Using PASS to help raise attainment

“We had lots of formal data regarding our students’ potential ability, but exam results alone do not reveal the whole story. When it came to attitudes to learning, as educators, we often have no idea what each student’s motivation is to achieve.”
Graeme Sawyer, Director of Inclusion at Royal Manor Arts College (RMAC)

Teachers at Royal Manor Arts College in Dorset know that having an insight into their pupils' motivations and attitudes could help improve behaviour and ultimately boost attainment. For that reason they started usingPupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) as it offers a straightforward and streamlined method of getting the information the schools required. Using PASS to assess your pupils can help raise attainment within your school by enabling you to measure attitudinal data alongside your current cognitive and attainment data. This integration of attitudinal perspectives can not only help you to explain the cognitive assessment results, but will also help identify fragile learners.

Over 100 Local Authorities and more than 3000 schools use PASS at any one time. Regional level analyses have shown that between one fifth and one third of pupil attainment can be explained by PASS results:

  • 24% of variation of individual attainment
  • 30% of attainment at school level
  • 22% of value added at school level

Using PASS results to target areas for support has also been shown to raise attainment. For example, whenPASS results motivated the start of mentoring groups in one school, the attainment results improved by 25%-30%.

Another areas PASS can help with is the identification of 'fragile learners'. These pupils have a history of high attainment, are well-behaved and cooperative but, as such, can remain 'invisible'– meaning that, if, for some reason they have attitudinal, self-worth or motivational difficulties, for example, staff will only find out when it is too late and these student attitudes have already affected their attainment.

By integrating and plotting attainment data alongside PASS measure 2 (perceived learning capability) these fragile learners can be identified transparently and with proactive intervention. This early identification can have a major impact on results. As an example, one secondary school combined their PASS profiles with GCSE attainment data to preventatively reduce the number of fragile learners and become one of the most improved Colleges in their region in just two years.


“The information we get from the survey is just so valuable; it ensures we are doing everything possible to make the most of our students’ capabilities.”
Graeme Sawyer, director of inclusion at Royal Manor Arts College (RMAC)