As the status of assessment for learning has risen over the last decade, so has the demand for resources that help teachers use their day-to-day observations to drive learning forward.
Target Tracker originated around eight years ago when a small group of primary headteachers turned to Essex County Council for assistance in the process of assessing, benchmarking and targeting pupils against National Curriculum guidelines. This led to the development of Primary Target Tracker, a software package built around three simple principles: to make it easier for teachers to teach, to save teacher time and to help schools raise standards.
Nearly a decade on, Primary Target Tracker continues to respond to teachers’ demands, incorporating support for APP, and helping staff avoid time consuming calculations by informing on those pupils making two levels progress in the core subjects.
Feedback from teachers using Primary Target Tracker is very enthusiastic. Simon Waltham, a deputy head who takes a lead role in assessment at Notley Green Primary School, has been using the software for the past four years and continues to be impressed. “It saves me a huge amount of time,” he reflects, “and that frees me up to get on with the more strategic and creative aspects of my role.”
Simon’s school use Primary Target Tracker to support assessment in English, maths and science, although it can also keep a record of children’s work in other subjects. As staff enter data term by term, matching pupils’ performance against a library of “I can” statements, a clear picture of progress quickly emerges. “The program presents everything in an accessible format,” says Simon. “We’re able to produce tracking grids and graphs that show how children’s attainment compares to national standards. At a glance we can see a pupil’s or group’s current level, where they were last term, or even look back several years and track their performance over an extended period.”
In Simon’s view, being able to manipulate all the school’s assessment data so easily has had a positive impact. “Primary Target Tracker has improved the quality of conversations we have about pupil progress. We can select a group of children and instantly identify which was their strongest year, when they made their biggest leaps forward, which individuals have made the most improvements, how the boys are performing compared to the girls, etc. Then we can get onto the important part - why?”
It’s not just the staff at Notley Green Primary School who have benefited from using Primary Target Tracker either. Last year, teachers used the software to produce pupil reports, and feedback from parents was extremely positive. Simon describes the reports as “very succinct”, praising the program for “boiling them down to their essential ingredients” and “providing a quick and easy to understand visual reference”.
Primary Target Tracker is not a static product. Since its inception it has evolved considerably and continues to do so. “They’re very responsive to feedback,” say Simon. “You know that they’ll take your messages on board. Being able to phone the Target Tracker team is a great help. They’re brilliant, and usually have lots of useful suggestions if you’re stuck.”
In his summary, Simon points out that Notley Green has come a long way on the journey to being outstanding, and while using Primary Target Tracker is by no means the only reason for this, he says it’s definitely helping the school to get there.
Whether you need to improve pupil progress, keep parents informed about children’s attainment or present concrete data for your next Ofsted inspection, Primary Target Tracker can help you do this quickly and efficiently. Using the software, teachers can easily assess whether children are racing ahead or falling behind, and analyse the performance of different groups and individuals in fine detail.