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Community Supported
This site is a place to support the baseline testing and progress measures project with optional resources.

What is currently available?

There is a structure for organising resources under headings based on level of difficulty. EQF level 1 is broadly primary school difficulty; EQF Level 2, Key Stage 3; EQF Level 3, Key Stage 4. SEND for special needs. We are not so much concerned by age as in key stages but level of expectation.  For example, although most of the children taking the first baseline test related to EQF Level 2 are in KS3, a significant minority from Year 6 and Year 10 did it too. We want to encourage targeting work on level of attainment not age specifically. Note that EQF levels are much broader than the old National Curriculum levels. We don’t think that qualitative descriptions of fine levels has any real scientific validity. EQF Level 2 is broadly similar to the old NC expectation at the end of KS3. This is the broad level used to set the baseline tests. Within that level, position within the national age group based on performance in a representative test and how that position varies or stays the same over time will give a much better idea of progress than trying to guess what a fine level descriptor actually means and whether that meaning is consistent across thousands of teachers. We also provide a formative assessment system for free to anyone that wants to use it. That is more about pupils providing evidence that they have covered the programme of study at least at the broad level defined by the criteria. We are not trying to fine grade this, just use the evidence for feedback and to help pupils learn about self and peer assessment and how that can support their learning. Of course schools are free to reward particularly good work in any way that they want. We are quite happy to provide links to exemplary pupil work from the web site.
Most of the resources on the site are currently focused on the EQF Level 2 (KS3) tests. There are schemes and work and detailed lesson plans if you want to use them and you can copy them and modify them as much as you like. The first two tests are in place and around 60,000 pupil took the first one. The tests themselves are done on the TLM INGOT community site where the technology is already developed to support them. This site was set up so that members of the community can contribute resources more easily than dealing with the main sites and it can have its own style and character. It is a work in progress so some parts are better supported than others but we intend to expand into the “spaces”. What you see here should not be interpreted as either fixed or definitive. If there are errors or omissions, please get in touch with Ian Lynch or Paul Taylor. We encourage people to join the editing team in order to strengthen it and to make it easy for you to participate in making this site better.
The Open Source principle of release early and release often is embedded in this project. Some information may be incomplete but provided early to try and keep the information flow as up to date as possible. The teaching resources and baseline testing are complementary to other initiatives such as the CAS progression pathways, NAACE assessment group and TLM’s new qualifications in Computing. The aim is to provide flexibility so that teachers can decide the ways of working that suit them and their pupils best.
There follows instruction on how to take part.

Baseline testing and progress measures

To get started please go to; TLM Baseline Test Site, then click on Login, then on ‘Create New Account’.

Once you have your account created please follow the BASELINE TESTING SITE SURVIVAL GUIDE on how to log in and administer your account by creating groups and adding learners.

If you want to make a test learner, you can do this but please give any test learners the surname Bloggs1234. The system will then ignore these in the statistics aggregations.

The idea of a baseline test is to measure progress from the first attempt. Do one of the baseline tests then do another after 6 months. We will aggregate attainment and progress measures from these and feed them back to you. In this way, you will have attainment and progress measures across the whole of Key Stage 3.

The question with the flowchart is a bit difficult to navigate on-screen. We recommend printing the diagram out so that pupils can refer to the hard copy while doing that question. There is more detail on this page but the procedure described for taking the test is now out of date so use the video linked above. You can download the flowchart image from here.

We are building SOL and Lesson plans to complement the baseline. There is a full evidence management system for formative progress tracking through the POS on the learning site explained here. You are free to use as much or as little of these as you like.

You can use the test for anyone. Year 7 is the highest priority but any other year groups new to computing can do it and some teachers have taken it too. Your results will be anonymous.

If you have any problems, please contact us. Please spread the word as the more that take the test the better the data for everyone.

Some questions and answers related to baseline testing. 

0. Levels

How can we link the test to levels? There are no official national levels in Computing, there never have been and there never will be. For those that have to use levels for internal procedure we suggest the following mapping to the Baseline test results. 

Since the pupils are coming into this mainly, one would expect, at Level 4 from KS2 and the average score is about 35% we could say give them Level 4 if they get 36 to 44% in the test.
< 28% Level 2 or 1 The test can’t differentiate below this level.
Level 3c 28%
Level 3b 30%
Level 3a 32%
Level 4c 34%+
Level 4b 38%+
Level 4a 42%+
Level 5c 46%+
Level 5b 50%+
Level 5a 54%+
Level 6c 58%+
Level 6b 62%+
Level 6a 66%+
Level 7c 70%+
Level 7b 74%+
Level 7a 78%+
Level 8c 82%+
Level 8b 86%+
Level 8a 90%
Exceptional performance anything over 90%
For 3 levels of improvement they need to be able to go from scoring around 35% in Y7 to around 70% by year 11. Simple. Now you can spend time getting them there rather than trying to guess fine levels of performance from course work which is not proven to be valid and takes your time away from getting them to learn. We’ll refine this as we get more data.

Needs some caution with individual pupils but if you want to forecast the department’s aggregate stats eg we have 200 pupils and 20% moved up 1 level 30% two etc. It is likely to be more reliable because of the averaging process.

1. What is the purpose of baseline testing?

Computing is effectively a new subject in the national curriculum. This provides a unique opportunity to find out what children know about a subject before it is formally taught and how much this changes over time as formal teaching becomes embedded in the school curriculum. If we provide a test that is based on the new National Curriculum Programmes of Study and get a representative sample of children to do it prior to Year 7, Year 8,  9 and Year 10 we will get an idea of any systematic knowledge improvements from general education prior to the start of formal teaching. We can use this to understand the way learning takes place with teaching over time both in absolute and relative terms.

Once we establish a database representative of any cohort and its progress, we can enable teachers to place their individual pupils and their school within that context. We can remove the need for levels altogether and use national cohort referencing. This is likely to be much more reliable when it comes to predicting attainment for eg performance measures.

2. Will this data not get distorted by use in high stakes performance measures?

The great advantage of testing as a shared community project independent of government or government finance is that the community owns the data. Individual data for learners or schools will be available to the teacher designated as the Principal Assessor by the school. The Principal Assessor will be responsible for how that school’s data will be used. The only data that will be made publicly available will be aggregated cohort data from which no individual school can be identified. This will enable schools to use evidence from assessment objectively for local improvement referenced to a national sample of data.

3. What is the assessment framework on which the test is based?

The assessment criteria are derived directly from the new KS3 POS for Computing.  The questions are based on the assessment criteria used for the NAACE/TLM Level 1 certificate in Open Systems Computing. These criteria are accredited by Ofqual and deemed suitable by the DfE for their high quality qualifications category that attract league table points. The advantage of this is simplicity and straightforwardness placing low administrative demand on teachers but it is scalable to more detailed provision for curriculum planning and formative assessment to any preferred system. This includes the CAS progress frameworks which provides more detailed scaffolding for formative assessment and the free INGOT progress management on-line system. We will build further links and structure to these resources in such a way as to make them as easily accessible to teachers as possible but without forcing anyone into any particular set of bureaucratic procedures.

The test is designed to be simple to deliver but it has to differentiate performance and so there are a range of questions of different difficulties. These might appear alien to those new to computing (both teachers and pupils) but we need to start somewhere.  Given the time pressures, pre-testing has not been possible and the organisations cooperating in the provision of the test are not able to say objectively how well it will work. We will not know for certain how well the test works until we get data back from trying it and we will make any future amendments to it based on the outcomes of the first implementation. We are grateful to the community for helping us in this process. 

4. Is the test self-marking?

We have chosen to use a multiple choice test because it is self-marking and we can therefore make it free for schools. We don’t need external markers and the marks data can be collected and aggregated with minimal cost in terms of the test administration and more importantly in your time. We want you teaching, not wasting any more time than absolutely necessary on test administration. Instant feedback from tests will be possible and the more that take part, the more reliable the data will be.

5. Are the questions available? 

Yes, in the initial phase, you can see the test at http://thelearningmachine.co.uk/year-7-computing/ but please keep it confidential as we want pupils to see these for the first time when they take the test. Given that there is no pressure from league tables etc on this test there is no reason for it to be “leaked” but we need everyone to be professional about this. We will vary the test but care will be taken to ensure it reflects the programmes of study and that standards expected are consistent and fit for purpose. Thanks to those that have already contributed valuable feedback. We take all feedback on board and we will use it to make improvements in the future.

6. Is using a test suitable for progress measures?

This is a good question. We think it is very likely that performance in these tests will correlate well with future performance in eg GCSEs but there will still be a lot of individual variation. The tests will give an idea but not necessarily the full picture for any individual and teacher judgment is still going to be needed. The point of doing it by a MCQ on-line test is that it is probably the least expensive, least complicated method (Teacher time as well as the cost of delivery) of getting some useful if not “all singing and dancing” results. It should be enough, at least to start with, to show OfSTED you are doing something positive on evidence-based progress tracking from the outset as well as being useful for your departmental planning. We have further free support from a cloud-based evidence management system that can be used for more formative assessment for those that want to do this. It is up to individual schools to decide which frameworks and formative assessment tools they want to use for more detailed day to day progress measures. The test should be compatible with any of these supplementary methods. 

​​Question 40 to 48 refers to a flowchart. The diagram is rather large and this does not lend itself to sequential computer-based questions. It is recommended that this is copied and printed to paper so candidates can refer to the paper diagram without having to navigate back through questions to refer to it while still answering the questions on the computer. 

Flowchart

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