What not to do with pupil performance data

Understand the limitations of performance data, in line with Ofsted's advice. Find 5 common data practices that you could stop doing, and strategies to use instead, to identify what your pupils know and drive down teacher workload.

Last reviewed on 20 January 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 35406
  1. Begin your data journey
  2. Ofsted expects a ‘proportionate’ amount of data collection
  3. Stop trying to make precise predictions of pupil outcomes
  4. Stop using 'flight paths' to track pupil performance
  5. Stop trying to predict progress 8 scores
  6. Don't expect too much of assessment data
  7. Avoid analysing yearly data for very small groups

Begin your data journey

We know it can be hard to avoid some of the practices in this article, especially under the current school accountability system.

If you don't feel you can make these changes right now, you can still use the ideas to help you make better data decisions, and as starting points for discussion with your staff and stakeholders.

Note: while this piece has a secondary focus, you should be able to transfer the principles to primary settings.

Get stakeholders on board

Your school community may understandably be sceptical or wary of changes, particularly in a school culture of high-stakes accountability measures and inspections. However, the evidence is on your side.

Refer to the Teacher Workload Advisory Group’s report, ‘Making data work’  Discuss assessment at your next governing board meeting. If you’ve given teachers in a department