AS Tracking FAQ
The brain regulates our social and emotional steering through a region called the hippocampus. The hippocampus serves like our ‘mental taxi driver’: it steers our emotional and social responses down familiar and repetitive routes. So, a pupil’s current hippocampal pattern indicates their future mental route. The AS Tracking assessment measures the pupil’s 'mental taxi driver route' to provide us with an indicator of the pupil’s steering and their specific risks from poor self-regulation. For a fuller answer read the paper AS Tracking, how the assessment measures self-regulation on the Research page.
In 2015 we studied the reliability of AS Tracking with 2,900 male and female pupils aged 13-17 at 15 different schools round the UK. AS Tracking was able to correctly detect 82% of pupils with heightened risks of either self-harm, being bullied or not coping with the pressure at school, including other risks. This means that, out of every 100 pupils, AS Tracking will detect and identify the mental health and social competency risks of 82 correctly, including those who are trying to 'fake' the assessment.
Evidence of AS Tracking impact is obtained by directly comparing the number of pupils whose steering biases reduce when supported by AS Tracking, compared to those who are not supported by AS Tracking. In 2017, the most recent study, data from 12 schools involving more than 200 pupils showed that pupils supported by AS Tracking made almost twice the progress of other pupils in the same school toward improved affective-social biases over a 6 month period. Pupils were unaware of which group they were in, or that they were part of a study.
We provide schools with template letters that you can adapt and then send out to parents to introduce AS Tracking. We also provide an introductory PPT to show to parents, and documents on data protection in the light of the GDPR. Our key messages include why the school is choosing to use AS Tracking, how the data will be held and used, and what opportunities you choose to give them to discuss their child's data.
When schools attend one of our AS Tracking training day as part of their enquiry about the product, they are provided with a log in to try out the assessment themselves. Details of our forthcoming training days can be obtained from [firstname.lastname@example.org]().
During your initial staff training, you will be given advice on how to introduce AS Tracking to your pupils. The key messages are:
- AS Tracking helps teachers understand and track how pupils are developing emotionally and socially at school.
- Just like school tracks your academic progress, AS Tracking tracks how you are developing emotionally and socially.
- It will help your teachers to understand you better and to make sure that each of you gets the right pastoral support at the right time to help you to develop in a healthy and rounded way.
- It is important that you take the assessment as seriously as you do any other assessment in school.
- Whilst the AS Tracking assessment may feel unusual, it has been developed by psychologists and tested with tens of thousands of children. so you can trust it.
- It will take less than 20 minutes and will be done twice a year.
- Only your teachers will see your AS Tracking assessment data; if we share it with anyone else we will tell you.
Finally, it is important to remember that when a pupil logs in to their AS Tracking platform, they will watch the 2 minute age-specific video explaining what, why and how to complete the assessment before they can begin.
There are some words within the visualisation which may unfamiliar to a pupil for whom English is an additional language. To support these pupils, a visual has been created to illustrate the meaning of these words, and guidance has been provided. It is advisable for teachers who have pupils with EAL in their class to complete the assessment themselves, noting any language or concepts which may be unfamiliar to a pupil.
The questions have been carefully written to be accessible to children of around the age of eight. The language is purposefully concrete, the syntax kept simple and the choices of responses are kept as repetitive as possible throughout. The visualisation is spoken to pupils through headphones, to lessen the amount of reading. It is strongly advisable for teachers of younger pupils to complete the assessment themselves so they can identify and support any pupils who may need additional reading support as they do the assessment.
Whilst pupils younger than eight could access the assessment, their data would be less useable. Our research shows that the younger the pupils, the more likely they are to have polar biases; this is what we would expect given that self-regulation is a skill that develops over time as children mature. By the age of eight, we would expect those biases to be more regulated. The AS Tracking assessment identifies those pupils whose self-regulation is not improving as they mature– those pupils who are developing patterns of behaviour which are limiting or unhealthy. Whilst pupils of eight are more likely to have polar biases in their scores, their first set of data provides a baseline for their ongoing tracking.
It is not possible to say that a pupil cannot filter the questions, however it is less likely given the AS Tracking assessment methodology. Traditional self reports ask pupils to recall how they respond in different real life situations; pupils often give the answer they know is 'right' or report on what they want people to think they do, rather than what they actually do. The AS Tracking assessment invites pupils to create an imaginary context in which they are asked how they would respond to a number of imagined cues. The cues are purposefully neutral, and the signficance of any particular response is not obvious. The timing, variation and pattern of pupils' responses are more likely to indicate instinctive and embedded patterns of behaviour rather than responses to situations which tell you what you already know about them. For a fuller answer read the paper AS Tracking, how the assessment measures self-regulation on the Research page.
Typically, around 10% of an adolscent group are flagged for action planning. In addition, a further 10-15% are often highlighted as having patterns to watch carefully as they may lead to unhealthy behaviours or risks if continued. The AS Tracking system has a system of icons which flag for specific risks.
AS Tracking confirms, adds to and guides teachers' professional judgement, as well as reliably evidencing the impact of targeted interventions, ensuring rigorous pastoral care is not left to chance. Pupils already identified in the school's welfare systems will almost always be identified by AS Tracking. In addition, a number of pupils (a further 10-15%) who are NOT to be already on any welfare lists are typically identified. AS Tracking therefore provides confirmation of teacher's existing professional judgements, as well as additional early-identification of pupils not picked up by even the most experienced and intuitive of teachers.When providing both confirmation and early-identification, AS Tracking often delivers more precise, psychologically accurate diagnosis than teachers' best intuition, as well as well-evidenced targets and strategies to be put in place, the impact of which can then be subsequently measured.
AS Tracking was developed by accredited professional members of the British Psychological Society (BPS). The BPS accredits psychometric questionnaires designed to measure fixed psychological characteristics. AS Tracking measures a fluid and emerging cognitive function and therefore does not fit the criteria for tools that the BPS is set up to accredit. Instead, STEER publishes all its research and development papers as part of its transparent, rigorous and scientific methodology in order to demonstrate the reliability, validity and efficacy of AS Tracking.
AS Tracking has been developed as a professional tool to support teachers in guiding and informing their pastoral care. The action plans are intended to support teachers in knowing how to direct proactive, intentional, targeted support to pupils which is often very low level and not made explicit to pupils.The intention is for early intervention,with the action plans identifying pupils who are developing limiting or unhealthy patterns of behaviour and targeting low level support to address a specific developmental need; they are not welfare plans supporting pupils who are developing patterns of behaviour which actually place them at risk. Sharing action plans with pupils may lead to confusion, raising pupils' anxiety they that they are in some way struggling. This may influence pupils' willingness to engage with the assessment in a meaningful way.
However, schools are encouraged to provide opportunities for their Y13 pupils in their final year of school, to understand & reflect on their individual AS Tracking history. This has proved to be powerful in helping pupils prepare for adult life beyond school. A new APP called USTEER, is being built which will enable pupils to take their AS Tracking data with them, and continue tracking their own welfare whilst at university or college.
Yes. STEER maintains the highest standards in data protection and has already implemented the necessary changes to be compliant with the GDPR. Your children's assessment data, and any personal information the school and STEER hold will be treated with the strictest confidence and only shared with the relevant members of pastoral staff. STEER will store all data about your children securely, and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. STEER provides schools and parents with clear data agreements to such that informed consent can be given.
Under the ISI inspection regime, UK independent schools are required to demonstrate how their education provision results in personal development for pupils. AS Tracking provides an effective and efficient way of collecting comprehensive tracking data on pupils' personal development from 8-18. At the same time, every individual pupil action plan is recorded and can be provided as evidence by the school of what they have done to support a child. Headteachers have indicated to us that they intend to use AS Tracking as a means of fulfilling their ISI requirements.