Case Studies and testimonials / Mackie Academy

Mackie Academy

Raising Aspirations with MidYIS

The Data Jigsaw

Mackie Academy is a non-denominational secondary school that serves the young people of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. With a large catchment area, there are currently 1165 students enrolled and the S1 intake is between 200-300 pupils each year.

The school’s aims are to make sure that everybody, regardless of their ability, excels and leaves school with qualifications that give them a bright future.

Headteacher, Louise Moir, has over 20 years’ experience working with CEM data. Here she explains how MidYIS supports the school’s aims and shows students what their possible destinations could be.

Looking at the pieces

With all the data now available in schools, it’s important that Mackie Academy use only the most meaningful information.

Having a system in place which gathers all the scattered bits of data, allows Louise and her colleagues to piece together a picture of potential for each individual’s future.

‘What we do at Mackie Academy is look at the different pieces of data. Each piece will tell us something different about a young person and we look at it within the totality of their learning. People talk about data like it’s only one snapshot. What’s important to me is, yes it is a snapshot, but if you use the data as part of a jigsaw puzzle about a young person then it can be really powerful.

‘We work with portfolios of evidence, including MidYIS and the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs), which youngsters do in P1, P4, P7 and S3 that focus on literacy and numeracy. SNSAs are very useful and give us a good picture of these whole school themes, but these tests are just done on one day.’

Putting the pieces together

MidYIS compliments and supports tracking and monitoring systems at all levels within schools.

Feedback from the assessments is given at individual, cohort and whole school levels. This gives a wider context to an individual’s data and a depth of understanding to the whole school, which inspires high expectations and raises the aspirations of each student.

‘MidYIS has really enabled the senior leadership team and the middle leadership team to work with their classroom practitioners to ensure that the monitoring and tracking of our pupils is accurate.

‘Where staff find the assessments and feedback most useful is in the predictions that it gives for how pupils will perform when they reach the first year of the senior phase of examinations.

‘This summer, our S4 results were only 0.3% out between our predictions and pupils’ actual results. In S5, we were only 0.7% out. This is because our staff are engaged in that dialogue around our students’ capabilities and utilising the dataset that we’ve got so they are accurately assessing and predicting what our young people are going to achieve when they come to their examinations.’

MidYIS Individual Profile Report

We are all affected slightly by different experiences, environments and motivations on a particular day that can affect our performance. Confidence limits are displayed as error bars around the pupil’s score. They show us the range within which we would expect that student’s score to fall most of the time.

The big picture

‘Where it’s been most powerful, for example, is with a student, who had quite a lot of additional support needs but was still more than capable of achieving a set of qualifications that would enable him to move on to a positive destination.

‘MidYIS has allowed staff to engage more effectively with qualifications that would be of more use to him, that would be the right qualifications for him. We were able to tailor his curriculum on the basis of the MidYIS feedback.

‘It challenged staff to see that this young man is capable. We just needed to find the right qualifications for him. This has allowed him to complete his S4 with a set of qualifications that has allowed him to progress on to college.’


Sharing best practice

So how does Mackie Academy ensure that all their students head towards a bright future? How do they get the most out of their data?

‘It’s about knowing how you want to utilise your dataset, engaging purposefully with staff at all levels on what the data means and how they can use it in their everyday practice.

‘The key is that MidYIS is only as useful a tool if you use it proactively. Mackie Academy use the data to allow teachers to work accurately to the young people, to support them in the areas they need and help them be successful from the foundations.’


Historical Band Profiles

The MidYIS Band Graphs show the proportion of pupils falling into each of the four performance bands year on year. This gives schools the ability to:

  • Monitor intake over a number of years.
  • Anticipate future trends in expected performance in external exams.
  • Measure the level of ability of each year group.

For all young people, they need to have that belief of what they are capable of and sitting down with their MidYIS results and portfolios we can say “you did this, nobody else.”


Want to know how CEM data can help in your school?


Find out more about our assessments