We are constantly looking for ways to help students achieve amazing outcomes and to boost motivation. Other high-performing schools and academies, including many within United Learning, cite providing students and parents with rank order information as one of the most effective ways to do this. Initial concerns are always about potentially demotivating those who appear lower in the list. When these concerns are overcome, rank order proves to be a useful and effective piece of information to know. It transcends the constant changes in education labelling and puts understanding achievement firmly back in the hand of students and parents. To be clear: this information already exists. What we are going to do is make it available to parents, carers and students themselves. When we have visited schools that use rank order, far from being demotivating in any way, students describe how they are constantly trying to improve on their own previous position in the year.
At all times we will be offering wrap-around support to students to improve from whichever position they find themselves in.
Frequently Asked Questions
This approach will raise issues and possibly concerns in some minds. This is a process which other schools have gone through and we have provided answers to many common questions if you click on the links below
What is Rank Order Assessment?
Rank Order Assessment is the process of assessing students, ideally through formalised examinations, and then ranking them from top to bottom performer in each subject and overall.
Why are we doing Rank Order Assessment?
We are constantly looking for ways to help students achieve amazing outcomes and to boost motivation and providing students and parents with rank order information is one of the most effective ways to do this. Initial concerns are always about potentially demotivating those who appear lower on the list. When these concerns are overcome, rank order proves to be a useful and effective piece of information to know. GCSE grade boundaries are based on Rank Order and so this is a way of students and parents/carers knowing and understanding where students sit within a rank order as early as Year 7, when there is still plenty of time to do something about it.
What will Rank Order Assessment look like?
Rank Order leader boards are displayed in school whereby students are ranked from top to bottom. Next to the rank will appear an anonymised code - each pupil will be given their own code in form time. The ranks are completely confidential with the student having a unique number. Unless the student decides to share information with their friends, nobody else will know how they have done overall in the year group. However, we do want to show that students who work hard in all their subject areas make big improvements in their performance, therefore the top 10 students’ names are displayed. We also show a list of students who make the biggest progress as we feel that list is just as important. Student rankings can also be found on individual pupil reports.
What will the school do with the Rank Order information?
The information the Rank Order gives us will be used to stream students, with say, your top 30 students being placed in one group, your next 30 being placed in another group, and so on. Streaming means that where possible, students will be in the same ‘set’ for their subjects.
Why has my child done well in some subjects but not in others?
Students have sat baseline assessments in each of the different subjects. It is normal that they will do well in some subjects compared to others. Students will sit assessments again in February where there will be an opportunity for us to look at the sets again at that point.
How will we support students who find themselves at the bottom of a Rank Order or dropping places?
Students who finish towards the bottom of the Rank Order will receive bespoke intervention where appropriate and, in some cases, parents/carers will be invited in for a meeting with a member of the Leadership Team to dissect the possible reasons for a low rank order. Intervention may include after school sessions, support with reading and opportunities to spend time in our learning support where students can work on literacy and numeracy.
My child has special education needs – will this affect their standing in the year group?
First of all, it is a conversation that needs to take place between yourself and your child. Results are anonymised and no student will be publicly identified. Each student is given a unique identifying number which is theirs and theirs alone. If you decide that you do not wish your child to appear on those lists, please discuss this further with Mrs Thompson-O'Brien, SENDco . This does not mean that they are exempt from the assessments – support will be put into place to help them access each subject.
When will Rank Order happen?
We will assess and rank order KS3 pupils twice a year. Once mid-year, where we will stream accordingly and at the end of the academic year in preparation for their streams the following academic year. Year 7 has an additional baseline rank order assessment in the first term.
How, as a parent/carer, can I support my child with Rank Order Assessment?
As parent/carers you can support immeasurably by encouraging a positive attitude to learning, independent work at home through homework as well as supporting punctuality and attendance. Students who follow this are far more likely to improve their rank order and will therefore be rewarded for their academic progress. Whilst students were not expected to revise for baseline assessments, prior to mid-year and end of year assessments, you will receive a booklet that will tell you everything that they will be tested on. You can keep track on that by having a look in their books or speaking to your sons/daughters.
Will students be rewarded for their Rank Order?
Students who finish near the top of the Rank Order will be rewarded. Students who make the most progress in terms of moving up the Rank Order will also be rewarded.