Schools have always set individual student targets. Whether it was done through using ‘expected’ and ‘more than expected’ level of progress between KS2 and KS4 before the demise of the national curriculum levels or, given the school context, by using various FFT models. So in principle, this is not anything new.
The target setting process is not an exact science and it is up to the school to decide how much challenge they want to add when providing students with their targets.
DPR adopts a pathway model to target setting. Each pathway indicates a level of challenge associated with it. As the DPR ensures curriculum objectives are sequenced between Year 7 to Year 11, students who are on a given pathway must work towards securing their understanding in the associated learning objectives in order to be on track for their end of KS4 GCSE grades.
Understanding how pathways are linked to subjects
Majority of schools use 4 pathways. pathway A, B, C and D. With pathway A being for the brightest of students and pathway D being assigned to students who need that extra help. Although you are not limited to 4 pathways this is a good base to start.
Before we proceed further, it is important to understand the difference between what we mean by Subject Area and Subject and how they are linked to a pathway.
The key concept to understand from the above illustration is that a student is allocated a pathway for a particular subject, not a subject area. If we use the example above, this means a student can be allocated Pathway A for English Language and Pathway B for English Literature.
The table below attempts to provides some guidance on how to set pathway targets for the end of KS4 given students’ KS2 attainment.
Schools can add or emit pathways if they wish in order to further personalise the target setting for their institution. For example, pathway S can be added for students who are working towards a grade 1 and pathway X for students who have joined the school with exceptional KS2 attainment, who are able to engage with very challenging learning from Y7.
Baseline tests to help set pathways
Schools may carry out baseline tests upon entry. The table below provides a breakdown of what the test score may indicate in terms of students’ starting point, something that can be used to triangulate their KS2 attainment with.
The table below breaks down and groups different attainment scores from different tests and allocates different pathways to them. Again, this can be adjusted to suit your school context.
For example, for student X:
KS2 Scaled Score: 107
Mapped Pathway: A (106-120)
Maths KS2 Scaled Score: 105
Mapped Pathway: B (99-105)
Average Scaled KS2 Score: (107 + 105)/2 = 106
Mapped Pathway: A (106-120)
As we all know, learning is not necessarily "linear", therefore, the above should be treated as inspiration for how your school could possibly allocate pathways.
Changing students’ pathways
It is possible to change students' pathways, however, be cautious when you do this. It is always better to get the students’ pathways correct than having to correct them midway in the year. If students change their pathways midway in the year, their key objectives will also change, making their previous KO judgements meaningless. In other words, the judgements would be deleted as they are starting from scratch with a new set of key objectives. We recommend schools to review students’ pathways in the Summer term to make adjustments for the new academic year. DPR allows students data to be accessed for the previous academic years, even if they were in different pathways.
Target setting that ensures a learning focus is maintained
It's quite common for the schools to expect their students to be able to say what their GCSE targets are. However, many students find it difficult to translate their targets into actions, meaning they find it difficult to articulate the exact learning involved which would help them achieve their targets. DPR’s approach to target setting eliminates this ambiguity; the pathways are linked with student friendly key learning objectives. Additionally, teachers are able to further personalise these key learning objectives to differentiate for individual student, either to ensure students are able to access an existing key objective or to challenge them further with a new personalised key objective, without changing the entire pathway.