Case Study Marshfield Primary School

Before School Progress Assessment Software was introduced to Early Years at Marshfield, the teachers had three methods of data collection; written descriptions of observations, photographs and EYFS statements highlighted to indicate the child’s assessment. All this information was then gathered together into a large folder ‘Learning Journey Portfolio’ for each child. When making assessment judgements all the gathered information had to be scrutinised again and relevant assessment scores had to be manually inputted into an excel spreadsheet. Many hours of work during and after school were required by teachers to keep the ‘Portfolios’ up to date.

 

 

This highly time-consuming, tedious method contributed to many anomalies due to human error in the paper trail. As a result pupil’s assessment scores were on occasions inaccurate, which meant further work in correcting them and cross referencing all paperwork to the EYFS framework. Furthermore, as the evidence used was taken from a range of sources, the process of checking the evidence to find the true assessment score took a great deal of time. Moderation of pupil’s work within cohorts showed inconsistencies in the levels of assessment because of the paper trawl involved which led to many mistakes. Teachers working with children found that choosing the next steps in learning were difficult to define because they had to recheck so much prior paper evidence.

Teachers were complaining they were “drowning under a sea of paperwork.”

 

This highly time-consuming, tedious method contributed to many anomalies due to human error in the paper trail. As a result pupil’s assessment scores were on occasions inaccurate, which meant further work in correcting them and cross referencing all paperwork to the EYFS framework. Furthermore, as the evidence used was taken from a range of sources, the process of checking the evidence to find the true assessment score took a great deal of time. Moderation of pupil’s work within cohorts showed inconsistencies in the levels of assessment because of the paper trawl involved which led to many mistakes. Teachers working with children found that choosing the next steps in learning were difficult to define because they had to recheck so much prior paper evidence.

Teachers were complaining they were “drowning under a sea of paperwork.”

 

Impact of School Progress Assessment Software

 The Individual Child Tracker which incorporates the Observation Function has replaced the Learning Journey Portfolio enabling photographs and descriptions of learning activities to be saved in the Observation Record and used regularly to support assessment judgements.  Each pupil has an Individual Child Tracker, which tracks progress across 17 Areas of Learning.  When the Individual Tracker is updated with assessment scores, the Assessment and Progress Trackers are automatically updated with the same data.

 All statements from Early Years Development Matters can be viewed here including the Next Steps –Positive Relationships and Enabling Environments. To exemplify these next steps, School Progress have written Suggested Activities to aid teachers and support staff with personalised planning. These features and more have replaced the paper trail.

Gathering the evidence of pupil’s work in photographs and descriptions electronically then uploading into the software with the use of portable devices e.g.(iPads mini) has made assessment much easier and more accurate. Now all records of observation, assessment, recording and reporting can now be saved automatically. Assessment has become more a part of the teaching and learning process and not a separate activity. Teachers have found the software easy to use, quick to enter the assessment data and easy to interpret the progress trackers. They are pleased with the colour coded system used on all the trackers which accurately displays the pupil progress from entry.

Teachers meet on a regular basis to moderate and discuss pupil progress with more confidence in their methodology. Evidence to back up their judgements is much easier to access and confirm accurate pupil assessment. Pupil Progress meetings are much improved in terms of the ease of identifying the individuals and specific pupil groups that require intervention by using the trackers and analytical tools built into the software.

 

Headteachers and the management team can adopt Administrator rights over the system so they can view all data from each class. The managers can scrutinise all elements of assessment for all classes, vulnerable groups and individuals within the system with ease. This management tool gives the school leaders a comprehensive overview of all assessment data in the system and also the opportunity to use the analytical tools in their role, particularly in preparation for Ofsted, Governor’s, Staff  and Parent’s meetings.

Comments from Teachers and Assistants                          

“It’s hard to explain how much this software has changed my role. Instead  of spending six hours or more per week printing, cutting, collating and sticking evidence into the learning journeys. I can now spend that time doing my real job, assessing and planning the next steps for my children. Assessment time is no longer dreaded as it is a continuous process of compiling each child's evidence onto the software. "                                                                                   

Teacher at Marshfield Primary School

 

“When we were first informed we would be using School Progress software I was very nervous about the technology as I am not very confident with computers. However I have found the programme very simple to use and I very quickly became confident using it. School Progress has made observing, assessment and planning next steps much clearer. It also makes class data more accessible for comparing groups within the class and cohort.”                

 Teaching Assistant at Marshfield Primary School