Suffolk: Psychometric tests to be trialled at schools

A GROUND-breaking programme to re-engage disaffected students is being trialled at a number of Suffolk schools after a county secondary became the first in the UK to use psychometric assessments.

St Benedict’s Catholic School has revealed it started using the tests on 63 students at the end of 2010 and saw a dramatic improvement in results and behaviour.

Teachers at the school believe that the system, which is designed to help students understand their natural strengths, was also part of the “mix” that helped St Benedict’s achieve the top GCSE results in Suffolk in 2011.

The process, which was partly funded by private assessment company Thomas Education and Suffolk County Council, is now being trialled in Stowmarket High School and Mildenhall College of Technology over a two-year period as part of an independent evaluation.

Andy Watts, assistant headteacher at St Benedict’s, said: “The assessments help you get more out of your school life. The tests we used was the personal profile analysis which tells you about your preferred way of working, what your strengths are and what the factors are that support those strengths.”

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He added: “It helps you become more self aware of who you are as a person.”

Mr Watts, who said one of the school’s governors who works for Thomas Education had suggested the process, described how the students were split into two groups; those exhibiting “challenging” behaviours and under-achievers who were disengaged and “drifting” through school.

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The study showed that assessment coupled with personalised feedback, generated impressive results in improving students’ academic performance and positively affecting the behaviour of challenging pupils.

The study saw a more than 90% reduction in external exclusions, internal inclusions, removals from class and negative referrals and an increase in GCSE results of 6% overall.

A spokesman for Thomas Education said more than 1.5million of its eight-minute assessments are completed every year.

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