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What does the data tell me?

Created on 21 May 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 08 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator


What does data tell me about children's learning?

In this strand you will explore what data does and does not tell you about children’s learning. You will consider the different forms of data that are available and think about how to set up a good system for recording and analysing the data generated by assessments in mathematics in your school. You will also reflect on the Assessing Pupil Progress process and how it could be used in your school.

When you have completed this strand you will:

  • know what data is available in your school;
  • understand what the data available at Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 can tell you about the way that children are learning mathematics in your school;
  • be clear about the characteristics of a good data system and how it can be used as a tracking system;
  • have reflected on what the APP materials can do to help the learners in your school.

What does the data tell me?

What data?

Data is widely available in primary schools and can be analysed to answer the question "How well are the children in this school achieving in mathematics?".

It would be useful to have a copy of the paper Data Data to refer to as you read this module.

Some data is ‘statutory’, that is, schools are required by law to use the assessment tools provided by the government, record the data resulting from these assessments, and make it available to government agencies. This includes the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile, the end of Key Stage 1 National Assessments and the end of Key Stage 2 National Tests.

Some schools generate data from optional assessments. Schools may choose to instigate systems such as using tests at the end of each school year to assess progress. Other schools may opt to use the Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) materials to enable their teachers to make consistent judgements and keep track of their children’s progress against the National Curriculum Levels.

It is important that the school knows that the way that they teach enables all its children to learn and make good progress. This is the accountability purpose of assessment.

When reading this module it is a good idea to also have a copy of Using data, improving schools published by Ofsted in 2008. This document outlines the sources of data and the uses that can be made of that data by the school and by outside agencies such as Ofsted.

What can the data from Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 tell me?

There are similarities and differences in the data that results from teacher assessment at Key Stage 1 and national tests at Key Stage 2. There are also similarities and differences in the way that this data can be used.

Think of three similarities in the
  • type of data you collect, and
  • the uses that can be made of data from teacher assessments at Key Stage 1 and the national tests at Key Stage 2.
Now think of three differences.

You may have thought of some of the ideas in this table.

The data that is available from the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments can be analysed in order to find out if all children in school are making the expected progress. The data will raise questions for you but will not provide answers. For example you may find that:
  • a particular ethnic or vulnerable group is achieving well at Key Stage 1 but not at Key Stage 2. You will ask ‘why is that?’ Perhaps several families have arrived at once and the older children are finding the demands of learning a new language harder than their younger siblings. The data has made you aware of the problem. Now as subject leader you will need to consider what to do to make sure that the needs of children still in the school are attended to.
  • a particular class has achieved less well than another class of the same age. Why is this? Do both teachers have the same experience of collecting and recording the data? Would some extra training help make sure that judgements are the same? Does one of the teachers dislike teaching mathematics? How can you increase their confidence? Or maybe the Foundation Stage data for the group attaining less well shows that they started Key Stage 1 with less mathematical skills than the other group. What action does this indicate?
As subject leader it is likely that you will be asked to analyse the data for mathematics and raise any questions that the data indicates, such as those above. Look at your Key Stages 1&2 data and record the questions that the data raises in your personal learning space. This is important to do as the data will indicate where you can focus your efforts in order to improve the mathematical outcomes for children.

What can the data from the EYFS tell me?

At first sight the Early Years Foundation Stage data can appear quite different from other data in school but it actually has many similarities with the APP process discussed later. It is collected over the time that the children are in their early years at school and teachers and Teaching Assistants record when the children show particular skills such as:
  • recognise numerals 1 to 9;
  • use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems;
  • in practical activities and discussion, begin to use the vocabulary involved in adding and subtracting.
If you are not an Early Years teacher then read the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Judgements are made against the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) profile based on observational evidence gathered from a wide range of learning and teaching contexts, and all adults who interact with the child contribute to the process. It is part of the role of the Mathematics Subject Leader to monitor that children are provided with opportunities to practise and extend their skills and gain confidence and competence in their use. Analysis of the EYFS data will be part of this monitoring and it will be important to look at all the data not just the mathematics element because of the contribution that all developing skills make to a young child’s achievements. A further important role that the subject leader has is to suggest activities to improve the curriculum, particularly if monitoring suggests that children are not developing skills in particular mathematical areas.

It will be important for you as the Maths Subject Leader to:
  • uncover any gaps in the teaching that the children receive or in the scheme of work as it is planned for the Early Years;
  • monitor the way that the children learn, focusing on any gaps that you suspect may be there;
  • know what it means to attain the Early Learning Goals and to offer ideas to Early Years teachers for activities to help the children learn and fill in those gaps.
Think about how you will uncover the gaps in EYFS children’s knowledge, understanding and skills, monitor their learning and offer ideas on how EYFS teachers and Key Stage 1 teachers can help the children fill in any gaps.

Record your thoughts in your Personal Learning Space.






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