"Our ambition was always to be able to ‘press a button’ and be able to see how our schools are performing. School by school comparison was important to us and Pearson's Mocks service meant that we could also compare our pupil's performance with the Pearson national average for each question, which was an added and highly beneficial bonus. The Mocks service provided us with the assurance that the assessments were consistent, there was no unconscious or conscious bias and it was marked and validated by a recognised and highly regarded awarding body. Exceeded our expectations."

Andrew Shakos, Trust Director of Operations, The Dean Trust

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The Dean Trust

The Dean Trust is a Multi Academy Trust with thirteen schools in both the primary and secondary sectors across Manchester, Trafford, Wigan and Knowsley.

Background

The Dean Trust piloted the Mocks Service in February 2020 with a total of 925 students sitting mock exams in Maths, Science, History and Computer Science.

We asked Andrew Shakos Operations Direction, Barry Bridden Academies Director and Tarun Kapur CEO to let us know what the impact of using our Mocks Service had on teacher workload, consistency of marking and student progression. They also were able to identify areas for CPD to support teaching staff across the Multi Academy Trust.

 

What impact did the Mocks Service have on teacher Workload and Wellbeing?

Utilising Pearson Edexcel’s Mocks Service had an obvious yet notable impact on teacher workload and wellbeing. Releasing our teachers from the significant time and effort ordinarily dedicated to marking scripts energised them to be able to sustain higher quality provision for all their classes, whilst maintaining a more manageable work life balance.

Teachers appreciated that their wellbeing had been considered and recognised the benefits of having externally validated assessments to compare with their own, using the process and feedback as a source of motivation for their pupils.

 

What was the biggest priority for your trust when using a Mocks Service?

We had the joint priorities of supporting the reduction of teacher workload and having externally validated assessments. The Mocks Service allowed us to compare school performance by subject across our six secondary schools, identifying key areas of strength and weakness. This informed collaboration between our schools to improve teaching, learning and outcomes for all our pupils.

 

In terms of analysing the data, how useful was the ResultsPlus data we provided?

Exceptionally useful and intuitive. Using the question and topic level analysis, our subject leaders were able to instantly identify strengths and weaknesses for each of our Trust schools. It was then a simple exercise to match-up those schools who didn’t perform as well on particular questions with those that did. This informed partnership working including: joint planning and delivery of targeted intervention to address knowledge and skill deficits and misconceptions; developing consistency in pedagogical approaches; making adaptations to curriculum delivery; and improving outcomes for present and future cohorts.

 

Did you notice any benefit in terms of supporting CPD with your staff following the Mocks Service?

The process allowed our subject leaders and teachers to identify team and/or individual areas of strength and or areas for improvement. This proved to be empowering as they took ownership for further developing their partnership work with other colleagues within the Trust. At the most basic level, our teachers shared resources and planned together. There was also evidence of more sophisticated sharing, for example, the latest pedagogical research into how learning takes place.