The British School, New Delhi has been a part of the Cambridge International family since 1988.
In 2009, the school introduced the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) into their assessment practice, and for the past 11 years they have been using CEM’s secondary and post-16 assessments with their students.
Ms Vanita Uppal, OBE, Director and Mr Mark Taitt, Principal, explain how CEM data has been useful to validate teacher observations, analyse trends of cohort and subject area performance year on year, predict grades, and also help identify the support their students need to improve performance.
"Our backbone of data ensures we understand the whole child, so the transition points become almost seamless."
At The British School, staff work hard to make sure they use assessment data to supplement teacher observation – and at times, the results have surprised them and challenged their judgements.
"We really try to look at the student and all the data and understanding we have. We don’t simply say they are projected a grade – we ask what we can do to improve the learning of our students," Mark explains.
"We use CEM and other data such as attendance and attitudes as a vehicle for conversations. We don’t react to just one data point, but we look at and map out patterns and trends over time to inform our actions.
"We consistently find that our CEM assessment bands closely align with our other data. However, recently we noticed our current Year 8 cohort had one of the lowest percentages of students in band A that we’ve seen in the last ten years.
"This early identification has helped us question why. What elements are affecting this? When we’ve looked further into the data, the good news has been it's no one thing - it’s the holistic learning process we need to consider. So, we’ve identified consistent actions we can take to see the difference over time."
One of these actions identified because of MidYIS data, Vanita tells us, has been the launch of a specific programme within school.
"A few years ago, our MidYIS data showed up a number of students who had outstanding scores for mathematics. This helped us identify gifted and talented students – and led us to introduce our additional maths and international maths programmes. We are now able to clearly identify and challenge students who were previously bored in class."
The British School use CEM data to support students’ transition periods through school, by embedding it in ongoing discussions.
"It’s an ongoing conversation about learning because we are using the data so frequently. When we get to transition points, we know enough about the student to ensure that we’ve got the best choices available for them. There are no surprises for parents or students – it becomes a discussion about progression long term," says Mark.
Vanita adds, "Our backbone of data ensures we understand the whole child, so the transition points become almost seamless."
The value of having a bank of CEM data to hand, Vanita explains, was clearly apparent during the last year.
"Having the CEM data throughout all of the disruptions last year was so useful as it gave us scientific evidence to support examination predictions; it was so easy for us to share all of the predictive data and historic data with Cambridge."
Efforts need to be deliberate to make CEM a part of your existing school structure and philosophy.
Educate and train colleagues involve them throughout the process, and get a consensus about what you are trying to achieve.
Hand-holding parents and students is equally important – students need to be briefed beforehand so that they understand how the results will be used.
Use CEM data in conjunction with other data points such as classroom observations, teacher comments and semester grades, to support students’ progress and build necessary interventions.
Look to identify trends within cohort and subject area performance year on year – this can help identify areas for development and inform necessary teaching and learning interventions within your school.