Island School measurement of “value added”
Why do it?
Managing the teaching and support we offer students based on measurements of their academic performance at different stages in their school career is one of the keys to providing excellent education at Island School.
We measure student performance at a number of points in their school career for three reasons:
- Having a guide to students’ strengths in different subjects helps us counsel students and take action to provide extra help where needed. It also helps them choose which subjects to study at Island School and which Higher Education choices which are best for them. Further it helps with counselling students about their performance with respect to their potential.
- We must give predicted grades for student applications to Universities and other Higher Education courses. It is critical that these predictions be accurate. If we predict too high a score for a student they may apply for a University with a standard they cannot achieve. If we predict too low a score for a student they have a reduced set of choices of Universities to choose from.
- We are a proudly inclusive school. We do not aim for good academic results by restricting entry to academically strong students and discouraging our students from taking exams in subjects where they are weak. Rather we admit students of all academic ability and let them take whatever courses are best for them. We measure our performance by the extent to which our students outperform results predicted from their standard at entry and at different stages in their school career. The results this shows for each subject helps our work to improve the education we offer. This data is what we mean by the general term of “value added”.
How we measure value added
Students take the following tests:
At the start of Year 7: The MidYIS test which assesses their standard in Maths, English and Science.
At the end of Year 9: The ‘INSIGHT’ test which again assesses these core subjects.
At the end of Year 11; IGCSE exams and the Computer Adaptive Baseline Test. (Students joining Island School at the start of Year 12 take the Computer Adaptive Baseline Test on arrival at Island School).
At the end of Year 13: International Baccalaureate or BTEC results.
We participate in a programme run by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring www.cemibe.org. This takes all this data and compares it with data from schools from around the world to show the extent to which our results under or over perform. Example reports are shown in the appendix.
How we use the value added information for students?
The information on individual students is kept confidential to the students and the teachers helping them, and is often referred to in discussions with parents.
The teacher guiding a student will show them the data the system gives and discuss its implications. An important example of this is the use of IGCSE and Computer Adaptive Baseline Test results to give an idea of potential International Baccalaureate and BTEC scores. The system uses the current scores of a student and then maps them against the thousands of students over the years that have the same scores at the same age. It is then able to show what other similar students have done in the past. In the example below the charts show the range of outcomes at International Baccalaureate for a student in Chemistry and English.
This is read like this. In HL Chemistry 17% of students with your current performance score a Grade 7 at IB. 36% score a 6, 29% a 5, and so on. Our teachers impress on students that their final result will depend on the quality of their study, but these figures can give genuine realistic aspirations for a student to aim for. A student currently performing at a 5, should be encouraged that a 6 is certainly possible. A student performing at a 6 can see there is a definite possibility of a 7 but it will take a real effort. We use these to be positively encouraging.
When we are making predicted grades for students we base most on their work on the course they are taking, their class and homework, assessment scores and exam performance. However the Chances Graphs, as they are called, can give extra information that may justify, for example, being more optimistic.
How we use the value added information for the school?
There is another use for this data. As well as the individual reports, it is grouped together to give a value as to whether our students have performed as well or better than other students with the same ability around the world. This can be broken down by subject area and gives management, department leaders and teachers feedback in how our students perform that is not based the inherent ability of each set of students. This helps us to continually plan for the future and improve our practice. Specifically:
- The comparison of the end of Year 9 INSIGHT and the start of Year 7 MidYIS results show performance in the first three years of Island School
- The comparison of the end of Year 9 INSIGHT and GCSE / Computer Adaptive Baseline Test results show performance in Years 10 and 11.
- The comparison of the end of GCSE / Computer Adaptive Baseline Test and IB/BTEC results show performance in Years 12 and 13.
The School Council’s Curriculum & HE Committee reviews the results with the Principal and reports on them to the full School Council every year. Schools generally achieve positive value added in one or two sections of the school. Island School is proud to report that, in recent years, we have been one of the few schools that has recorded statistically significant value added in all of lower, middle and senior phases of the school.