually may be twenty to twenty five percent of children don’t reach the required level of timetable’s knowledge by the end of year three in your curriculum. It’s happened for the last two cohorts. So there is every chance it’s going to happen for this cohort. So get ahead of it, use that data, use that information to be proactive with interventions and say we’re pretty confident this is likely to be an issue. It’s been a more disruptive year than normal. We can put an intervention in there and get ahead of it and take the pressure off class teachers by identifying some of the things that are likely to crop up. So data really can be your friend in the area by getting ahead of stuff and you can use multiple types of data as well. 

So this, again, is some of the dashboard that we do around GL data. So you’re looking at your CAT4, your Progress tests, your internal data and your Pass data if you use it, looking at attitudes and learning, looking at trends, looking at how children are performing on a formative and summative basis, looking at really simple comparison. So this is a simple comparison looking at progress test data. And this is particularly useful when you’re looking at children who are stuck significantly below or significantly above on age related expectations. You can use the Progress data the summative data to kind of identify and pinpoint those children who may still be making progress. So the green dots here in the bottom left hand quadrant, these children here, they are all below one hundred on their on their SAS score. So they’re not quite where you’d hoped they’d be just yet, but they’re making progress since the last test. So that’s positive. That’s good news. They’re still not quite there, but they’re heading in the right direction. Fantastic. Conversely, the children who are in the top right hand quadrant here, they are way above one hundred on the SAT score. So they are high achieving children, but they’re going backwards. Now, that may not get picked up in your formative data. So by using the two together, by using systems like ours that married the two together and allow you to compare them really easily, this is the kind of information that you can pull out really quickly. So this then enables you to plan for that success and plan for that direction going forward. So these are the kind of things that we talk about. 

The other final thing that when we did the run through, the guys asked me to talk about a little bit slightly left field from from what we’re really talking about in terms of planning for progression and assessment, but really, really important if you’re serious about getting children to achieve more at school. The one thing you have to do above everything else in primary and early years is get the adults involved in their learning. Effective remote learning, as everybody is now discovered, is a lot more than simply plonking children in front of a worksheet or a computer system at primary level. They’re just not able to normally do that on their own. You need an adult there who can support that learning, but you need to create the conditions for successful remote learning in the classroom. So the stuff that we’ve talked about before, you need independent learners. You need them used to talking about their learning. You need them to have co-ownership of their assessments. So when they’re asked to be flexible and do remote learning, they know exactly what to do and how to do it, because remote learning is really, really important. The data tells us time and time again, if you can get Ladders at Home involved in children’s learning, it will have a far more significant effect on their success at school than anything you can do at school. And that’s quite a depressing statistic for it, for a teacher or former teacher. And parents want to help that. They want to help and they want to get involved, but they don’t normally have the support. So make it simple again, the way that we do in Learning Ladders. The parent portal does all the stuff you’d expect from a parent portal in terms of two way communication portfolios, paperless homework, we do pupil reports as well, but it also has specific resources to upskill parents remotely on demand at scale, and these are in over 100 languages. So for every single part of the curriculum, reading, writing, maths and science, from early years to year six, we’ve broken down the curriculum objectives and each one has supporting resources designed for remote learning to upskill the adults and upskill the children, each in over 100 languages that are available within the system on demand as well. 

So that’s another way that we particularly do it, and that just fits within the whole system. So everything needs to be in one coordinated system. Bespoke curriculum assessment, independent learners, teacher schools, parent portal then, all the analytics in a complete virtuous circle. Does it work? Yes, we are working with UCLA London, doing a research project at the moment, and we’re seeing some really significant results from schools that switch from a sort of traditional tracker, if you like, to this approach, saying typically around 11 percent increase in their SATs results within a couple of years and on a softer side sort of testimonials and case studies and stuff backing that up. So it’s worth the effort. It really will make a big difference for you.  So I hope that was useful. Like I said, we were not able to do the live Q&A now, so I’ll leave those details up. Do feel free to get in touch via that. And I’m going to hand over to to Natalie now. So there’ll be a seamless technical transition, I’m sure, as we do this. She’s going to talk you through a school perspective, I hope that was useful. Natalie all yours. Let’s do our seamless transition. 

Natalie OK, so thanks for that. My name is Natalie. As I said, I’m assistant principal at Gems Wellington Primary School in Dubai and we’ve been on our Learning Ladders journey now for just over two years and it did start when I met at one of the leadership conferences over here in Dubai. And you started to tell me about the programme and how it worked. And I think coming from a background in education at the starting point meant that the Learning Ladders system actually worked really well with the needs of the school. We had been using a system previously that was as Matt referred to very data led, not for the children. It was more just used for summative assessment, whereas we found the Learning Ladders system does really support the learning, particularly across the school, and supports the children. 

So in terms of my presentation, I basically just going to give you the insight of what it’s like from from my position, having used it in the school over the last two years. So things to note and does it work as a school based system and yes, first and foremost it does, I’ll talk through the functionality of that. Does it meet the needs of the children in the classroom? How does it work in terms of the analysis of data? And then finally, as Matt finished saying, how do I engage the parents? Because we all know that that’s a massive part of elementary and primary education. So the main thing that I say is that is really user friendly in comparison to other platforms that they have used in the past. It’s timely so it updates quickly. It’s not three days later you’re going to get the assessment you put in on Monday so you’ve got to do it a week in advance. 

It’s obviously web based, so in terms of access and updates, Matt and his team do and have been updating the system regularly in line with requests from schools and trying to really make it user friendly and the best experience possible. And one of the main things that we found beneficial is that we can add all of our teachers into the system, whether they’re a class teacher or a specialist teacher, and they can all contribute to a child’s profile, as it were. So if you’ve got a child who has special needs with the support or an EAL child, those teachers who take them for the extra sessions can still plot towards their attainment and progress in English or whatever subject area they’re getting help with. So as a new school taking this on board, the main thing that your your teachers will be using is the assessment system here, whereby they just select the class to select the term that they want and the the timesaver, as it were. 

Again, that Matt referred to in terms of you can actually do a bulk assessment. So you know that the majority of your class have achieved the objective after you have taught it and reviewed it and you’re confident with that. And in our personal school assessment system, we have got four assessment points. So the second assessment point being that the children have achieved the objective so you can go through and you can assess the objective as achieved. But all of your class and then, as we all know, will be those children who think didn’t quite get it. So you can just turn them down to the tick of beginning beginning to understand the learning. And similarly, if you’ve got any children who are working above expectations, they can have the third assessment point. Take the fourth assessment point, take something that was on there from Learning Ladders. And we actually use that for our children who are working significantly beyond Age-Related expectations, your gifted and talented children or in the maths context, we use it for the children who are able to solve the problems with greater depth. This is the bread and butter in terms of what you would ask your teachers to do. 

And the main point as well, one of the things that we talked about before we move to Learning Ladders platform is that it is completely customisable. And being in the school in the Middle East, you do have the UAE social studies curriculum. We have here. We have Arabic and we have Islamic, which all the state not on the standard national curriculum for the U.K. So it gives you the flexibility to add those bones in, as well as using some preset rungs that Learning Ladders has built in already. I would say that if you are going to move across to the programme, you do need to give yourself some time to make sure that you set these rungs up exactly how you want them to be before you start. It’s easy to create an excel and then to a CSV file which can be uploaded. And just spending a little bit longer on that before you start to use the system is definitely worthwhile. And something that I would recommend doing if you’re going to go with this with the programme. 

And another thing which I’ll come on to is you can add success criteria to the letters and you can add guidance for your teachers. So like the schools over here, by the way, you might be multiple form entry and you want to make sure that all of the teachers are using the same criteria because assessment is very subjective. And just to try and eliminate that as much as possible and the criteria that we’ve added to Learning Ladders actually helps us to do that. 

There is an option to add additional rungs for SEN children, so they will call the old p scales back when I was in the U.K., but they’re now referred to as psk scales. And we found those particularly useful for children’s progress, and particularly if you are in a year one classroom, because the Learning Ladders system does have FS rungs and does a brilliant job of looking at the new FS curriculum. But the FS curriculum doesn’t seamless go into the rungs for year one. So what we did was we added in the PSK scale for reading, writing, maths and science so that the teachers can plot things to help towards the children’s progress, which I’ll talk about in a little bit more detail the moment. And similarly, if you have got any children who are attaining above where they need to be, you can plot rungs in the next group. So that really helps again with their progress. 

OK, so what does that look like? Well, this to the left hand side, here is an example of what we’ve done for our reading scheme. Now we use a scheme which is called PM Benchmarking by Engaged, and we have married up that scheme with the national curriculum for England’s reading rungs. So here this is an example of what you can see. And we have got our school language of learning, which we call beginning achieved and mastered. And alongside that, we’ve said if you’re reading a book below level 10, then you should only be plotted as beginning for the objectives. If you’re on a book 11, you’ve achieved the objectives. And if you’re reading anything more than that, up to mastered will be up to level 14. So it gives teachers some guidance of should I give them a one tick, give them a two and again just in terms of consistency across the year groups. But that would look like you might have your own schemes that you use for maths or science. And again, you could put notes in so, so much of what you’re doing at your school, which has been really useful. And then to the right of the screen here was just an example of the Pass scores. But you cannot and if you add them to the start of your ladder, that will help to plot towards children’s progress. So, as I say, those children get one in particular. They’re not quite achieving the objectives yet. You still can plot things like, for example, on here I can listen to a familiar story for five minutes and it’s really useful for SEND and low ability children, enabling them to make progress throughout the year and not just reflecting on their attainment. 

So moving on to what the analysis of data would look like, we said at the beginning, we have got all of our stakeholders involved here. So we have teachers, specialist teachers and the heads of department are all involved in every single stage, whether it be the formative assessment or the summative assessment side. And the Gap Analysis has been one of the life changing parts of this. And it was surprising how many teachers and people weren’t aware of how this could be used to actually lead the learning in your classroom or within your group. And we do this every half term. So at the end of this half term, now teachers are plotting the marks. This helped him in the book. And then what we will do the first week back is we will print off the Gap Analysis to say what? OK, what is it that I need to look at and what do I need to plan ahead for in the next half term? And that goes again, goes alongside what the first slide showed us, which is the four assessment points. And teachers actually link their planning directly to the objectives that we have in Learning Ladders. Some people even have it in their WhatsApp group or just take a screenshot or a or a snippet of the objective that they’re covering. Then all this week, we are looking for this particular objective on Learning Ladders. And it’s really easy to then in, as I say, bulk assessment plot where the children are and then and then tweak from that to what is very much a full learning tool. 

Then we’ve got, obviously, the summative side of it and the assessment summary in this instance is one of the main things that the teachers use, again, every half term. But there’s no reason that as you as a class teacher want to go in and have a look at where they where your class are. You can go into it at any time. Referring back to what Matt said at the beginning, we have got a percentage of objectives that need to be covered every half term. And so the assessment summary, to be most accurate, you’re better off doing it at the end of the term, because by then the children have covered all of the objectives and we have it split as 40 percent for our autumn term. Thirty five the spring and twenty five for summer for the exact reason that Matt said earlier, being that the summertime in the Middle East, obviously we have our working hours and then the schools do tend to finish a couple of weeks earlier than the UK. So we don’t want to put the exact split and end up with 40 percent needing to be covered by the summertime because then you don’t have the end result that you need for the children in terms of attainment and progress. 

The Insight section is more used by heads of department, heads of year, myself and other members of SLT where you can get a more overarching picture of what the group or the subject looks like, whereas the teacher and the teachers at their level tend to just look more at the assessment summary because they’re interested in the children in their class. And obviously that’s their their objective, as it were, to get the children to where they need to be, whereas we’re probably looking at it as an overall picture of the school or stay within the group or the subject. And then what we haven’t started yet. 

But what I’m really looking forward to getting going with is the external summative data. And again, speaking to you, teachers in the Middle East with the external data of the GL, PTs are very high on the agenda in terms of the KHDA or wherever your body is. And they will want to know the external results and they use them as a measured benchmark for schools. So we need to do some triangulation between what our teachers are saying for that teacher assessment on Learning Ladders. And then also they have the results from the external judgements and triangulate together is now able and now able to do that on Learning Ladders. And that’s something that we’re going to focus on more next academic year due to the pandemic. Not only that, but I’m looking forward to getting started with that part. 

So that did show you a slide of the Gap Analysis now under the collar, so the traffic light colours, you can actually change the Gap Analysis to. And just visually, it’s clear to see which children haven’t started an objective or those who have achieved it and those who have mastered it seems pretty clear from the screenshot a three would be those children who have mastered the objective and zero, they haven’t started at all. And one, they have had some understanding of it, but haven’t done it either independently or they haven’t been able to and to complete it to a satisfaction of the teacher that they’re confident that achieved it and they remembered it and they’re going to retain the information. 

And the other useful part of Gap Analysis is if you go down to the bottom of the screen, you can actually put the total number of pupils as a percentage. And here it will tell you the percentage of children in your class or in the group that you’ve selected for Arabic and Islamic teams do this. And obviously we have Arabic, A and B and then Islamic and B, so the teachers can go in and select their group of children and see what percentage of children have started the objective and what percentage achieved it and what percentage of mastered. So we just look at that very first column here. That’s the reason there are two red because you’ve got not started and then you’ve got the ones who are working on it, achieved, mastered and say the blue that we use is for greater depth and understanding, which is something that they obviously looking particularly in maths and for those gifted and talented children. 

So the assessment summary, again, is more the your class teacher level, and they can go in and they can select the number of terms at the moment we are putting in spring 2 to just finish putting in spring term this week. And I can see here just by looking at the bands of colours the progress that’s been made now on Learning Ladders, the attainment is automatically built into the system. So a term on term, it will calculate how well the children are doing until it comes to summer, too. So you can see from this picture here that in autumn one, no children have mastered the objective, whereas in this particular class I can see by spring 2 forty six percent of the children have mastered the objectives in maths. And obviously that will continue to grow, I think going to summer one and then into summer 2. 

Now, this is a new addition as well, and something that we worked alongside Tom and the team at Learning Ladders to actually put in that. When we were plotting data, we were able to see the progress of the child has made in each half term, but we weren’t able to see the overall progress and that was something as a school that we wanted to be able to see. And I’m sure you’ll find it an advantage for your schools. So they actually listened to and built on the advice that the things that we ask asking for from a school point of view. And now we have the progress so far as aggregated progress, which you can see in the far right column. So if I look at any of the children here, you can see the progress they made in autumn one would be below. And then depending on how many objectives they hit, they’ve got mastery. They’ve got better with the expected progress and spring one. Then they’ve got their expected in spring two. So it actually gives you an aggregated amount. And again, that will change. 

Now, occasionally you do have those children who don’t fit nicely into the norm and you don’t get the profile picture that you necessarily want. For them, it tends to be from experience, maybe two or three children in each class maximum, and also tends to be those children who are working towards objectives or they might have special educational needs. And so we have been able to take off as many objectives in each term as we want to. So in that instance, we ask teachers to go to the teacher judgement page is just at the bottom left here. Again, this is just a screen snip. It will become clearer when you actually look through the platform. But for example, here, this particular child’s attainment has come up as achieved orange. But if I didn’t agree with that as a teacher, actually, I really think that they should be at mastery. My first thing from their point of view would be to get the teacher to go back and look at the ladders and look at the objectives that they plotted. And if for whatever reason, they’re happy, they think it’s exactly correct, they can make a manual teacher judgement. But what we have been very clear about is if you do do a teacher judgement, you must add a note to say why it’s not just I haven’t used the system properly. I’m going to move everybody up to mastered. We’re going to have outstanding data and it’s got to work in conjunction with the daily day, day to day and formative assessment. So if you do get those children, it’s not so much the attainment. It’s possibly more to do with the progress. If they’re getting less than expected progress in their assessment for example an SEN child, you might think they have made less than expected progress in terms of the curriculum that they’re supposed to be in. But actually, for that child, they have made strides with their progress. And that’s how we can use the psk scales on there and and the other rooms in the groups below. So I might say I’m going to move that teacher judgement to above expectation in terms of the progress. So there are some places in the programme where you can use your teacher judgement and make those tweaks if necessary. And the technology is amazing, but it’s not going to work 100 percent for every single child all of the time. And this is just a way of having an option that if you need it. But as I say, it should be used as a last resort and teachers should go back to the ladders and the rungs to see if they missed something off for the children before they go to that. 

Our teachers are really on it, and as I say, it’s two or three children, not even that. OK, so moving on to the next part, which is more of a middle and senior leadership level is the part which is called Insights.  So we’re in spring to so we’ve actually completed a full half terms and you can see the green section, which is really music to my ears from an SLT point of view. But the green section is actually getting bigger and the red section is getting smaller. So the children are actually making progress within the objective. So that’s what the attainment would look like. And then the progress, again, is built in behind the system and aggregated. But in this example, it shows you the progress for each term in year four. And you can see for spring two, which is the far right, that children are making better than expected progress and well above expected progress. And the red bit is going down. I would say you do tend to have a little bit of a fluctuation in the first half of the term. So the first two columns you’re looking at all autumn and then the second two columns you’re looking at are spring. You get a much better picture at the end of a full term than a half term. So be mindful of that when your teachers are going away and looking at it. And from our point of view, heads of year, head the department only. Look at this at the end of every half term. But it’s there for you to view at any point in the cycle that you wish just to keep an eye on it so you can see what’s coming up. 

OK, so that was a bit of a whistle stop tour of the assessment platform and other schools might find the other sections of the platform differently or work better for them. And that’s why it’s totally customisable. There was a report that you can pull off and insights and which you can obviously explore once you start your Learning Ladders journey. But most importantly, again, one of the reasons that we did move across the Learning Ladders was to have that parental engagement with the child system with a child’s attainment. And one of the quotes that I actually have kept and pinched from one of Matt’s really early presentations when when we first met at the conference, is that parent engagement actually improves results by 30 percent. So that is something that’s in the back of our minds all the time. And many other people have done research around that. And then particularly the younger the children of the bigger the impact the parents have to the more information we share with them, the more you have them on board. So what we do from our point of view at the moment as well, is every half term we share the objectives with the parents that the children are working on. Now, in this instance, you can have it. So every time a teacher clicks an objective, the parents are informed or you can have it set. So every half term, you send an email out to say, please check your child’s Ladders at Home. These are the objectives of this term. And we find that that works better because not every teacher updates it at the same time. So if you’ve got a four form entry class, you might have one teacher that prefers to update little by little with one week and you might have another class teacher that prefers to update at the end of the half term. And so some I found out that my child has already covered these. And the other parent, well, my child has covered that yet, whereas in reality they’ve all covered it just means that the system hasn’t been updated. So for us, it works better that we we send an update every half term with objectives. 

The other bit, again, Matt touched on, especially being in we are a British curriculum school, but we do have children from all nationalities here and obviously, particularly Arabic is widely spoken. We have some Russian parents. We have Japanese parents with us. And you can actually translate the site into their home language, which makes it really user-friendly as a way for the parents at home, rather than just receiving information in English all of the time. And because you can put it into your home language, you can also read the articles are much the objectives. And again, this is something you can kind of turn on or turn off within the tool for your particular school and something that as a school we want to do more of is have some articles actually put into Learning Ladders themselves, which we much what we do here is a school. 

And then the other thing again, which is something we haven’t used as yet, but it’s something that that we’re looking to embed is the fact that parents can actually access their children’s home learning from that. And again, the reason that we haven’t started to use this is due to the pandemic that we’re actually using Google classroom at the moment and everything is going on there rather than have the whole learning in one place and the assessment information is in another, but once we’re all back in school and we’ve returned to reality, we intend to use the whole learning aspect of the platform as well. 

So just to finish in terms of what it looks like, I’ve created this little character of Mickey Mouse just for fun purposes when I have been doing webinars and this is what the parents would say, it’s really user friendly, very clear, very simple. You can see here at the top of the number of learning goals started. You can also select the subject so the parents can actually click over and have a good reading. Or I want to look at writing or maths and you probably want to use that feature once there are more objectives on there. So it seems like that’s what the parents can see and there is flexibility here. 

So we have chosen to have it, whereas it’s a tick if the child has achieved the objective. But you can have this set so you would get a tick if the child has start at the objective or if the child has mastered the objective. But we felt that the best thing to go for here was the tick when the objectives achieved, and then it’s the teacher and the practitioner’s job to then get the child to mastery. And the time then indicates that the objective has been started, but they haven’t actually achieved yet. So that might be those children that are on beginning. And I think the time is quite friendly. It doesn’t look like they can’t do it or they haven’t been able to do it. And we just know that that’s something that’s in process and for that child to work on. So as I said as well, we were expecting to do this is a live conversation, so I thought at this point you’d be able to ask me any questions about our experiences or from a school point of view, what that would look like. So the first slide I’ve got my my name and Twitter account or get in touch with the team. They asked me if you’ve got any questions and I’ll be happy to to speak to any schools that would like any support or guidance with that. 

So thank you very much for listening. Sorry if I rambled through, which I’m sure it’s a recording, even pause and edit and play as you wish. And thanks to Matt for the invitation to join him on the webinar today.