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Alps Data headaches

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by StartEducation, Sep 4, 2016.


Does Alps work for Art?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

  1. StartEducation

    StartEducation New commenter

    As an art teacher I have always had a bit of an issue with Alps data. It never quite provides the shiny happy evidence that I would like. This year in particular, it is more problematic than helpful. My AS art group included a number of students who hadn't done GCSE art .... And they inevitably struggled. Their grades were predictably low but Alp doesn't take their background into account, it simply looks at their GCSE results and judged them on that. Rather frustrating.

    I would be very interested to hear if anyone else has faced similar issues relating to Alps.

    Best regards

  2. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Make them take GCSE art first.
  3. StartEducation

    StartEducation New commenter

    This is not always in our control.
  4. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    I have not voted because I am not an Art teacher, however:

    Do you have access to the whole report, or just your subject's page?
    The 1st half of the document explains the rationale, the second half is specific to your 6th form.

    The ALPS system is based on 3 fundamental principles, the 3rd one specifies High quality target setting. If the targets are produced purely numerically, with no consideration for the mix of subjects that can hardly be described as 'high quality'.

    Although the estimates are referred to as 'minimum expectation', the text of the document makes clear that these are aspirational targets, based on progress being at the 75th percentile nationally, in other words, meeting these aspirations would put you within the top 25% nationally.

    The ALPS banding on the thermometer is different for each subject, these are laid out in a table in the 1st half. The actual ALPS score is 'weighted' according to the supposed difficulty of the subject. A student with no history in the subject may well find it harder than someone who studied it for 2 years prior to the course...see how the scores compare rather than the thermometer bandings.

    ALPS provides details of the calculation done for your pupils in your subject, it is relatively simple to calculate this again, once for the students with a GCSE Art history and for those without. if the scores are noticeably different, you may be able to argue that this shows your dept's teaching is better than is shown by the raw figures. You could also argue that the entry policy for the course should be reconsidered or at least the judgement made should take into account the academic history of the candidates.

    Whether those arguments carry any weight with your head is of course a different matter...but at least it will give you a better picture of what is going on....and at the end of the day, is that not the real purpose of using data? To inform and improve provision.
    emerald52 likes this.

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