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Creating positive mindsets and boosting motivation
Doha Academy in Qatar opened its doors in September 2000 and offers a bilingual British-style education with an Islamic ethos.
Sdaqat Jabeen, Head of Secondary at the Al Waab campus, explains how CEM assessments support teachers to raise expectations, help EAL students improve their outcomes and support conversations with parents.
‘The vast majority of the students at Doha Academy are EAL learners, and so their language ability can actually mask their true potential across all subjects.
‘All of our students in key stage 3 are assessed at the beginning of the year using MidYIS so that we can get to know students in a structured and comprehensive way, be aware of any individual difficulties and obstacles, and identify students with learning support needs.
‘We then use the MidYIS data as a way to set targets and measure the progress of each student.’
* Red, Amber, Green reporting is a traffic light system which tells you that ‘Red’ is an alert, ‘Amber’ signals caution and ‘Green’ means that everything is on track.
Doha Academy uses the results from the MidYIS assessments to create flight paths and generate targets for each student. These target grades and additional data points are then monitored through regular assessment during each term.
‘Most of the students fall into Band D (the lowest 25% of MidYIS scores). Looking at the intake profiles can initially be quite daunting for teachers and so focussing on motivation and developing a ‘can do’ attitude with students is essential.
‘Teachers work to deliver the best possible education for each individual and our students go on to actually exceed their targets and get really good grades in the Cambridge International GCSEs. We’ve actually seen an increase of almost 50% in our A*-C grades since 2016.’
Using data wisely
Doha Academy makes continuous and regular use of CEM assessment data throughout the school year; the data from the MidYIS assessment is filtered down and incorporated into each stage of teaching and learning.
‘It’s really important to use the data wisely. We collate all the data we have for students and share it with all staff, so they have an easy-to-understand set of scores, targets and learning needs for each student, in each subject, for each year. We make sure the teachers know what to do with the data and how to do it.
‘All our staff are given training to analyse and be confident with the data, then use it for planning, teaching and reflection. It’s the engagement with data that really empowers teachers and shifts mindsets.
‘Our aim is to deliver schemes of work that suit all of the students, so we use the MidYIS data to adapt curriculum maps, tailor schemes of work and personalise learning. We also use it as a basis to track students’ progress in all subjects and across all years from Year 7 to Year 11.
‘Students’ performance is RAGGED* on each of the 6 Doha Academy 9-1 Flight Paths (Year 7 to 12) and continuous monitoring throughout the year means that underachieving students will be identified, and intervention strategies will be put in place.’
It’s the engagement with data that really empowers teachers and shifts mindsets."
Motivating EAL students in the classroom
Assessment is a vital part of students’ learning and development at Doha Academy and teachers are encouraged to use a variety of assessments throughout their lessons as well as using the MidYIS data to monitor student achievement.
‘The MidYIS data is used to establish a really good understanding of a cohort and make decisions about what is needed to move them forward. The data means that teachers understand students’ needs right from the start and they are not second-guessing what they need. Based on this we might adapt lesson plans, or classroom seating plans, or use our resources differently.
‘We use the MidYIS data to pay attention to building skills, confidence and motivation, and it’s the starting point of our focus on literacy across the curriculum, in all subjects and in every classroom.
‘Our teachers can make practical adaptations to their lessons and resources to really help the students achieve what they are capable of. We make sure that we create a positive learning environment, with a focus on behaviour for learning, and really celebrate student achievement.’