Tackling Bureaucracy - Case study Monitoring and Tracking Learners’ Progress

Tackling Bureaucracy - Case study
Monitoring and Tracking Learners’ Progress
Linlithgow Academy
West Lothian
Staff at Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian are streamlining their approaches to assessment and changing
their thinking around tracking in the Broad General Education (BGE). Their strategies have evolved as a
result of on-going dialogue both amongst staff about their approaches to assessment and, increasingly, with
pupils about learning. This has included a greater focus on dialogue with, and support for, learners so that
they understand their learning and what they need to do to improve.
Teachers worked collaboratively at subject level to determine the range of evidence required to illustrate
how well young people are achieving within a level. This evidence requires young people to demonstrate
their knowledge, understanding and application of their learning on more than one occasion. The work has
involved making connections across Experiences and Outcomes, identifying key knowledge and skills and
agreeing on what success looks like. They have moved away from assessing and tracking every Experience
and Outcome which was overly bureaucratic and did not support them to make robust judgements about
progress in learning. As a result they have, over time, reduced the volume of assessment and tracking. In
addition, staff have a greater understanding of the significant aspects of learning and increased confidence
in making judgements about secure learning at a level.
These assessment approaches are very well supported by the whole-school profile management and pupil
tracking system (PROMPTS). This is a rigorous but manageable means for teachers to track young people’s
progress through the broad general education and the senior phase. It is a one-stop-shop that contains
essential information that impacts on learning such as additional support needs information, behaviour
referrals, pastoral notes and information on attainment and personal achievements. Different levels of
access are available to protect confidentiality. P7 profiles are also uploaded to the system so that all
teachers have access to them. PROMPTS supports the school’s clear focus on individual learners and avoids
unnecessary duplication as teachers do not need to keep their own records. The progress of young people
with additional support needs is carefully and sensitively tracked to ensure barriers to learning are
addressed, and that young people are making good progress in their learning. PROMPTS also ensures early
intervention in terms of those causing concern. As a result, pastoral staff and curriculum leaders are
supporting young people to overcome barriers to learning, whether this is related to their family
circumstances, health, learning environment or social and emotional factors.
PROMPTS supports rather than drives monitoring and tracking in the school as a result of on-going
evaluation of the system and the collaborative work that has been done at subject level around assessment.
Staff have worked together in departments to determine what secure learning looks like and track learners’
progress towards this using red, amber and green. Teachers engage in professional dialogue to review the
evidence of learning across a range of Experiences and Outcomes and use this information to plan learning
and teaching to support individual learners. The moderation process is supporting staff to review and refine
courses as they discuss how well learning activities have delivered intended outcomes. It is also provoking
discussion about how well evidence of learning allows teachers to make judgments about progress in terms
of breadth, challenge and application. Staff use the Experiences and Outcomes to plan learning and courses
and have begun to look at more holistic ways to organise assessment outcomes and track progress.
Young people are fully involved in this process through shared success criteria, focused feedback and formal
target setting that takes place at three points in the session. As a result, young people are developing a
deeper understanding of their progress in learning and are able to make informed decisions on their
progression pathways as they move through the broad general education. The school has identified the
need to link this more fully with pupil profiling to further increase active involvement of young people in
understanding their progress in learning.
At senior leadership level, the processes that have been developed ensure that the attainment data they are
using to evaluate performance at whole school level is robust and reliable. It allows them to track each
individual young person’s progress and take action as appropriate. The robust tracking is also supporting
them to plan progression pathways for individual learners and for cohorts. Scheduled review meetings with
curricular principal teachers throughout the session support self-evaluation at subject level. The school aims
to extend its work to look at transferrable skills in more consistent and coherent way.
Further Information
Monitoring and tracking achievement and progress in the broad general education
This paper is part of a suite of resources and provides advice on approaches to monitoring and tracking
progress and achievement in order to help inform discussion and further develop practitioner
Evaluating and Improving our Curriculum S1-S3
This resource on the Education Scotland website provides information about key features of effective
provision in monitoring and tracking and reflective questions.