When the government announced that levels were being dumped, some teachers did the can-can, some did their level best to keep a straight face, and others wondered how on earth you work out if children are on track without them. Levels may not have been universally popular, but they did at least provide a common language and approach.
Recognising this problem, over 40 schools in Sheffield – that fine city of creativity – decided to do something about it to lower the risk to their children. School leaders, practitioners and the local authority all recognised that a life without levels could impact on consistency and partnerships across the area, so they joined forces to develop School Tracking and Assessment Tools (STAT) to support assessment and planning for children at all stages of attainment. It can be used throughout the year to identify pupils’ strengths and holes in their understanding, which helps teachers ensure their planning is pitched precisely to children’s appropriate next steps in learning. It also allows you to spot those who are falling behind or need additional support to reach their full potential.
STATonline makes it possible to get excited about data. No really, it does! It contains planning and assessment grids with all the objectives from the national curriculum, so you can make judgements about the depth of children’s learning, scrutinise gaps and evaluate skills across all primary areas. Assessment and tracking grids include KS1/2, Key Concepts, Delayed Development, English as a Second Language, SEN (P-Scales) and Early Years Foundation Stage. These allow you to know where individuals and groups of pupils are in their learning, whether they are on track and how much progress has been made.
If you prefer a ‘less is more’ approach, you can also use key concept grids to measures the extent of learning through the assessment of fewer objectives in greater detail. This sophisticated system moves well beyond old-style levels. The key statements are structured into themes and can be used to gauge a child’s learning in each year group in reading, writing and maths against descriptors based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. This allows for greater attention on children’s learning behaviours.
STATonline provides statement descriptors that line up with the planning and assessment grids. Key objectives are exemplified so you can understand content irrespective of assessment approach. The grids also include key performance indicators that children must master before they can move on.
Point in Time Assessment (PITA) helps you make a decision on a child’s current stage of development and enables all staff to better appreciate where efforts need to be positioned in order to attend to underachievement.
There are a number of key features and unique selling points that make STATonline ‘the one’. Reporting your data is simple because you can select from preset contextual, attainment, progress and pupil reports, or create your own reporting filters with the STATonline filter management tool. It supports formative and summative assessment practices and can be tailored to your school’s needs. Judgements can be inputted efficiently by year, class, group or individual pupils. For me, the live tracking feature means the most, because it allows you to carry out assessment in real-time, so you can record and assess pupil data whenever you want or need to.
While you will need training to use STATonline to its full potential, the user guide is clear, visual and friendly and is there to help you make sense of everything. It explains how to set entry and target sets for a specific class, year group or subject. There are also lab exercises for inputting data, creating and editing bespoke groups and signing off term data.
STATonline is highly personalised and bursts with efficacy. It enables teachers to create a rapid, reliable and meaningful portrait of possible attainment, which in turn makes planning far more perceptive. It’s packed with features that make assessment comprehensible and workloads more manageable. Using it means you can feel safe and secure again, as you will be able to confidently analyse attainment and progress and identify gaps in learning.