Last Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mind the Gap – A guidance document for impacting attainment through data analysis in North Lanarkshire

What is this?

​This exemplar includes a guidance document which has been provided to schools in North Lanarkshire. It is designed to support headteachers and schools in analysing the data they have on pupils and to use this analysis to plan and implement appropriate interventions to raise the attainment of all pupils as well as take effective action to narrow the attainment gap.

Who is this for?

​All staff involved in education at any level may find this document useful.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

The guidance document can be used by staff at all levels to help them analyse data in order to identify positive trends and any attainment gaps. Effective analysis of data can help ensure that any interventions or improvements are targeted appropriately and tracked carefully to monitor impact.

Improvement questions:

  • How well do we record, analyse and use assessment information to identify development needs for individual learners and specific groups?
  • How well can we demonstrate improved attainment for groups and individuals facing barriers to learning including poverty?
  • How well do we make use of a range of valid, reliable and relevant assessment tools and approaches to support the improvement of children and young people?
  • How well do we use digital solutions to support the interrogation of data?
  • How do we know that the changes we have made have improved outcomes for children?


PDF file: Mind the Gap - Impacting attainment through data analysis (512 KB)

Explore the exemplar

What was done?

During session 2015-16 North Lanarkshire created ‘families of schools’ as part of its approach to developing a self-improving schools system. Each family consists of a small number of schools who have similarities in terms of the school role and the proportion of pupils in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 1-3. During this first year the headteachers within each school got to know each other and each school. They met regularly to learn from each other and develop approaches to improvement.

Within the same period, as part of its approach to the Scottish Attainment Challenge, North Lanarkshire developed an authority wide, electronic monitoring and tracking system. This system allows schools to monitor and track a range of data including data from standardised assessments and CfE levels at the touch of a button.

The ‘Mind the Gap’ guidance was produced and distributed to headteachers at the start of session 2016-17 in order to help them focus their discussions around data within their family groups and to monitor and track attainment and identify gaps within each school.


With the introduction of the electronic monitoring and tracking system North Lanarkshire were keen to ensure that schools didn’t just ‘have’ a whole range of data at their fingertips but that they were provided with guidance about how it might be used to deliver both excellence and equity.