Use data to set targets

You can use data to set and review challenging but achievable targets. If you share and review the targets regularly with pupils it can help reduce their underperformance in science.

You can use assessment data and information to:

  • set challenging but achievable numerical targets
  • secure good progress for all pupils
  • address underperformance.

Strategies for use in school

Senior leaders, science subject leaders and teachers can review their practice against the Strategies and outcomes for know the gap in science.

Setting and reviewing targets

Pupils who make good progress between the ages of 11 and 16 usually improve by at least three levels. Vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils may have fallen behind their peers, so provide them with targets that stretch them in order for them to make faster progress to bring them back on track.

In successful schools where pupils make good progress they:

  • know their targets
  • understand their targets
  • know what to do to reach their targets
  • accelerate their progress.

How do I use targets to help pupils make progress?

Pupils should know what to do to make progress in science and reach their targets. It is important that you:

  • give them ideas of small steps they can make in their learning so they, and their parents/carers, are clear what they have to do next.
  • use Learning Targets materials to help pupils know their next small step in learning.
  • use the National Strategies science Framework Strategies for progression to support longer term planning.


  • Identify a pupil who was at level 5 at the end of Key Stage 2 who could be making outstanding progress but isn't.
  • Suggest some possible long-term targets that would enable him/her to achieve level 8 by the end of Key Stage 3.
  • Review the pupil's work, and identify barriers to their progress.
  • Use the Learning Targets materials to support your judgements and identify next steps.
  • Share the targets with the pupils and their parents/carers.

Further information is available on Using data to set targets for SEN pupils.