How resilient is your school when it comes to measuring student progress?

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According to a report published by the Department for Education in February, KS2 prior attainment data will not be used to calculate Progress 8 for KS4 cohorts in 2024/5 and 2025/6 due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While alternative options are being considered by the DfE, there is no way of retrospectively measuring students’ achievements at the end of primary school for the affected cohorts.

This is not the last time there will be a disruption to externally moderated measures of progress and attainment. While we’d hope nothing as serious as a pandemic would prevent these assessments from taking place, there are lots of reasons why relying on a single measure of student performance is risky. What if a student misses the test and their application to re-sit is rejected? What if the data received by secondary schools from students’ primary schools is unreliable and inflated?

It’s imperative that schools are as resilient as possible against outside factors that may affect their understanding of their students’ abilities and achievements in KS2 and beyond. Independent baseline assessments, like those that Cambridge CEM offer, enable schools to measure progress confidently and safely, and not just attainment alone, over the course of a student’s academic journey. These should be run in parallel with teacher observations, formative assessments throughout the year and summative assessments at the end of a period of learning.

It’s imperative that schools are as resilient as possible against outside factors that may affect their understanding of their students’ abilities in KS2 and beyond.

Whether it’s progress measures at KS2 or making sure you have a solid understanding of student ability when they join your secondary school, a school-led baseline assessment is a reliable way of having stability and ownership over your progress measures.

For primary schools that want to supplement their KS2 SATs data, Cambridge Primary Insight offers an objective, adaptive baseline assessment that provides insight into a student’s ability and cross-curricular knowledge, skills and understanding. It can be used alongside data from KS2 SATs to provide a holistic picture of student progress.

For secondary schools looking to take control of their Year 7 baseline assessment data, MidYIS, our lower secondary assessment for students aged 11-14, provides an opportunity to measure ability and academic potential at the start of a student’s secondary school journey. This means that by the time a student is taking their GCSEs, your school already has a solid understanding of that student’s ability and how they’ve progressed over the last three years, regardless of whether there’s any pre-existing progress data from their time at primary school.

There’s no true failsafe way to measure student progress over time, but the more ownership and diversity of assessment your school has, the more resilient it will be. The best way to ensure that your school has an effectiveness measure that is objective and independent is to own it.


Learn more about baseline assessments

Baseline Assessments