Last week, School Dash and RS Assessment have produced a report exploring the association between pupil characteristics and outcomes in primary reading and maths. The paper focuses on an analysis of the results of two assessments delivered by RS Assessment to over 6,000 primary schools across England, the “Understanding Mathematics Assessment (PUMA)” and the “Progress in Reading Assessment (PiRA)”.
The data shows that:
While the gap does diminish over time, summer-born children tend to perform worse than their peers in maths and reading throughout primary school.
On average, girls outperform boys in maths up until year 2/3. After this point, boys generally start to outperform girls through to year 6. Nevertheless, these difference depend greatly on the topic – “with boys doing particularly well in number and measures while girls do relatively well in operations and geometry”. Overall, there is greater consistency in maths outcomes for girls than boys.
In reading, girls outperform boys from the start to the end of primary school, with very little variation when the data is split by topic.
Disadvantaged pupils achieve lower outcomes across both maths and reading compared to their peers, with the gap in attainment and progress growing bigger from early years to years 6. This figure is backed up by an extensive body of research, including a seminal report by the Education Policy Institute.
This information will be of use to governing boards when exploring school performance data, including data presented by senior leaders. In particular, governors and trustees can use research such as this to inform their challenge and to assess whether patterns and trends in their school are reflected in other schools across the country.