Analyse School Performance with ASP - the latest school data system.

Do you know your ASP from your elbow? An introduction to the RAISEOnline replacement…

RAISEOnline is dead; long live the ASP!

And its smaller sibling, the Inspection Data Summary Report (IDSR), has usurped the Inspection Dashboard too.

I give it a year or two at the most before it all gets changed again. But for now, it is what it is, or it will be by the time it contains all the validated information. The format of the ASP (Analyse School Performance), our new school data system, differs somewhat from RAISEOnline and the fine detail is found by clicking online for additional pages rather than wading through the whole document.

So, it is important that primary school leaders, including those responsible for governance, once again ensure they understand the key messages in the data. I think most of the questions provided in last year’s RAISEonline are still relevant to the 2017 data, and this gives governors a good starting point when providing ‘challenge and support’. It’s mainly the ‘challenge’ though, to be honest. So why not dig out last year’s RAISEonline and copy and paste most of those questions for governors to use again?

The contextual information also seems to be missing from the ASP this year, with a similar table now appearing in the IDSR instead.

Interestingly (in the context of talking about documents full of numbers, school data system kind of way, rather than interestingly in a ‘Look! That dolphin appears to be wearing a jumper’ kind of way) that the prototype IDSR has ‘Areas to investigate’ on the first page instead of the (alleged) Strengths and Weaknesses we had in its predecessor, the Inspection Dashboard.

So now you know exactly what inspectors will initially focus on. These are given as three-year trends rather than based on just one year’s outcomes. The statements also seem to follow Ofsted’s guidance on considering statistical outliers with due care, so a school ‘weakness’ is no longer necessarily identified based on the performance of just two pupils who both happened to be left-handed boys; both born on a Wednesday and who both forgot their PE kit in SATs week but who both performed at or below national, out of a cohort of seventy-eight pupils.

Another noticeable difference is the lack of KS1 information. The IDSR contains just three pages and six tables of information, two of which are about phonics. At least infant school leaders can save money on paper and printer ink when distributing copies to the leadership team. Maybe this is a portent of things to come with the removal of statutory assessment at the end of the key stage.

At the end of the day, what matters is that school leaders understand the information, can compare their pupils’ performance against national performance, and use the information to help inform school improvement. It is part of the picture, albeit a large part in terms of accountability. It is worth ensuring that leaders and governors understand the new formats and can put the historical picture shown by the information in both documents into the context of what they know about current cohorts. Will trends be maintained, and where is the evidence for this? What about cross-referencing the pupil groups to analyse whether or not a high proportion of those underperforming boys were also mainly disadvantaged pupils?

And importantly, however the data is presented and whatever acronym or abbreviation it is called, whether it be RAISE or ASP, dashboard or IDSR, the vital piece of information we know will still be missing for a few more years is still attainment on entry. The Ofsted grade descriptors use the phrase, “From starting points…’ a lot. But it is nowhere in the published school data sets. You’ve probably heard that a few years ago Ofsted found that in 97% of self-evaluations, headteachers’ were claiming that attainment on entry into their EYFS was ‘below or ‘well below’ age expectations. So, make sure your baseline is accurate and that you have the evidence to back up whatever you say with a rigorous assessment.

As I overheard a headteacher say at a conference the other day, “I need to get my head around this data. I don’t want to do a Cleopatra and have my ASP turn round and bite me when Ofsted are in.”

Ok, so it was obvious, but it made me smile. 

Resources for governors

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