Interacting with the Interactive Transition Matrices

The 2013 Interactive Transition Matrices are here!

This is exciting for me because they form the basis of all our in-school analysis, targets and performance review. Which – if you like – you can read about here. Originally – the word from RAISEonline was that they would only be providing static matrices for English and maths this year. This wasn’t going to scupper our analysis plans because we still felt that even the 2012 matrices provided a relevant guide to the sort of targeting and performance that we were looking to achieve. However, now as Kristian Still demonstrates here in his blog, there has been a U-turn on this decision which is probably due to the importance that many school leaders place on the transition matrices to inform their data strategy and the use of them in schools to identify areas to challenge and improve.

So aside from the obvious KS2-KS4 transition comparisons for each of the 40 GCSE subjects they cover, they also tell us how the proportions of students making expected or greater progress (EP+) in each subject over time. In the chart below, I have compared the change in the proportion making EP+ for each subject area between 2011 and 2013. As you can see, for the majority of subjects less progress is now being made. Is this a reflection on the toughening up of GCSEs, stricter marking etc? Why do maths and statistics buck the pattern? Is that because answers are either right or wrong and there are fewer questions that are open to interpretation?


There are plenty of ways you can unpick the information in the transition matrices, many of them extremely useful to individual subjects, however next I am going to write a little bit about a whole school element of the transition matrices that is oft overlooked.

So when you open the matrices file from RAISEonline you are presented with the lookups tab where you can scroll through and look at the conversions to each GCSE grade from each starting point.

However the fourth option on the drop down menu, provides a whole school layer of interest:


This option provides the user with an alternative table, which shows nationally the proportions of students who achieve 5+A*-C including English and maths from each KS2 average starting level, below I replicate the percentage table that you get:


So why can this be useful? Well, we know the overall national percentage for students achieving 5+A*-C including English and maths in state funded schools is 60.6%. This is what the sub-levels and conversions above relate to. However how many schools have the same proportions of KS2 sub-level distribution to national? Not very many.

So, if you take your students who are 3a on average and more than 12% of them are achieving 5+A*-C including En glish and maths then I would say you compare favourably to national, for attainment from that particular sub-level, as long as your 3a cohort size wasn’t tiny. Compare this across all the starting levels and you might start to build a different picture of your attainment outcomes, compared to national.

How do you find the average starting sub-level of each student?

As an aside, you should remember that for last year’s Y11 (2013) and this year’s Y11 this consists of an average of English, maths and science KS2 outcomes. For other year groups, it is just an average of KS2 English and maths. Current Y10 remains a particularly tricky year group to get precise information for as many primary schools boycott the tests in that year.

I calculate the average starting sub-level of the student by downloading their KS2 data from keytosuccess and finding the column called ‘cvaaps’ a relic from CVA calculations. This is given a points score – i.e. 24.3, I then convert this point score to a sublevel by converting at 2 point intervals.


24 – 25.99 = 4C

26 – 27.99 = 4B

28 – 29.99 = 4A


However you can probably also get this information and perhaps even the sub-level itself from a source such as FFT. I just like to get the whole file from keytosuccess, with marks and all – that’s why I do it this way.

So… it would be unlike me to finish this post without providing some sort of spreadsheet for you to use… so here is a link to a file that will allow the comparison on the 5+A-C measure to national based on the starting level of students in your school:

It looks like this and is really simple to use, just put your data into the grey cells.


Thank you for reading.



3 thoughts on “Interacting with the Interactive Transition Matrices

  1. Natasha Fellowes May 2, 2014 / 11:24 am

    Hi, I’m looking forward to using the file that will allow the comparison on the 5+A-C measure to national based on the starting level of students in my school, but when I click on your link, the tool doesn’t allow me to input any values. It suggested I use Google Chrome, so I did, but same problem – it’s acting more like an image than a spreadsheet. Any tips? Tash

    • Natasha Fellowes May 2, 2014 / 12:12 pm

      I’ve managed to download it now, thanks very much! Tash

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s