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About Alderman Peel High

Alderman Peel High is a small comprehensive school in Norfolk with high expectations. The aim of the maths department is to achieve the best possible results for students. PUMA Key Stage 3 provides certainty for Alderman Peel High School in a post National Curriculum Level landscape.

Why did we choose PUMA KS3? 

Like many schools, the removal of National Curriculum levels left us concerned over the consistency of our assessments at KS3, and our ability to track and measure student progress: without levels it's very difficult to make any kind of objective assessment over whether students are achieving in line with students from similar starting points in other schools. We were looking for a comprehensive standardised assessment package which measures our students against national standards, and allows us to make reliable predictions over future performance. Schools have been left trying to measure progress against predicted attainment based entirely on KS2 results, and it is debatable whether that's sufficiently detailed or robust enough to monitor progress against GCSE targets. 

How do we use them? 

They're used at the end of each term in Y7, 8 and 9, with the summer tests acting as our end-of-year tests. The intention is that the tests will generate a robust and reliable standardised score which will indicate that what we're doing in class is working. This is then reported in a data drop and shared with SLT. 

We're also part of a pilot to track PUMA scores across KS3 and then see how these students perform in GCSE, so in time it will be possible to give schools really reliable and robust information about the likely attainment of their pupils, ultimately taking away the guess work involved in predicting student scores in maths. Based on our experience so far, I'm confident that the tests will be a reliable indicator of GCSE results, as well as providing an accurate a consistent approach to measuring attainment and tracking progress through KS3.

Why should other schools consider using them? 

One the of the key selling points for us was the provision of a maths age, because that makes conversations with parents so much more meaningful and relevant. Rather than talking about a range of different measures such as standardised scores or scales, it helps to paint a picture for parents about where their child is. Adopting the tests gives us a common language for talking about maths attainment and progress which is meaningful for specialists and parents alike. 

Importantly, it has allowed us to replace a collection of inhouse class tests that we were doing two or three times a term, with one longer and more robust test at the end of each term, both simplifying our assessment procedures and allowing us to gather more useful information. This is in line with Ofsted's advice to reduce the excessive data capturing that is creating an unsustainable workload for teachers. 

They’re very easy to use: there's just the one test for each term and year group, and the marking is very straight forward. We take the raw scores and use the lookup tables to populate the spreadsheet with the standardised score. Adopting the tests has reduced teacher workload.  

Overall, we're very happy with our decision to adopt PUMA Key stage 3, and recommend it to other schools looking for a more reliable and consistent approach to measuring progress and attainment in maths.

Based on an interview with Bill Boyce, Head of Maths at Alderman Peel High School