18
OCT
2015

The Baseline, 100,000 and beyond

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Ian maintained an informative and lively blog on this site and although no-one in TLM can hold a candle to the man for his knowledge and passion for education, we want to continue the blog in his memory and try to inspire some debate around education if possible.  With that in mind, here is an update on the baseline and some other aspects of TLM development that may be of interest.

As of today, the baseline computing has tested almost 106,000 students since Ian created it in September 2014.  Everyday new schools are joining the Google group and adding to the numbers and there are now 3 distinct tests with a 4th test in March/April 2016.  The idea, generally, was that schools start out with a test and then test their students every 6 months of 12 months to see what progress has been made.  The tests themselves are as similar in content as they can be without being the same test.  This is to try and be consistent and to make sure that student’s scores are learning and not memorisation of previous tests.  This may well happen and is not bad thing in and of itself, but will skew the overall results.  The 100,000+ means that the amount of distortion based on students knowing the answers prior to the test will be less significant and we can be reasonably confident of the results.  If you want an in-depth discussion to this end, I am sure I can convince our CRO (Chief Regulatory Officer) Joan to talk about this as she knows all their is to know about statistics but were afraid to ask.  The other interesting, at least without delving too deeply, fact is that scores are increasing.  The overall score on Test 1 when it was first taken in September 2014 was around 38%, the overall average for tests is now 43%.  The Y7 in September 2014 scored 37% and Y8 in 2015 (which will be mostly the same students) 45%.  This suggests that students have improved on average and this can only be down to the teaching, so well done all!  We will be digging deeper into this to try and unpick some of the finer detail.  It would be interesting to compare year groups and gender, for example, to see if there are differences and if we can gather any meaning from this.

Some schools are now requesting more access to the data and to accommodate this, we will be offering a service with a small charge to allow the data to be further analysed.  This is not for all schools as the system as it stands will output some basic scores, but if schools want to dig deeper for a better understanding they can.

The success of the computing baseline has also encouraged us to create a baseline maths test along the same lines as this one.  The maths test is only £1 per student, but will give schools an accurate way to measure progress across time and have access to data to be able to plan for success.  If anyone is interested, please contact us in the normal way.

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About the Author
Started work for TLM in August 2014, having known Ian Lynch for many years and collaborated on a number of open source projects and initiatives. Working with Moodle for a number of years after teaching IT to A Level for 10 years.

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