In my previous post I showed you how to install the new templates and map your assessment data into the standard aspects provided by Capita. In this post I want to emphasise the importance of getting your data just right. In part 3 we’ll look at the analysis provided by the marksheets, the excel report and by SIMS Discover.

Getting Your Data Sorted

You’ve probably already read the latest P8 Technical Guidance document from the DfE. Now is a good time to read it again. Remember, at its heart, the P8 calculation is all based on estimates. For schools that expect to calculate a 100% accurate P8 score this should set alarm bells ringing – it’s just not possible to offer a P8 score to two decimal places and expect it to be the actual P8 score a school receives.

However, to give you the best chance of getting a P8 output score that is as accurate as possible, you need to make sure that each of the input values is accurate. Remember: garbage in, garbage out!

Mapping your Termly Teacher Assessments

Before you start, read Capita’s guidance on mapping your assessments (see the link in part 1). There are so many GCSE and equivalent qualifications that it can be very difficult to identify exactly which qualification variant your school is offering. In my experience, data managers should team up with their exam officers to match in-house assessments to external exam qualifications.

This is from Capita’s KS4 Resources Mini Guide:

There are several hundred possible courses that could potentially be offered by a school, and every course must be mapped accurately for the results to calculate correctly. Many schools may only collect one result for English or Science even though students may be taking two or more examinations in these subjects. For every examination that a student is taking, there must be an equivalent aspect mapped. Special care must be taken when mapping to vocational qualifications, and where fine grades are in use.

Photography was missing from the list of GCSE subjects in earlier version of the KS4 resources, but is included from Spring 2016.

The KS2 Fine Level

The most important part of the P8 calculation is the KS2 starting point, which the DfE refer to as the KS2 Average Fine Level. This is a new measure and is not the same as the average points score. If you attempt to use the average point score you will get very inaccurate results.

It is surprisingly difficult to get hold of the KS2 Average Fine Level for each pupil. You can calculate it for yourself, but you need to know the pupils’ raw scores from the KS2 papers they took (unlikely). Or you can use Ben Fuller’s excellent Excel spreadsheets (here’s a link to the 2015 version). In the school I’ve visited, the best and easiest source of the KS2 Fine Level data is FFT Aspire (export the data for all your cohorts into an excel file) although I have heard of schools getting the data from NCA Tools, Key To Success  and RAISEOnline.

Make sure you identify the right value. The KS2 Average Fine Level will be in the range 3.1 to 5.9 for most pupils. It needs to be expressed to one decimal place. Meanwhile the KS2 Average Fine Points Score will be in the range 21 to 33 points (the points scores of an old level 3 and level 5).

Tip: If you can only obtain the KS2 Average Fine Point Score you can calculate the KS2 Average Fine level from it by dividing by 6.

Note that when you export your data into an XML Spreadsheet file (which you have to do before you can import it into SIMS), Excel actually exports the original, long-form number, even if you have previously rounded the number. I use a combination of the Excel’s ROUND formula (to round to one decimal place) and the use the TRUNC formula to trim off the invisible (but still exported) decimal places. The truncated version of the number is the one that I actually import into SIMS. See the comments section below where the LEFT formula is used and recommended

Import the KS2 Data Into SIMS

Capita provides special aspects to hold the KS2 Average Fine level and KS2 Fine Points Score. If the KS4 Resources are to work correctly you will need to populate these two aspects/resultset combinations (result set name in brackets):

  • KS2: Average Fine Point Score (Key Stage 2 Validated Results)
  • KS2: Average Fine Level (Key Stage 2 Validated Results)

If you also want the levels of progress calculations to work you’ll also need to populate these two aspects:

  • EN KS2: English Test Lev (Key Stage 2 Validated Results)
  • MA KS2: Maths Test Level (Final) (Key Stage 2 Validated Results)

Note that you cannot use the mapping tool to do this. Use Routines | Data In | Import from Spreadsheet or cut and paste from one marksheet column to another.

Time to Test

Load up your new KS4 marksheet and press calculate. Be patient, it can be slow. As soon as the marksheet has calculated, save it. Remember that although loading, calculating and saving the data takes a long time, you only need to press the calculate button once each term, so 5-10 minutes isn’t long to wait. Now is a good time to check that all you data is present and correct. Look for missing data for individual pupils and look for analysis columns that haven’t calculated – investigate why the columns have not calculated looking particularly for missing KS2 fine levels.

If your marksheet is working properly here are some screenshots of the kind of analysis columns you’ll now have access to:


Note the KS2 Fine Level grades here are show to two decimal places. One decimal place is still recommended!

Note the KS2 Fine Level grades here are show to two decimal places. One decimal place is still recommended!


Well done! In part 3 we’ll investigate all the data analysis possibilities that the new marksheet provides.