In light of the recent announcement that Ofstedwill focus less on exam results and place emphasis on the quality of teaching, it’s more important than ever that Multi-Academy Trusts – MATs – are spending their time on creating a rich curriculum learning rather than data crunching. Today, there are 1532 MATsthroughout the UK and this number is expected to continue to grow. Data analysis is one of the most important measurers within MATs. On a student level, a Management Information Systems (MIS) allows teachers to pinpoint individual student progression and monitor attainment or behaviour. On a school level it aggregates data to highlight overall performance and benchmark nationally.
From September 2019, inspectors will want to see the assessment information MATs use to understand how pupils are performing and, crucially, what MATs do with the information to support better pupil achievement. One factor central to this change in approach is the necessity for a robust, reliable data system.Having a robust IT system in place allows easy access of information enabling MATs to easily extract and manipulate data. This assures the best possible outcomes for learners and enables schools to implement interventions and evidence effectiveness during Ofsted inspection.
The Power of Big Data
Historically, data used in schools tended to be based around personal information, contact details and attendance information. Now, data has become more contextual and schools can delve deeper into the information they hold to explore variables such as deprivation, language proficiencies and mobility. Teachers have told us that this information gives them a far deeper insight into their students, which in turn helps strengthen their connection with teachers and ultimately shape how learning takes place. Teacher understanding, acceptance and use of systems is invaluable to the successful use of school data. When powerful data is combined with the experience of talented practitioners to bring about change, its power truly comes to life.
MiS canenable teachers to easily record pupil progress, set targets and analyse all assessment, attendance and behaviour across the whole school. This is particularly important to MATs as development and performance analytics are often carried out centrally.
A MIS allows schools to track which pupils are persistent absentees, what percentage these represent of all pupils, and how their absence patterns are changing over time. If early interventions are put in place with these pupils prompted by this data, these are much more effective in the long-term. Data systems also allow for further areas to be revealed, such as whether there’s consistent cover for staff absence, relevant clearance certificates, or where and when SEND pupils need additional support.
By bringing live contextual data into their assessment mark books, users can immediately identify any interventions required. For example, if certain learners are not making the progress expected throughout the Autumn term, interventions can be planned for the Spring term. Rather than waiting until the end of the year to address these issues the system can help teachers and heads to intervene immediately.
MAT data shouldn’t only offer insight; it should ultimately give a tangible path to improve academic performance and the efficiency of central-office operations. Collaborative approaches to MIS data are becoming commonplace. RM Integris has recently partnered with Assembly Analytics, a data analysis tooldeveloped specifically for MATs, with input from Ark, Astrea, Unity Schools Partnership and Windsor Academy Trusts. Assembly Analytics combines data automatically from multiple packages andconnects to a range of MIS, finance and assessment systems. This allows teachers, heads and senior management to view live contextualised data from each academy and pull together like-for-like data to view overall trends in one, simple-to-use dashboard. This simplifies the assessment process, allowing for changes and actions to be made, but saves time for all staff.
Joshua Perry, Director of Assembly said: “Data analysis is an incredibly powerful management tool when used correctly, but too often in the past, it has been a time-consuming burden for schools with unclear benefits. That’s why Assembly have been working with RM to provide fully automated MAT analytics that simplifies the way schools glean insights from their data. Assembly Analytics crunches data from Integris and a range of other sources, including leading standardised assessment and finance systems. Our visual dashboards then present a MAT’s own data alongside meaningful benchmarks derived from national datasets, so leaders can quickly identify areas requiring management attention.”
With a clear set of objectives for improvement and a robust MIS, MATs can use their data much more effectively to optimise learning and maximise central-office functionalities. MATs have complex data analysis needs; system features like automation, aggregation and benchmarking are all critical for efficient and effective usage. This helps to ensure that resources are well-spent and learning outcomes improved. MATs seek a greater level of information from their systems and are recognising the potential to fully exploit the power of data to monitor progress, attendance and behaviours.
MIS ensure that teaching is effective, and students are benefitting from a rich education. The new Ofsted framework aims to ignite conversation during inspection and complement school’s performance. With an effective data system, MATs have the power to deliver a deeper understanding of their trust and key recommendations for the future.
For more information and advice, visit www.rm.com/products/rm-integris
Gov.uk 2018 Chief Inspector sets out vision for new Education Inspection Framework [Online] Available at: www.gov.uk/government/news/chief-inspector-sets-out-vision-for-new-education-inspection-framework
gov.uk. 2018. Get information about schools. [ONLINE] Available at: https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/. [Accessed 8 October 2018]