Understanding RAISEonline data

RAISEonline (Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through school Self-Evaluation) contains data about children’s performance, presented in the form of graphs, tables, grids and other charts. It aims to:

  • enable schools to analyse performance data in greater depth as part of the self-evaluation process,
  • provide a common set of analyses for schools, local authorities, inspectors and School Improvement Partners,
  • better support teaching and learning.

Features include:

  • Reports and analysis covering the attainment and progress of pupils in Key Stage 1, 2, 3 & 4, with interactive features allowing exploration of hypotheses about pupil performance.
  • Contextual information about the school including comparisons to schools nationally,
  • Question level analysis, allowing schools to investigate the performance of pupils in specific curriculum areas,
  • Target Setting, supporting schools in the process of monitoring, challenging and supporting pupil performance,
  • Data management facility providing the ability to import and edit pupil level data and create school-defined fields and teaching groups.
  • Governors are able to look at an overall view of the school’s RAISEonline data, provided they have been given access by the school to the ‘summary report’ (formerly known as the ‘full report’). This includes a concise selection of RAISEonline reports used by Ofsted to inform the pre-inspection briefing and generate questions about the data. The report can be emailed to Governors as a pdf file. Teachers in school will be able to access the interactive sections of RAISEonline, and view the data in more detail than Governors are allowed. For example, teachers can look at pupil-level data to see how individual children performed.
  • NB The name of the RAISEonline ‘full report’ was changed to ‘summary report’ in September 2011. A RAISEonline News Update stated that this more accurately described the content of the report, and said that the term ‘full’ mistakenly suggested that all RAISEonline data reports could be viewed within the document. It is the summary report to which Governors can be allowed access.
  • An excellent forty page guide to Making Sense of School Performance Data was published in 2010, which outlined how to interpret RAISEonline data for primary and secondary schools.
  • Sean Whetstone, in his School Governing blog, lists a number of tutorials and guidance on RAISEonline, including this KS1 RAISEonline data info sheet from Beyond Data (pdf).
  • In late 2011, the NGA  produced two guides to understanding RAISEonline data in primary and secondary schools. They have been produced for governors in association with RM Education, and are the first of  a series of guides to Knowing your school. The guides can be downloaded here: http://www.nga.org.uk/getattachment/Resources/Useful-Documents/Knowing-Your-School/RAISE_Governors-Primary-2012.pdf.aspx  and Knowing-your-school-2-RAISE-for-secondary-school-governors-Dec-11
  • Compare attainment with schools in neighbouring authorities by using this attainment gaps data analysis tool from Ofsted.

The following information comes from the introductory part of the NGA guide (this is taken from the 2011 version, which has now (2012) been updated):

RAISEonline for Primary schools: five key questions for school governors

An effective governing body:

• has the right people around the table (a diverse set of people with a range of skills, experience and knowledge);

• understands its role and responsibilities, remaining strategic and providing leadership;

• has both a good Chair and a professional Clerk who ensure the governing body is well-informed and prioritises its business effectively;

• has good relationships, particularly with the Headteacher built on trust, honesty and respect;

• knows the school, and

• is committed to asking challenging questions and making courageous decisions in the interests of the children and young people in their school and community.

Many governing bodies, even good ones, fail to challenge school leaders effectively. This series of notes aims to make governors more aware of the data that is at their disposal and how best to make use of it, and will also cover how to gather information from parents, staff and students.

What is RAISEonline?

RAISEonline is a secure web-based system that provides schools, local authorities and inspectors with a range of analyses including:

• Attainment at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2;

• Progress from Key Stage 1 to 2;

• Absence and exclusions; and

• The characteristics (often referred to as ‘context’) of pupils.

For each type of analysis, your school is compared to national averages for primary schools. Some analyses also show you where your school sits in the national distribution of schools (e.g. top 20%, bottom 5% etc.). Tests of statistical significance are used to highlight results that are atypical. Statistical significance, which is not necessarily synonymous with educational importance, will be covered in more depth in a later briefing note.

What is it for?

The purpose of RAISEonline is twofold. Firstly, it is an important (but by no means the only) source of data for schools to use in retrospective self-evaluation and development planning, to be used alongside other sources such as Fischer Family Trust (FFT) data and the schools’ own pupil tracking data. Other sources of data will be explained in future notes.

Secondly, the analyses are used by Ofsted inspectors in their pre-inspection briefings. It is therefore critical that you are able to interpret your school’s data from an inspector’s perspective and can identify apparent areas of under-performance in order to:

• explain why they occurred; or

• demonstrate that you recognise them and have set out the action you are taking to address them

How do we get access to it?

The data is presented in a range of interactive tables and charts which can be viewed online. To access the system, you need a username and password. Each school has a designated School Administrator who is responsible for generating user names and passwords. Governors can be added as users but, unlike teachers at the school, are unable to view data about individual pupils.

In addition, a set of the key tables and charts have been collated into a single document known as the “summary report”. This can also be downloaded from RAISEonline but requires a user name and password to do so. It is this document that inspectors use in their pre-inspection briefings. Although there is a lot of information in the summary report, data for previous years is rather limited. Much more is available, however, in the online system (including summary reports for previous years).

The NGA would not expect all governors to want on-line access, but each governing body should nominate a couple of governors to have access as a minimum. Each year in the autumn term, the school’s RAISEonline Summary Report should be presented by a member of the school leadership team to a full Governing Body meeting. The governing body must decide how it will consider and analyse the more detailed data, and may set up a committee to consider this or ensure the monitoring of school performance data is within the remit of another committee, such as curriculum committee.

How often is it updated?

RAISEonline is updated several times in the academic year. 2011 Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 data was made available on the 29th September. At this stage, the data is considered unvalidated. This means it has not been checked nor corrected by schools. Once the process of checking is complete and DFE Performance Tables have been published later in the term, validated data shall be made available in RAISEonline. In the vast majority of cases, the differences between unvalidated and validated data are minimal.

Key questions you should ask of the data

The analyses in RAISEonline are provided to inform and support discussion about school improvement rather than to make absolute judgments about the effectiveness of any school. The questions you can ask of the wide range of data available in your school are almost inexhaustible. However, we limit ourselves to five key questions for this introductory briefing note:

1. How does attainment and progress at my school compare to national averages and the Government’s floor target?

2. Are we relatively stronger or weaker in English compared to mathematics?

3. Do we have any under-performing groups of pupils, or are there wide gaps in attainment between some groups of pupils?

4. How might the context of our school affect our performance?

5. How does pupil attendance compare to national averages?

Access the whole guide  now updated (2012) and Knowing-your-school-2-RAISE-for-secondary-school-governors-Dec-11

Want to read more? Here are extracts from the secondary guide -

What is RAISEonline?

RAISEonline is a secure web-based system that provides schools, local authorities and inspectors with a range of analyses including:

§ Attainment at the end of Key Stage 4;

§ Progress from Key Stage 2 to 4;

§ Absence and exclusions; and

§ The characteristics (often referred to as ‘context’) of pupils.

For each type of analysis, your school is compared to national averages for secondary schools. Some analyses also show you where your school sits in the national distribution of schools (e.g. top 20%, bottom 5% etc.). Tests of statistical significance are used to highlight results that are atypical. Statistical significance, which is not necessarily synonymous with educational importance, will be covered in more depth in a later guide.

What is it for?

The purpose of RAISEonline is twofold. Firstly, it is an important (but by no means the only) source of data for schools to use in retrospective self-evaluation and development planning, to be used alongside other sources such as Fischer Family Trust (FFT) data and the schools’ own pupil tracking data.

Secondly, the analyses are used by inspectors in their pre-inspection briefings. It is therefore critical that you are able to interpret your school’s data from an inspector’s perspective and can identify apparent areas of under-performance in order to:

  • explain why they occurred; or
  • demonstrate that you recognise them and have set out the action you are taking to address them.

How do we get access to it?

The data is presented in a range of interactive tables and charts which can be viewed online. To access the system, you need a username and password. Each school has a designated School Administrator who is responsible for generating user names and passwords. Governors can be added as users but, unlike teachers at the school, are unable to view data about individual pupils.

In addition, a set of the key tables and charts have been collated into a single document known as the “summary report”. This can also be downloaded from RAISEonline but requires a user name and password to do so. It is this document that inspectors use in their pre-inspection briefings. Although there is a lot of information in the summary report, data for previous years is rather limited. Much more is available, however, in the online system (including summary reports for previous years).

The NGA would not expect all governors to want on-line access, but each governing body should nominate a couple of governors to have access as a minimum and/or ensure a committee consider the data in detail. The key findings in the school’s RAISEonline Summary Report should be presented by a member of the school leadership team to a full Governing Body meeting annually.

How often is it updated?

It should be noted that the “official list” of schools below the floor target will be produced from validated data early in the new year. However, you may still wish to consider how close your school is to the floor target based on unvalidated data. This means it had not been checked or corrected by schools. Once the process of checking is complete and Performance Tables have been published in January 2012, validated data will subsequently be made available in RAISEonline.

To be effective, school self-evaluation should be undertaken and any necessary actions put in place early in the Autumn term. For that reason, unvalidated data tends to be the most widely used. School users can amend data in RAISEonline in a “school’s own” copy of the database if there are a large number of corrections to be made to the unvalidated data. The system will then recalculate attainment measures which can be viewed in the online reports. However, “school’s own” data can be viewed only by school users, and a “summary report” based on such data is not available.

Key questions you should ask of the data

The data are provided to inform and support discussion about school improvement rather than to make absolute judgments about the effectiveness of any school. The questions you can ask of the wide range of data available in your school are almost inexhaustible. However, we limit ourselves to five key questions for this introductory guide.

1. How does attainment and progress at my school compare to national averages and the Government’s floor standards?

2. Do we have any under-performing groups of pupils, or are there wide gaps in attainment between some groups of pupils?

3. How might the context of our school affect our performance?

4. Are we relatively stronger or weaker in some subjects compared to others?

5. How does pupil attendance compare to national averages?

 For more information on these questions, download the full 14 page guide: Knowing-your-school-2-RAISE-for-secondary-school-governors-Dec-11 (pdf)

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