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Frequently asked questions

Quick answers to some common questions.

I've forgotten my FFT Aspire password
What is my FFT Aspire username?

Your username is your account email address.

How does FFT calculate benchmark estimates in FFT Aspire?

FFT calculates estimates from the Value-Added score of pupils in the previous year’s results datasets. Each student has a unique set of estimates which are calculated from the results and Value-Added scores of students similar to them. Similar students are identified by their:

  • Prior attainment (their previous Key Stage assessments)
  • Gender
  • Month of birth
How is the 'Your School' figure calculated?

The “Your school” percentile rank is based on the school’s weighted Value-Added score over the last three years for Average Points Score in the selected subject. Greater weight is given to the most recent data: the most recent year is given a weighting of 3, the previous year a weighting of 2 and the year before that a weighting of 1. For example, if a school had the same number of pupils in each cohort, the weighted VA score would be the sum of 50% of the VA score for 2016, 33% of the VA score for 2015 and 17% of the VA score for 2014.

FFT then compares the school’s weighted VA rank to all other mainstream schools nationally and calculate a percentile rank.

What is the difference between FFT 50, 20 and 5 estimates?

FFT benchmarks are based on how similar pupils nationally performed in the subject last year (similar pupils are defined as similar prior attainment, gender and month of birth).

There are three options available:

  • Average – schools that made the average progress last year (FFT50 – 50th percentile progress)
  • High – schools that made greater than average progress (FFT20 – 20th percentile progress)
  • Very High – schools that made much greater than average progress (FFT5 – 5th percentile progress).

Increasing the level of challenge will increase the benchmark values. The “Your school” ranking is a good starting point for target setting discussions at school level.

Why won't my pupils match through importing?

There could be a number of factors preventing matching. To put the matching process in context, the imported file is checked against the DfE’s census return that is reflected in Aspire (this may not be the most recent) and any matching pupils are then added to the school’s records in Aspire. Factors such as incorrect UPN, Date of Birth and Gender can lead to a match not being found, therefore a user should ensure that these details exactly reflect the National Pupil Dataset. A pupil may also not have appeared in a census return for various reasons.

How are High, Medium and Lower (HML) bands calculated in FFT Aspire?

FFT’s HML bands for target setting differ to the Department for Education fixed thresholds in that FFT rank all pupils within a cohort based on the full range of available prior attainment data, (test and teacher assessment), and then break the ranks into exact thirds. This has the effect of defining a pupil’s performance relative to all pupils in the same year group; whereas the DfE method defines the general make up of a year group comparative to the other year groups based on fixed thresholds. However, the HML bands for self-evaluation, FFT has adopted the Department for Education’s calculations. (See HML for more information)

Where can I find my early results analysis report?

If you are successfully logged on to FFT, go to your down arrow on the top right of your screen and select FFT Special Reports. All reports are shown there in most recent date order. Click on the blue link on the left to download the report.

Why are my Year 1s, Year 3s and Year 12s without benchmarks?

If this is a new autumn term, the benchmarks will update during October, if the school took part in the early results service.

Why are my Year 7s without benchmarks?

If this is a new autumn term, the benchmarks will update later in the term (September – December), if the school took part in the CAT4 assessment submission.

Where are the Question Level Analysis (QLA) reports?

These are shown in your FFT Special Reports section of your login (top right ‘down arrow’ and then Special Reports).

In Target Setting, what do the codes mean for 'A', 'N', 'B', and 'W' ?

In Target setting these refer to the following:

  • A (“Above national standard”) = working at greater depth within the expected standard (GDS);
  • N (“National Standard”) = working towards the expected standard (EXS);
  • W (“Working towards” = working towards the expected standard (WTS);
  • B (“Below national standard”) = working below the standard of national curriculum assessments (BLW)

What version of Census is FFT currently using?

FFT is using the Summer Census for 2019. Further updates for Census are expected later this year.

Why in Student Explorer does a student not exist but in Target Setting they do exist?

In Student Explorer this is based on the Census data we have been sent from the DFE (which might not be recent). In Target setting, these are the students from Census along with any Pupils that the school may have imported, either manually or via Data Exchange.

Data exchange FAQs

We have run 'Check for updates' to import pupils via Data Exchange, but Pupil Tracker is still missing students even though they are showing in FFT Aspire. Why is this happening?

Even though you have run ‘Check for Updates‘ in Aspire, you will also need to run ‘Check for updates‘ in Pupil Assessment Tracker, as these are separate functions.

Make sure you have Manage Data and Pupil Tracking Create / Edit Assessment access rights (set by your local administrator), then click ‘Create Assessment‘ option, and then click ‘Check for Updates‘ to update the Pupil Tracker. (See Create Assessments for more information).

When clicking 'Check for updates' to import pupils via Data Exchange, the import takes ages and does not complete. The 'whirring icon' is showing. Why doesn't it complete?

This can sometimes happen during busy periods. Click on ‘Manage Imports‘ to check if it has actually completed. The most recent import will be shown at the top of the list in Manage Imports. If the import has not completed (i.e. does not exist) then this is usually a local issue at school, possibly a firewall setting, which prevents the site to complete the import (check this with your local IT Support). You could also try clearing your Chrome browser cache. If you are still having issues, please email support@fft.org.uk

Assessment tracker FAQs

In Assessment Tracker, NFER tests, SPAG have separate papers for Grammar and Spelling, but FFT are asking for one standardised score?

For now please just add the Grammar score. FFT will look at adding Spelling separately later

In Assessment tracker the years are duplicated Y1 Y1, Y2 Y2 etc when creating an assessment

It will be worth running ‘check for updates’ again in Create Assessment, this usually fixes this issue.

Why is our Pupil Assessment tracker showing zeros for Year 1 attainment when we have entered assessment results?

This is because if the estimates are zero for Year 1, the attainment in the reporting for Year 1 in Pupil Assessment tracker is also shown as zero. This is to prevent showing a meaningless difference figure. This will correct itself when EYFS prior attainment is updated on the site.

How to export from Assessment tracker?

Currently there is a Print option only available to you at the moment, via the Print icon. Export features might be added at a later date.

KS4 / KS5 early results upload FAQs

Error message is showing a row number but there are not any mistakes in that row?

There was a known minor bug where it will show a row number which is 3 rows out, e.g. Row 10 should read Row 13 etc. However, this has since been corrected. 

The KS4 / KS5 Early Results spreadsheet is protected with validation, can this be removed so I can amend the spreadsheet?

Yes some schools also want to use ‘vlookup’ function in Excel for populating this. As it stands the spreadsheet is locked with validation but you can do the following:

Copy the downloaded spreadsheet (use top left cell to select all) to a new spreadsheet (top left cell – select all) but paste as values to remove the validation. This will then allow you to use ‘vlookups’. After updating, you can then copy & paste back to the original spreadsheet just the values for the grades and then submit the upload.

Where can I find more guidance?

Guidance can be found throughout this Support site as well as in FFT Aspire itself. Switch on Aspire Assistance (from the top-right of any report) to get advice on each part of a report.
If you are an administrator, please refer to the Administration section within this Help content.
If you have any further queries regarding FFT Aspire or your data, please email our support team on support@fft.org.uk or call on 01446 776 262 (option 2).

Updated on 16th September 2020

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