Sunday, 4 March 2018

How JESS Dubai is using MidYIS to raise pupil attainment at GCSE

JESS, Dubai is using MidYIS to raise pupil attainment at GCSE. Here's how we are doing it:


MidYIS is a very powerful management tool for JESS, Dubai, where we are using it as the key way to drive school improvement at both KS3 and KS4.
One of the greatest strengths of MidYIS is that this CEM project based at Durham University has been running over quarter of a century and has analysed the performance at GCSE of millions of children. Its longitudinal nature combined with the extensiveness of the data set means that MidYIS has the capacity to generate meaningful predictions about pupil performance at GCSE. This mechanism means that schools are able to use MidYiS to drive school improvement in a number of important ways. At JESS, Dubai, we use MidYIS in three ways:
  1. to set realistic aspirational targets for young people, which we can share with parents so that we can marshal additional support from home; 
  2. to monitor the performance of departments and individual teachers; 
  3. to benchmark as a school against other schools both in the region and in the UK.

Raising Aspirations 

When the young people join the school they have a baseline test in year 7 at secondary level. We then have data from that which would produce a series of chances graphs for each of their subjects. The strength of the MidYIS system for predicting outcomes is that it does not pigeon hole children to a single grade. Rather it offers a range of grades which a pupil of a given ability might achieve in the form of a 'Chances Graph'.
Figure 1 is a Chances Graph for French GCSE
Figure 1 outlines the percentage of candidates of a given base-line performance who achieved respective grades in their GCSE French. In this example,

  • 2% got an E grade 
  • 8% got a D grade 
  • 21% got a C grade 
  • 29% got a B grade   (= Most Likely Grade)
  • 26% got an A grade (= Aspirational Target Grade)
  • 13% got an A* grade 

At JESS we share set “Aspirational Target Grades” (ATG) for each subject in January of Year 7. The AT is calculated as one grade higher than the most likely grade achieved by pupils from Independent Schools in the UK. In the example above the most likely grade is a ‘B’, so the ATG would be an ‘A’.
The ATGs are set in January of Year 7 and published to pupils and parents. We have incorporated the ATGs into our reporting structure so that teachers report on progress against these grades, so parents and pupils know whether they are on track for their aspirational target or working towards it, or how far short are they. Accumulative reporting data is then analysed centrally. Thus tracking data can be a really useful tool which allows Heads of Department, Heads of Year and School leaders to know the proportion of a particular year group or subject group are on track to meet their aspirational target. So, for example, the Head of History can identify how the Year 10 GCSE group are doing and can put in place intervention strategies at an early stage.
Tracking pupil progress against ATGs also enables the Head of Year or School Leaders to informed conversations with parents. A typical conversation might be:
Mr and Mrs Smith, Amy’s most likely grade in History is to get a B grade, so we are aiming at a target of an A; her current performance indicates that she in on track for a C grade, which we feel is a little low. So, we need to work with you on this one and need to support to help Amy to put a greater effort into her studies in History. 
 ATGs are a great way to change the mind-set of key players in the educational process. Tracking pupil progress against ATGs it gives schools data which they can use to marshal the whole community of stakeholders: whether it is raising the expectation of teachers for their pupils; or raising the aspirations of parents of the child herself. That triangulation of classroom, pupil and home is really important for the whole way in which we use MidYIS here at JESS.

The Impact on GCSE Results

Figure 2. JESS GCSE Results 2013-17
We introduced MidYIS tracking and target setting two years ago at JESS and our performance at GCSE has gone through the roof; particularly with our brighter students. The proportion of A*s at GCSE has gone from 20.3% to 33.2% A* and our A*A has gone from 54.4% to 65.9% in two years. Tracking pupil progress against ATGs is a tried and tested way of raising school attainment by raising aspirations.

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