Teaching A-level pupils “skills for learning”

Description of the innovation

This innovation strives to teach these pupils the non-subject-specific ‘skills for learning’ required to be successful at A-level if used consistently. The intervention was implemented in a controlled manner to allow for the quantitative assessment of any impacts on attainment and progress. Participating pupils took part in a launch day which included a motivational speaker from outside the school. They were then taught non-subject-specific ‘skills for learning’ required to be successful at A-level, in nine after-school twilight sessions delivered by lead teachers. The pupils also attended fortnightly mentoring sessions with a high-attaining Year 13 pupil.

Summary of the evaluation

Ashby School is an age 14–18 school with approximately 1,700 pupils. There are approximately 600 pupils in our sixth form. Two cohorts of Year 12 pupils were selected to participate in the innovation. All pupils selected had a GCSE prior-attainment score of APS 40–46. They were paired in terms of GCSE attainment (APS score) and choice of A-level subjects, and then split randomly to ensure that the cohorts were balanced and therefore comparable. Cohort 1 received the innovation in the autumn term and cohort 2 received the same innovation in the spring term. Progress was assessed for each pupil at various internal data collection points and then analysed to produce an ALPS score (see https://alps.education) for the cohort for direct comparison.

Summary of findings

The results do appear to show a slight improvement in ALPS grade at the spring assessment for the cohort receiving the innovation (cohort 1), suggesting that the innovation may have been successful in improving progress. However, with the relatively small sample size, this small improvement is not statistically significant, preventing us from drawing any firm conclusions.

Similarly, the fact that cohort 2 had a lower ALPS score than cohort 1 at the spring assessment, but following their intervention, at the summer assessment point, had an ALPS score above cohort 1 is encouraging. This suggests that the innovation may have been effective and may also be more efficacious when delivered during the second term of an A-level course. However, these differences are not statistically significant precluding the drawing of firm conclusions.

Overall, the results are mildly encouraging suggesting that the innovation may have had a positive impact on pupils’ progress. However, the improvements are not as large as was hoped, and too small to be statistically significant and allow us to draw firm conclusions from this relatively small sample size.

Lead school

  • Ashby School, Ashby-de-la-Zouche

Main findings

Mean spring term ALPS score:

  • cohort 1 = +0.84
  • cohort 2 = +0.82

Mean summer term ALPS score:

  • cohort 1 = +0.84
  • cohort 2 = +0.87

Download the protocol document