Data source selection is important to running NCER Nova reports. Every report has a default source allocated, usually to the most up to date available option. On some reports this can also be changed by the user.
Differences between data sources
The differences between data sources are important to understand as it can mean the different between switching from unvalidated data (prior to any requests for re-marks and amendments) to a validated and final position with significant changes for some schools and/or subjects.
In all cases the aggregated comparative LA, DfE Regional and NCER National data in NCER Nova reports builds up from the pupil level rather than being held as a static ‘NCER National’ or ‘DfE Regional’ result. It is this pupil centred approach which allows reporting through this system to provide results for any group of pupils no matter how many filters or aggregations the user opts to apply.
- the school result is a product of combining the results of all the pupils in that school
- the White British girls school result is combines results for all the pupils who took the assessment that were registered as girls and White British at the January census (or in the results file in some cases)
- the LA result combines the results of all pupils who attended state funded schools in that LA (and some independent settings at Early Years)
- the NCER National boys combines the results for all boys across the country
Reporting the data from the pupil level means that results for groups that are never published by the DfE can easily be queried and yet remains accurate to within 0.1% in most cases (if not being identical)
The available data sources are as follows:
2020 – Predicted Outcomes
Due to the COVID-19 situation in 2020, the statutory assessment collections were suspended for the year by DfE. NCER provided Local Authorities with the facility to offer their schools the option to submit assessment data to the LA. This functionality continues to be available for 2021 and beyond, but there are some special considerations for 2020 noted below.
Not all Local Authorities opted to take part in this exercise and those that did had varying levels of participation from their schools. The following potential factors should be considered when looking at any data from the ‘Predicated outcomes’ data source for that year:
- All data submitted was from teacher assessment judgements as no tests took place (this includes KS2 Reading and Maths which are ordinarily tested)
- There was no external moderation in 2020
- Participating schools were self-selecting and may have felt that they wanted to submit the data to illustrate their achievement in the year
- Predicted outcome data for 2020 does not reflect where the pupils actually ended the year and rather were where schools expected them to have been had COVID-19 not happened
- DfE regional variations in uptake may well affect overall comparison figures (for example if more London authorities did not participate but more northern authorities did)
- Local authority level comparisons were composed of a small number of schools and should be used with care
- In terms of Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 progress reports, outlying pupils will have had an even greater effect on school progress scores than would usually be the case as there will be even fewer of those pupils in the ‘NCER National’ average for progress in that prior attainment group
Per DfE guidance Local Authorities are NOT permitted to make use of 2020 data for ANY form of accountability or risk assessment purpose. This applies in 2020 itself but also to future years as part of a trend. In addition, for the reasons described above, 2020 data should not be considered overly reliable in terms of comparisons that can be made or in terms of year on year or trend changes.
Predicted outcomes 2021 and beyond
As mentioned above, predicted outcome functionality remains available in the system. This might be used for future years where formal assessment is not possible (as in 2020), but is intended to allow schools and Local Authorities to submit, analyse and report on expected attainment for pupils and schools based on their submission. Some LA will not make use of this functionality and for those who do, schools within the LA may opt not to participate. There will also not necessarily be any comparability from school to school level.
Users of analysis based on predicted outcomes should appreciate the limitations and coverage of the data imported.
Early Years Foundation Stage – Source KEYPAS (All reports)
Users are unable to change the data source for this assessment as only the set of initial teacher originated judgements are received. Even if the school subsequently revises that set of judgements, it overwrites the original once loaded. The data file from the school is loaded by Local Authority and made directly available in reports after appropriate data quality checks and amendments. The exact same final file is also sent to DfE. Submission via the LA is statutory (apart from 2020) and at the time of writing nearly all LA use the same system to process and quality assure the data, giving near 100% coverage.
In 2021 some schools will be early adopters of the new Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. In that year both frameworks will be submitted and separate reporting produced. From 2022 onwards, all schools should again be on the same framework.
Phonics – Source KEYPAS (All reports)
Users are unable to change the data source for this assessment as only the set of initial teacher originated test results are received. Even if the school subsequently revises that set of results, it overwrites the original once loaded. The data file from the school is loaded by Local Authority and made directly available in reports after appropriate data quality checks and amendments. The exact same final file is also sent to DfE. Submission via the LA is statutory (apart from 2020) and at the time of writing nearly all LA use the same system to process and quality assure the data, giving near 100% coverage.
Key Stage 1 – Source KEYPAS - All reports apart from Child Looked After (CLA) reports
Users are unable to change the data source for this assessment as only the set of initial teacher originated teacher assessments are received. Even if the school subsequently revises that set of teacher assessments, it overwrites the original once loaded. The data file from the school is loaded by Local Authority and made directly available in reports after appropriate data quality checks and amendments. The exact same final file is also sent to DfE. Submission via the LA is statutory (apart from 2020) and at the time of writing nearly all LA use the same system to process and quality assure the data, giving near 100% coverage.
Key Stage 1 – Source NPD - Children Looked After (CLA) report data sources
Children Looked After users within the Local Authority are initially able to run reports based on the KEYPAS data source mentioned above at the point at which the data is loaded. Later in the year, the DfE also releases NCER National Pupil Database (NPD) results to NCER for use in reporting to virtual schools. The NPD files should be considered the ‘final’ position for Key Stage 1 results for that cohort and – if available – the data source that virtual school users should leave as the default choice.
Key Stage 2
At Key Stage 2 extra data sources become available due to the fact that some LAs collect and process Writing teacher assessment data from schools, all LAs receive an early file from the DfE and then there are restated results sets at different points in the year (AAT and NPD). Data sources are available for both CLA and standard reports.
Key Stage 2 - KEYPAS > source from schools
The initial data source – only available to those LAs that collect KS2 writing teacher assessment data from schools – is labelled ‘from schools’ when the KEYPAS report version is selected. At Key Stage 2 this only contains teacher assessment data for writing (since 2016). It is not statutory for LAs to collect this data and will only do so by local arrangement with their schools. Note that KS2 SATS test data is not included in this dataset.
Key Stage 2 - KEYPAS > source From DfE
This is the first complete set of KS2 data and is provided by the DfE to Local Authorities on Key Stage 2 results day (usually the Tuesday in the second week of July). This is released at the same time as schools receive the equivalent data (though LA receive it for all the schools in their area).
The data is released at a point prior to the outcomes of any reviews of marking that are requested by schools. Generally, due to the low percentage of applications for reviews of marking and still lower percentage of successful requests, the overall data at the LA level and above will not change much – however the impact on a smaller school’s results may be more significant in the event of a successful request and is reflected in the AAT and NPD files described below.
KEYPAS > source From AAT
The AAT data source is issued by DfE to Local Authorities and will become available – sometimes with a delay - when a) the provisional school checking data is released in early autumn and b) when the performance tables are published.
The AAT file represents changes made to the initial KEYPAS from DFE file due to internal corrections at DfE, reviews of marking and the outcomes of investigations etc. Once available, users will want to make use of this option. In some recent years where the NPD file (see below) has not been made available for some time, the second AAT file has been the best and most accurate information available to Local Authorities.
Source NPD (NCER National Pupil Database)
When this option is available it will usually have become the default when selecting the report. The NCER National Pupil Database file represents the final and most complete version of the Key Stage 2 data, incorporating all changes that have been made to results since the initial release. For this reason – once available – school and LA users will usually wish to ensure that they are selecting this option.
The NPD file, provided by the DfE, is loaded by the system supplier rather than by each Local Authority. There are Provisional, Revised and Final releases of the NPD data into NCER Nexus.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 (often referred to as GCSE results despite the fact that BTECH and other qualifications can be included) have two main data sources that follow the same naming patterns seen in Primary assessments. There is also an initial GCSE results day import.
Users looking at results from year to year should take care to ensure that they are comparing results from the same data source.
Data sources for Key Stage 4 are available for CLA and non-CLA reports.
Key Stage 4 – Source: Keypas
Keypas data is that loaded by Local Authorities once the Checking File is released to them (usually in October.) This is often some weeks behind the schools receiving their own checking data. Each Local Authority has their local area school’s checking data released to them and it can then be loaded into the system for analysis. This is prior to any changes requested by the school as part of the checking process and therefore subject to substantial changes in some schools as entire subjects for entire classes may be requested for re-marking.
It should be noted that the pupils included in the file are based on the schools they attended within the Local Authority. Any pupils who happened to sit exams within the Local Authority but were not part of the school cohorts will not be included in the results files.
Note that this data source is not available for 2020.
Key Stage 4 – Source NPD
The NPD (NCER National Pupil Database) file is released by the DfE to NCER for all pupils examined in schools across the country. This data is then available through NCER NOVA reports.There are Provisional, Revised and Final releases of the NPD data into NCER Nexus.
Note that this data source is not available for 2020.
Key Stage 4 – Source GCSE
Developed in 2020, following the cancellation of GCSE examinations, this results set import is designed to be used on or shortly after GCSE results day and will facilitate the work of Local Authorities in gathering information about the performance of their schools as well as providing much deeper analysis than had typically been available at that time.
EDI results files that schools receive from exam boards can be loaded into the system (together with prior attainment for pupils that may be missing)
Release notes from August 2020 are available to more fully describe the process of loading, managing and reporting on this data source:
In 2021 and beyond this facility will allow results day analysis of results but will require pre-agreement from schools in the LA to provide these files. Once loaded the results will provide Local Authorities with data prior to the release of the checking file in October.
Key Stage 5 – Source NPD
At Key Stage 5 the only results data source is the NCER National Pupil Database provided by DfE direct to the suppliers of the system. There is no option for LA to load their own results at the current time. As such all reports default to the NPD file as the data source and this cannot be changed. There are Provisional, Revised and Final releases of the NPD data into NCER Nexus.
There are no CLA specific Key Stage 5 reports at the time of writing.
Note that this data source is not available for 2020.
Note for all assessments: Children Looked After specific reports mentioned are only available within the Local Authority and only even then only to members of the Virtual School (and other users with appropriate permissions)