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PUMA KS3 is ‘a real motivator for students’

Alexandra Paine is the Senior Leader for Maths and Numeracy at Magnus C of E Academy - a mixed 11-18 Academy in Newark. Below, Alexandra explains how the termly standardised maths tests (PUMA KS3) have helped to reduce teacher workload, track progress throughout KS3, and best of all, motivate students to boost their performance in maths...

Why did you choose PUMA KS3?

We wanted a standardised test that would give us a clearer picture of where students sat compared with the national cohort and specifically wanted a maths age score.

Whilst we have well-written in-house assessments, grading from these is difficult as we don’t have many students in our school to compare against. There is a long time between KS2 SATS and GCSE for tracking students with in-house or GCSE papers as a measure of progress. PUMA KS3 has helped to reduce the workload.

What are the benefits of PUMA KS3?

We really like the simplicity of marking as it is binary, and the questions are still very challenging.

What we were not expecting was for students to be hooked into their maths ages. It’s a real motivator for most students. They have taken well to the challenge of increasing their maths age and exceeding their chronological age. They are keen to find their results as they totally understand what this means and is tangible to them.

We analyse results using the free online reporting tool (MARK) which helps us to identify areas for intervention, learn when, what and who to re-test and gauge progress of interventions.

PUMA KS3 data pulled from MARK has shown that when we introduced the first tests in Autumn for Y7 and Y8, very few students exceeded their chronological ages. However, by the time we reached Spring this was a changing picture with almost all students in the highest set now exceeding theirs.

The online tool has certainly saved me time because it removes the need to write the question level analysis spreadsheet as I can simply download and go. The analysis reports also save me time. 

Final comments

I would recommend PUMA KS3 alongside other forms of assessment including where method marks are awarded for partially correct responses. Students need both this and in-house assessments to cover all exam question experiences and practice.
Alexandra Paine, Senior Leader for Mathematics and Numeracy, Magnus Church of England Academy