Tracking Grids for Key Objectives

After much discussion in the last week, particularly with experts in the data field, I have tried to adapt the Key Objective spreadsheets put together by Tim Clarke to allow:

  • one document to contain all the tracking for a single class for the core subjects
  • a quick summary of the numbers/percentage of students meeting the expected standard

So far I have put together documents for Years 1 to 6. Each spreadsheet contains a page for each of Reading, Writing, Maths and Science, with the objectives listed. By entering the names along the top row, teachers can then enter 1, 2 or 3 against each objective to indicate that students are working towards / meeting / exceeding that specific objective. These cells automatically change colour for quick visual representation.


In addition, at the foot of the page, a simple summary indicates whether students are working towards, meeting or exceeding the expected level for their age. It also provides a quick count/percentage summary of the whole class.

On the final page of the spreadsheet, a whole curriculum overview is also available, which also shows the percentages of students on track to meet or exceed the expected level for their age.


The challenge at this stage is in setting the appropriate thresholds to determine the categories of attainment (as well as the names of those categories) as different schools are likely to want to try different approaches, at least initially. Consequently, I have also included a settings page which allows schools to adjust the specific percentages of objectives that need to be met/exceeded to be awarded the overall grade. It also allow for those categories to be renamed to suit a school’s model:


Finally, the spreadsheet also allows for the values to be adjusted for each term. This means that schools can select the standard 85% threshold for ‘meeting the expected standard’, but have this automatically adjusted by thirds to allow for the fact that fewer objectives will have been taught in the Autumn and Spring Term. Thus, by selected the Autumn Term and requiring 85%, the spreadsheet will automatically adjust to 28% to assess progress up to that point.

I don’t imagine that this will become a staple in hundreds of schools nationally – there are far better-equipped companies to introduce such schemes. However, hopefully it does give an indication of how the Key Objective model (supported by the NAHT) could work in practice.

There is still an issue of tracking progress across year groups, which isn’t accommodated by this spreadsheet. One solution would be to record a simple percentage score for a student each year (e.g. George Gershwin has achieved 88% of Y1 objectives). Progress over time could then be measured by comparing the annual achieved percentage. However it would be important to separate this from the assessment process. After all: Tracking ≠ Assessment


The full package of spreadsheets and accompanying documents can be downloaded from here. Please do have a play around with them, and highlight any errors you spot or improvements you’d recommend. And maybe have them to hand next time a supplier tries to get you to buy their product, and make sure that their offer is significantly better!

Download full Assessment and Tracking Resource Pack by clicking here

Sample documents:

Year 5 Tracking Document

Year 6 Tracking Document


Tagged: , , ,

28 thoughts on “Tracking Grids for Key Objectives

  1. Ian Lynch 1 September 2014 at 11:07 am Reply

    One suggestion. Do it in an online spreadsheet as you can then share it much more easily. Google apps will do it with appropriate permissions for free. Alternatively the TLM/NAACE Community site does this in a web environment and its free.

    • Michael Tidd 1 September 2014 at 11:10 am Reply

      Thanks, but I’m not a big fan of sharing things that way – the risks of inadvertently sharing data or making changes to someone else’s file are still too high while people are unfamiliar with the options (and I confess that after two years of using GAfE, I’m still not convinced I know what I’m doing!)
      That said, there would be nothing to stop an individual school sharing such a document through their own online drive.

      • Ian Lynch 1 September 2014 at 12:41 pm Reply

        One benefit of using a purpose built cloud based system is that the permissions can be set so that it is far less easy to share things unintentionally. The price for the flexibility provided by generic tools like Google is you need to know more to configure them. Sharing does become a lot more important with scale where an update is then immediately shared with millions of other people. If it is only ever a handful it’s a lot less important.

    • Austin Booth 2 September 2014 at 12:28 am Reply

      Ian, what’s this tool called? I’ve looked on the NAACE website but can’t see.

  2. Sarah Cooper 1 September 2014 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Thanks for this – really great stuff!

    I’m coming from the tracking supplier side of things and we really like this style of approach. We’re hoping our schools will want to start adopting objective-based approaches over the coming year as they offer so many advantages.

    We’re of the opinion that an online system needn’t be a whole lot more complicated than a spreadsheet, but can still offer some advantages (such as ease of access and ease of breaking down data in various ways – by gender, interventions, SEN etc. The number of tracking spreadsheets a school has to maintain can quickly add up!)

    I’m curious about the approach to children who are exceeding expectations. It feels a bit odd to me to say that a child has exceeded a particular objective rather than met it, and perhaps more useful to instead add extra ‘exceeding’ objectives which might give a better idea of what those high-flyers can do. We have also wondered whether teachers might find that this kind of approach introduces a lot of work in terms of assessing pupils, or whether they’re essentially doing this work anyway. Would love to know your thoughts.

    • Michael Tidd 1 September 2014 at 12:19 pm Reply

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree entirely that a proper system would allow analysis of groups, etc. as you outline – and indeed, if I use this system I will add that sort of detail to the spreadsheet.
      I also agree that the ‘exceeding’ idea seems odd at first, and the general desire of teachers will be to have further objectives – possibly by drawing them from the year above. I would specifically advise against that. My view is that this acceleration has caused many of the problems we now have with the unreliability of levels. I would say that for some of the objectives, the idea of “exceeding” seems obtuse, but in many cases it would come down to application in a range of contexts, or additional understanding in the same vein. It might be possible over time to create a summary of what exceeding might look like, but it shouldn’t be moving on to more content.
      So, for example, one of the Y5 Maths key objectives is;
      “Round decimals with 2 decimals places to whole number or to one decimal place”
      The practical task of rounding 8.54 to 8.5 is one thing; I’d say that to be considered “exceeding” a student would need to be able to do things like rounding 1.43litres to the nearest 500ml., not just move on to, say, rounding to significant figures.
      It would be lovely to have a document – a bit like the NCETM’s work on Maths – that gave examples of ‘the expected level’ for every objective, and then indicators as to what “exceeding” might look like. But sadly, I do have a day job too 🙂

      As for whether an objective-led approach creates additional work – yes it could. If the school doesn’t adapt its curriculum properly, then it will seem like a lot of work. However, I’d strongly recommend that they look at a better mastery model, spending longer teaching common strands, and then assessing them, rather than the current tendency to fire a lot of teaching at kids, and then try to assess everything three or six times a year.

      • Sarah Cooper 1 September 2014 at 12:41 pm Reply

        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

        Totally agree with you on the essence of ‘exceeding’ statements. In the context of the new curriculum it doesn’t seem right that they be drawn from the following year’s content, but rather that they represent a broadening of the pupil’s current knowledge – being able to apply it in a range of contexts etc. Beyond that it’s just a matter of implementation I suppose!

        Agree on the benefits of a mastery model too. Exciting times ahead!

  3. Sarah Carpenter 1 September 2014 at 7:05 pm Reply

    Have been following your blog with much interest and shared your ideas with my Keystage – Can see it may be very useful for us to use this year as we take on a new curriculum and assessment model.

    Thank you so much for your hard work.

  4. cazzypot2013 1 September 2014 at 10:35 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  5. Rachel Purvis 2 September 2014 at 7:46 am Reply

    Michael, thank you so much for all your hard work on this- I’m looking forward to introducing it to colleagues on Friday and trialling the system, it looks to me like a very manageable way to try to demonstrate attainment & progress without levels.

  6. Eve 3 September 2014 at 6:04 pm Reply

    Thank you Michael for all your fantastic work on tracking pupil progress.
    I am going to share this at an assessment meeting tomorrow
    and I am sure colleagues are going to be very interested.

    • Michael Tidd 3 September 2014 at 10:50 pm Reply

      I’m really pleased to hear it’s useful 🙂

  7. dodiscimus 3 September 2014 at 10:32 pm Reply

    I can completely see what you are saying about not having additional content for ‘exceeding’, particularly from the next year up. But what about accessing unmet objectives from the next year down? This may be a naive question – if so just put it down to my ignorant secondary perspective but is there any merit in having each page cumulative and linked to the year below so at the start of a new year the learning objectives met in previous years are pre-recorded with the missed ones in red. Possibly this would just create a monster for Y6 but a developer could easily find a way to hide all the objectives met by all pupils to make it more manageable. Best wishes.

    • Michael Tidd 3 September 2014 at 10:46 pm Reply

      I think there would be some mileage in that. I am always concerned, though, when kids are just categorised as being behind, and so just expected to plod along staying always behind, so we have to be careful not just to treat children as if they cannot access the current year’s work.
      That said, as you rightly say, a decent tracking programme would almost certainly be able to achieve this in a way that my simple spreadsheet cannot. Another question to raise when the marketeers come-a-calling!

  8. Tom 11 December 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply

    This looks excellent! Is there a way of rewording some of the objectives?

  9. Tom 11 December 2014 at 3:30 pm Reply

    Also, is there a way of changing the categories and add weighting to particular objectives as I’m finding children could be working below on several objectives, exceed on a few and come out as exceeding. Is this right?

    • Michael Tidd 11 December 2014 at 10:37 pm Reply

      Hi Tom,
      You are welcome to change and edit the forms as you see fit. You can unprotect the sheets without needing a password, and then make any changes you wish to the wording or banding.
      It is currently set up so that you couldn’t come out as exceeding unless you are meeting all the objectives and then a certain percentage at exceeding. However, this is tempered if you choose the Autumn/Spring setting on the settings page, which means that they only need to meet/exceed a third or two-thirds of the targets at that stage of the year.
      If you want to avoid that, then you could just leave it set to summer all year round.

  10. Tom 14 December 2014 at 4:52 pm Reply

    Thanks very much for the reply. I managed to work a few things out. My school are looking into having 5 categories (working below, working towards, working at, exceeding and mastery) in order to clearly show progress. Another teacher reckons they know how to do it. Thanks for making this assessment package Michael, it is a fantastic starting point.


  11. Andrew 25 February 2015 at 6:22 pm Reply

    Hi have you got the key stage 3 and 4 version please??

    • Michael Tidd 25 February 2015 at 6:39 pm Reply

      Sorry, no. The curriculum is far less detailed and so individual schools will need to design them to match their curricula.

  12. Sarah Riddle 21 April 2015 at 7:35 pm Reply

    Thank you for all this work! Big Fan . I lead a primary maths cluster. What concerns me is lack of understanding in recommended weighting between key and other objectives . I’ve searched for ages and your blog is the first to suggest 85% of key objectives are needed to achieve achieved. Where can I find more info on this & where key objectives are defined . Is there anywhere that suggests a weighting?

    • Michael Tidd 21 April 2015 at 7:38 pm Reply

      There is no nationally-agreed weighting, unfortunately. Even the Performance Descriptors consultation was querying that. However, there are a few things that we can draw upon.
      Firstly, the weighting of the curriculum itself is even more directed towards Number than the old, so it’s clear that that should be a central focus in Maths at least. As for overall thresholds, again, the performance descriptors (although now withdrawn) gave us a hint about which requirements were deemed to be “at the national standard”. I can’t guarantee that 85% is the right threshold, but I do certainly think that 100% is likely to be asking to much, and the
      performance descriptors and test thresholds will recognise that.
      Take some solace from the fact that we’re all stuck here together… in the dark!

  13. Bec 30 May 2015 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Would you expect a child who is meeting objectives but not exceeding each term to remain in the meeting expectations strand all year and this would be classed as good progress? I’m sure after a while even with schools doing it differently, there will be some kind of National expectation that you have to move from ‘meeting’ to ‘exceeding’ in order to show progress and that somehow you will have to show that no children are working towards etc.
    Thanks for your hard work on this by the way, it is useful to see how others are doing it.

    For a mastery curriculum to really work (not push children on to new concepts until they have a deep understanding of the learning in that yr group and are able to apply their skills and knowledge in a range of situations) it should be that all children are striving for mastery in every objective/concept. I can see that it works for more able children because we are not moving them onto new stuff but focussing on that deep learning. When do the other children have time to master the curriculum objectives if at the beginning of the next year we move onto new content. Is it sufficient that some children only cover concepts and reach a basic understanding then move into the next year group? It is not that teachers don’t think children are capable of tackling learning in their own year group, more that they want them to have a good grasp of earlier concepts to ensure they can build on those foundations. Surely a good curriculum lays out the progression and then teachers judge whether a child is secure enough to move onto a new concept. I love the focus on deep learning, particularly problem solving and reasoning in maths and I’m sure discussions around the new curriculum will improve teaching and learning as teachers explore how to cover concepts in more depth.

    Levels weren’t so bad really – when we levelled we knew whether a child had fully mastered something or only just touched on it so we only gave them that level if we felt they were secure. a b and c divisions were not just about how many objectives a child had done or had shown that they had understood once, they gave you and indication of how secure that child was within the level. You didn’t say a child was a 3a if you didn’t think they could apply all of those skills in a range of situations and they had a deep understanding.

    We are trying to come up with a whole school system but we don’t want one that shows only the more able children mastering concepts. Our teachers would not be keen on an APP style assessment and would prefer to make an overall judgement based on their knowledge of the child. We need an easy way to record and analyse the assesments we make so that they are useful but we don’t want to spend too long on this, as our priority is planning interesting, exciting lessons and having learning conversations with children. Any ideas?

    • Michael Tidd 31 May 2015 at 11:26 am Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Bec. I think some of the issue here is caused by the use and mis-use of the term ‘mastery’. To me, mastery is an approach that allow all children to secure the core knowledge. Unfortunately, the term was used in the draft descriptors to imply that it was about the higher-level/deeper understanding of concepts, whereas I would say that that was only a part of the principle.
      The important thing for me is not that all children reach the new deeper level of understanding, but that they all have the central core. Those who are more able to quickly learn such concepts have their learning deepened; they are likely to be the ones that continue to study any given subject at a higher level, or to become innovative with it. But the vast majority of pupils should end up with the core principles securely in their grasp.
      I recognise your point, but I think you are slightly mistaken about the use of sub-levels. You suggest that teachers only gave a 3a if children could apply all their skills in a range of contexts, yet we know that thousands of pupils start secondary school ever year, secure at L4 or even higher, and yet don’t know their tables. The ‘best fit’ approach left gaping holes in children’s core knowledge.
      As for coming up with a system that doesn’t only show more able children as mastering content, I think the key there is to recognise that mastery isn’t for the more able, it’s for all children. For example, in Year 4 hopefully almost all children will master the skill of rounding any number to the nearest 10/100/1000. Your more able pupils might be able to extrapolate from that and round any number to any nearest value, or to recognise that they can use it to estimate answers to more complex problems, but mastery of the basic skill should be within reach of almost all.
      I blame the wretched performance descriptors!

  14. Sam 24 June 2015 at 9:18 pm Reply

    The moment you find similar spreadsheets to the ones you have spent the year developing!! Agh!! Wish I’d spotted these sooner. However, incredibly reassuring to be on a similar train of thought.

    I have developed mine to include contextual info which can then measure gaps (in terms of percentage of statements secure or mastered) between different groups of children as well as analysis of the statements for planning sake. I’ve also NEARLY got it to track the KS2 children against their KS1 outcomes to show the percentage of statements that are secure plus.

    Obviously still playing, but I wanted the assessment that the teachers to engage with to be about what goes on in the classroom. My spreadsheet allows easy recording of this which then feeds into some kind of evaluative tool. At least we haven’t had to buy into anything in a panic. This has allowed us to get on with the important part of the job…teaching and assessment is an integral part of that (otherwise, not teaching??).

    In terms of summative judgements to parents, I’m tempted to avoid any kind of emerging, secure, mastered label and just be descriptive.

    Thank you for sharing! And I agree with you about how mastery has become a bone of contention. It’s an approach to the curriculum.

  15. Peter 30 September 2015 at 10:47 am Reply

    Sam can you share details of your spreadsheet?

    Michael thanks for this very interesting.
    Can it work in Excel 2003?
    Can you save the downloadable worksheet in xls format as well as xlsx?

  16. John 8 September 2016 at 11:32 pm Reply

    Hi Michael, Before we do so, it is only polite to ask that would you have any objections if we used your Reading Writing & Maths assessment grids?

    I was wondering if you have a similar one for Reception class?

    • Michael Tidd 9 September 2016 at 6:31 am Reply

      Please do – I encourage it.
      I’m afraid I don’t have one for Reception, though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: