How CENTURY has helped Bradford College improve GCSE resit results

Posted on 26th November 2021

Posted by CENTURY

For millions of students, the last two years have changed education forever, with schools and colleges having adapted to new methods of teaching and learning. 

Throughout this challenging time, Bradford College’s partnership with CENTURY has helped students to reach their potential in English and maths, while promoting a longer-term positive change in the way that students learn.

Improving English and maths grades had previously been a long-standing challenge for the college, where 48% of learners arrive without an English or maths GCSE grade of 4-9 – a figure that is 17% higher than the sector average. The college has also had historically low high-grade achievement rates.

Fortunately, the tide is turning. The students who resat their maths and English GCSEs in the last academic year did their tutors and lecturers proud, achieving the college’s best ever set of resit results.   

The correlation between this grade increase and use of CENTURY was clear: the more English and maths work students completed on the platform, the higher their grade.

We spoke to Adrian Hutchinson, the college's Head of English and Maths, to learn more. 

Using CENTURY to support all students

Adrian said: “CENTURY benefits all learners. We see it as a diagnostic assessment tool, to find out what skills gaps our students have. It can also help demonstrate whether they’ve mastered a set of key skills before they’ve moved onto another area of study.”

“All the evidence points to the value of CENTURY in achieving passing grades. If students choose not to use it, they are disadvantaging themselves.”

The college faced a number of unique challenges last year, including the number of students who were unable to attend online classes due to digital poverty and the lack of teaching time since the start of lockdown. 

To help address these issues, CENTURY was used as a supportive tool to complement classroom work. The formative assessments on the platform were used to identify students’ skills gaps and the AI determined what content to push to fill in those gaps, helping tutors to target interventions when necessary and enabling students to make progress independently. 

Students have been very positive feedback about the platform. One student said: “I find it really useful. I can use it to revise things I have already covered but it also explains new topics. I think that at revision time it will be my most useful tool.

Driving engagement

Through the 2020/21 year, the college was proactive in driving engagement on CENTURY. Every email sent to students about the GCSE November resits ended with a reminder about the importance of getting onto CENTURY to develop their skills, and an automatic reply was set up on the college’s central email inbox with instructions on how to log into the platform.

Using the usage reports provided by CENTURY, Adrian went one step further and worked out the average number of nuggets completed and identified learners who were using CENTURY less than the average student. He emailed each of those students to inform them that while it was great that they were using CENTURY, they had been doing so less than their peers. The college also held a presentation ceremony for the users who completed the most nuggets, using the event to encourage more students to engage.  

To outline the high expectations on students’ use of CENTURY going forward, an email was sent to all students at the start of the 2021/22 academic year. Between October 2021 and May 2022, students are expected to spend a minimum of 100 hours on CENTURY, which averages out at three hours per week. An average score of over 75% in the nuggets (micro-lessons) they complete is also required. 

What impact has CENTURY had on students’ results?

Once grades had been awarded for the 2020/21 academic year, the college carried out a review of CENTURY’s efficacy in developing GCSE resit students’ English and maths skills. Their analysis looked into the number of nuggets completed set against the grades awarded, as can be seen below, showing a clear correlation between the two. 

For both maths and English, the number of nuggets completed increased by a significant amount as the grade improved. This suggests that on average, the more nuggets students complete, the higher their GCSE grade will be. 

Learners who were awarded a grade 4 completed an average of 43 English nuggets and 57 maths nuggets.

The review also found that there was a positive linear relationship between the amount of nuggets completed and the number of grades improved from each student’s starting point. 

Thanks to a combination of the college’s clear implementation plan, the high expectations set for tutors and learners and a positive approach to learning, Bradford College achieved their best ever set of English and maths resit results in 2021. 

Learn more about how CENTURY is helping FE colleges to supercharge their teaching and learning.