What is Point-In-Time Assessment?

We’ve noticed that the vast majority of schools who are changing their tracking methods, are moving away from linear tracking to a Point-In-Time Assessment (PITA) solution.

Schools and MATs have told us that the PITA model fits perfectly with the philosophy of the current curriculum.

Read on to learn how this can help improve your school.

Linear vs PITA

I will use an example to explain the difference between linear and PITA tracking models.

As you know, many schools employ various numbers of codes and descriptors to record a pupil’s ability within a programme of study. In this example I’ve used four: Emerging, Working Towards, At Standards and Greater Depth. The PITA model however, will work with any set of codes and descriptors, regardless of how many a school uses.


In a linear model, a school may use At Standards to refer to a pupil having understood the majority of the curriculum. This would mean it’s highly unlikely that a pupil could be recorded as At Standards or Greater Depth until the summer term – because, they simply haven’t been taught enough of the curriculum yet, there’s not been enough time!

So, most pupils will be recorded a Working Towards early in the year, and therefore it becomes very difficult to report the difference in pupils’ abilities until the Spring and Summer terms.


If a school decides At Standards means that a pupil is working comfortably with what has been taught to date, then they have made the shift to PITA.

This simple change in philosophy, means that pupils could be deemed as Emerging, Working Towards, At Standards or Greater Depth within any term. Pupils don’t have to cover the majority of the curriculum to be identified as such.

But what about progress?

For schools using the PITA method, progress can be evidenced by a teacher assessment. Gone are the days when progress is measured by points and numbers, and teachers know their pupils better than any numbering system in any tracking software! Some examples of how to do this would be:

Example 1

Predict an attainment code (or descriptor) for the end of each term. You should apply the knowledge you have of the pupils, including prior attainment and information regarding their emotional and social context etc etc. Then, once you have an outcome of an actual assessment, you simply compare the expected vs the actual to determine if each pupil has made appropriate progress.

Example 2

At the end of each term you would record a ‘progress descriptor’ as an outcome of on-going book reviews and scrutiny of the pupils’ work.

Both of these examples will allow you to analyse progress for each pupil, groups of pupils, the cohort and the whole school.

Progress using Prior Attainment Groups (PAGs)

In addition to looking at progress of teacher assessments, many schools and MATs are now using prior attainment (EYFS and/or KS1) to create PAGs to analyse expected progress. This is a blog in itself, which we will address in the coming weeks!

Find out more

If you want to find out more (whether you’re a current OTrack user or not), please book an online consultation. Or, if you would prefer a session in school, please book a demo here.

We will discuss your current tracking methods and establish if we can help you move to a PITA model.

Get Started now ...

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