Data Dashboard

Data Dashboard

The data dashboard is produced by Ofsted and described as a ‘snapshot’ of school performance at the different key stages. There is a data dashboard for every state school in England, and it was introduced in February 2013.  It is divided into four sections:

  • Exam results
  • Progress
  • Attendance
  • Narrowing the gap between disadvantaged and other pupils.

You can find the dashboard for each school on the Ofsted website. The information is the same as that in the School and College Performance Tables, but in a shorter, more accessible form.

 Exam results

This section tells you how well pupils at the school do in  5 GCSE exams, including English and mathematics, grades A* – C, and in English, mathematics and science GCSE  grades A* – C, compared to pupils nationally.

Underneath the bar graph, the data dashboard ranks how well the school does in terms of GCSE exam results compared to all schools nationally, and to ‘similar schools’. It does this by dividing all schools, or ‘similar schools’ into five groups, or quintiles.  ‘Similar schools’ are schools whose pupils arrive at the school with similar levels of ability to pupils at the school in question.

This section also tells you whether the exam results have improved since the previous year.

  • If the school’s results are higher than the national average on the bar charts, you know that this is an academic school.
  • If the school’s results are higher than the national average on the bar charts, and in the upper quintiles for all schools and similar schools, then you know that this school does better than schools who have a similar pupil intake. This is a good sign.
  • If the school’s results are higher than the national average on the bar charts, but in the lower quintiles for similar schools, then this could be a cause for concern. It suggests that the school does not do as well as other schools with similar pupil groups, and should be better.
  • If the school’s results are improving year on year, then this could be good news, but in isolation this information does not tell you much.  They might have had a very different group of pupils the year before, with different abilities.
  • If the school’s results are lower than the national average, do not write the school off immediately.  The progress section could tell a different story.
  • If you want to choose the right school for your child, it is important that you view exam results in conjunction with what the data dashboard tells you about progress

Progress

This section tells you how well pupils do, taking into consideration how good they were when they arrived at the school.  It is all about how much value the school adds and pupils reaching their potential.

  • If the school adds more progress than other schools nationally, then this is a good sign.  This means that the school is better at helping pupils reach their potential than other schools, regardless of how good pupils were when they arrived.
  • If the school adds more progress than other schools nationally, but does not have better exam results than other schools nationally, this means that pupils arrive at the school with lower abilities than at other schools, but do well once they get there.
  • Arguably, progress is a more important measure than exam results. For example, if a pupil arrives at the school and is very able, and they achieve good exam results, but do not make good progress, then it suggests that they could have done just as well in any school. 
  • If progress has got better since the previous year for the school, then this is a good sign. It shows you that the school is improving.  If progress has got worse, even if exam results are the same or better, then this is a cause for concern. The school could be on a downward trend.

Attendance

This section tells you how well pupils attend compared to other schools.

  • Attendance tells you a lot about a school.  If pupils are coming to school, they like school,  they want to learn, and they are less likely to be involved in behaviours outside school which will get them into trouble. 
  • If attendance is below national, or declining, then this could be a cause for concern. You do not want your child to be the child who does not go to school.

Narrowing the gap

This section tells you  how well disadvantaged (pupils who are eligible for free school meals, and/or pupils in care) pupils do, compared to how non- disadvantaged pupils do. When the bar chart is labelled ‘expected’ progress, it means the progress pupils make on average.

  • The school that is right for your child is likely to be one where disadvantaged pupils make progress, compared to their expected progress, which is as good as their peers.  This shows that the school can support all pupils to reach their potential, not just certain groups. 
  • If disadvantaged pupils do not appear to be making as good progress as their peers, compared to what is expected of them, it is worth asking some questions of the school.  It might be that they do not have many disadvantaged pupils, so the data does not accurately reflect what is happening.  Or, they might have a few disadvantaged pupils, for whom it is particularly difficult to make progress, and therefore the data does not match what is going on in the school. You need to be convinced that the school is doing the best it can for every child.
  • It is harder for schools to enable disadvantaged pupils to reach their potential, than non-disadvantaged.  So if they can do it for disadvantaged, they can do it for most pupils.
  • If disadvantaged pupils do not make as good progress, compared to what is expected of them, as non-disadvantaged pupils, you would hope they would be improving from the previous year.
  • A school where disadvantaged pupils do as well, compared to the progress expected of them, as their peers, is an inclusive school.

Further Information

School and College Performance Tables

The dash boards are snap shots taken form the School and College Performance Tables, also found on the Ofsted website.

 

 




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