The new Ofsted framework is far more focused on the use of internal data in schools. Ofsted has clearly stated they are “not going to verify it or use it to make judgements, but will look at the way you use assessments to inform the delivery of your curriculum and support students progress.”
It’s far more important for subject leaders to show an understanding of the important role internal assessment data can have when developing powerful teaching and pupil progress strategies. Your internal data does not need to prove progress, but should clearly show where your department is now and what your next steps will be.
The actual data you collect, organise and analyse should support you and your team to take the actions necessary to raise achievement. It doesn’t need to be in a format that is clear for the inspectors, as they will not use any of your data as evidence of the progress students are making.
The new framework essentially suggests that assessment-focused discussions will be structured as such:
- This is our assessment plan
- The last assessment we did was ABC
- In analysing it we felt that DEF was strong and GHI needs to be improved
- As a result we did XYZ
You don’t actually need to show the data that led you to any one decision. You can show the inspectors this data if you feel it would support your discussion. This is clarified by Ofsted’s National Director Sean Harford, who said:
“What inspectors do want to see is the assessment information your school uses, in the format that you find works best, to help you know how well your pupils are doing at the point they are at in your curriculum. And then, crucially, what you do with that information to support better pupil achievement.”
Even if the results are suggesting the progress or achievement is not where you hoped it would be, you don’t need to worry, as the Inspection Framework states that they will not use the data as evidence relating to progress.
The focus is on the actions you take relating to the data. This is because there’s a far better understanding that progress is not linear. As part of your discussion, you should be able to demonstrate that the data you have based these decisions on is valid and reliable.