Why do we assess?
Our assessment provides valuable information to help children, teachers, parents and school leaders to acknowledge, analyse and review achievements and progress in learning against expected standards. Our assessments inform our immediate and long term planning. Our assessment gives:
- Children/Students - the learners – an understanding of where they are secure, what it is that they need to do to rectify any gaps and the next steps needed to extend their learning
- Teachers the detailed knowledge of their pupils’ achievements which they can use to inform future learning, their planning and their teaching
- Parents and carers regular reports on their child’s progress in meeting expectations and ensures that teachers, pupils and parents can work together to secure learning and raise standards for all children
- School leaders and governors information that they can analyse and use to make decisions about future actions to improve standards, learning and teaching in the school
- External agencies and partners (such as those schools organisations in which a pupil will receive the next stage of his/her education, or the Council, the DfE and Ofsted) the evidence that we know our pupils well and set and maintain high standards in learning and teaching as part of our accountability to our pupils’ future.
What are schools and settings statutorily required to assess?
Teachers carry out day to day assessments and checks on pupils’ understanding and progress as part of their day to day teaching. Statutory, formal assessment procedures and examinations also exist to measure attainment against national standards. Our pupils’ achievements are compared nationally with all those pupils of the same age and against schools in the local authority and in England. These formal assessments include:
- An end of Early Years Foundation Stage assessment
- We monitor how well pupils are achieving and the extent to which they are meeting identified expectations in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which helps to identify those who are achieving a good level of development and those who we need to give additional help.
- The Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1
- It assess pupils’ phonic skills as part of early reading
- End of Key Stage 1
- Schools currently draw on a test and teacher assessments to help us to assess whether pupils are making progress and are achieving national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Our teachers also assess pupils’ achievements in speaking and listening and science.
- End of Key Stage 2
- Pupils take statutory tests that assess whether pupils achieve national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. We also assess pupils’ progress over the key stage.
Assessment practices at Emmanuel
Our assessment practices continue to provide information about pupils’ attainment and progress. They involve marking pupils’ work and providing written and oral feedback that identifies successes and the next steps for improvement and checking that they have responded to this feedback. We continue to engage pupils in the whole assessment process by building self-assessment strategies into our teaching. We provide periodic summaries of attainment and progress through in-class tests, teacher assessment and the formal externally set tests.
We want pupils, teachers, parents to have confidence in our assessments and to use this information to help everyone be involved in raising standards for all our children. Good assessment requires attention to detail and analytical skill. It involves teachers in: asking questions and interpreting answers; observing behaviours and responses to tasks; knowing if and when to intervene; and drawing on a wide range of evidence to build up a picture of a learner’s strengths and weaknesses.
What are the key features of our assessment procedures?
Our assessment procedures give attention to helping pupils to meet or exceed national expectations and achieve the highest standards they can over each key stage of their learning. The National Curriculum sets out what our pupils are to learn but we decide how we are to assess our pupils’ attainment and progress over the key stage. Our assessment procedures will:
- Make clear to all pupils our expectations in terms of learning behaviours
- Set out the attitudes and behaviours we expect of pupils when in the classroom
- Show them how work is to be presented in their books and establish that any unacceptable work is to be done again to the standard required by the school
- Tell pupils that they will succeed and acknowledge how and when they are becoming successful learners to establish self-confidence and good learning behaviour.
- Share learning objectives with pupils
- Share learning objectives at the beginning of a phase of learning – a unit of work, a week or a lesson as appropriate, and highlight them during the lesson and in plenaries, using language that pupils understand
- Use these objectives as the basis for questioning and feedback during the learning activities as well as in plenaries
- Use this assessment to inform planning and to make any adjustments to the learning objectives for the week and future weeks
- Refer pupils back to earlier learning objectives to demonstrate and review progress over time
- Help pupils to recognise the standards they are to achieve and have already achieved
- Share and discuss pupils’ work explaining how and why they have met the standards expected
- Give pupils clear success criteria that relate to the learning objectives
- Set clear and shared expectations about the presentation of work and model how this is to be achieved with examples to set out standards
- Display examples of pupils’ work-in-progress as part of a working wall
- Involve pupils in self-assessment and peer-assessment
- Provide time for pupils to read teacher’s feedback and assess how successfully they carried out the tasks set
- Give pupils opportunities to talk in pairs or small groups about what they have learned, what they have found difficult and what they might do differently to improve
- Ask pupils to explain the steps in their thinking and justify their decisions and reasoning
- Model with pupils the language of assessment that they can use to review their own and their peer’s learning and to identify next steps in learning
- Establish a classroom ethos that enables a critical review of work to be undertaken that is seen as positive and not taken as any personal criticism
- Engage the pupils in feedback through their responses to teacher’s comments and giving pupils a short additional challenge to carry out that highlights what they have learned or what they need to correct
- Provide feedback which leads to pupils recognising their next steps and how to take them
- Provide immediate oral feedback that helps pupils to identify mistakes, correct errors and take the next steps needed to move their learning on
- Mark work sharing criteria, give feedback and identify next steps and targets
- Acknowledge success and give positive feedback but avoid giving excessive or underserved praise
- Ensure feedback is constructive and identifies what a child has done well, what needs to be done to improve, and how to do it
- Identify the next steps for individual pupils and where appropriate for groups who can collaborate on a common approach to improvement or progress
- Involve teachers and pupils in reviewing and reflecting on assessment information
- Identify carefully progressed steps in learning through the learning outcomes and success criteria to enable pupils to see their progress, thus building confidence and self-esteem
- Use appropriate tasks that will provide us with quality assessment information by showing pupils’ thinking as well as the answer
- Provide time for pupils and teachers to reflect on what they have learned and understood, and to identify where they still have difficulties
- In the light of our assessments evaluate teaching effectiveness and deployment of resources, learning tasks and organisation of learners, and make any adjustments to improve learning and raise standards
What assessment procedure are we using to track and measure attainment and progress at Emmanuel?
In September 2014 a new National Curriculum was introduced, bringing in significant differences to what children are learning and subsequently how they are assessed. It is important to note that the new National Curriculum is harder than the last one. For example many of the knowledge, skills and understanding in maths that would typically have been taught in Year 4 under the old curriculum are now expected to be taught and mastered in Year 3 or some even in Year 2.
In September 2015 the Government has also withdrew the level descriptions for all year groups. Levels have gone. Your child will no longer be assessed as a level 2a or 5c etc. as they don’t exist. Equally there is no agreed national method of assessing a child’s mastery of the objectives for each year, nor their progress within the new curriculum. The responsibility for this lies entirely with the school in how they independently measure progress.
At Emmanuel we have implemented an approach that uses a system called ‘Target Tracker’. Children are now measured against age expected progress against a range of learning statements. We refer to this as Age Related Expectations (ARE). Year groups are referred to as Bands. Bands are 1-6 which broadly correlate to year groups e.g. an average Y4 child will be working within Band 4. The bands are then broken up into six steps:
|Band Group||Step description||Child voice|
Eg Band 1
|Beginning (B)||You’ve begun|
|Beginning+ (B+)||You’ve started learning|
|Working within (W)||You’re getting the hang of it|
|Working within+ (W+)||You’re becoming confident|
|Secure (S)||You’ve got it|
|Secure+ (S+)||You can teach it!|
Children may not fall exactly into the same band as the majority of their year group as all children are different. However, this is no different than before as children work at a variety of levels and paces. Throughout the year the teacher ticks the statements according to the level of understanding that a child has achieved. It is important to remember that it is not where the children begin that matters but where they finish and the progress they make.
What procedures will be in place to ensure assessment is rigorous?
We will draw on the expertise that is available in our school, locally and in partnership with other schools, and nationally. We will implement monitoring and evaluation procedures and maintain a continuing overview of the whole in-school assessment through:
- Monitoring of pupils’ work
- Provide time for subject and phase leaders to carry out regular scrutiny of work to monitor pitch and expectations, coverage, marking and feedback in books and to review pupils’ progress with their teachers (See also pupil progress meetings below)
- Senior leaders will carry out learning walks and lesson observations, review books and interview pupils about their learning and steps to improve
- Senior leaders will quality assure the strengths and weaknesses identified by staff following their own and subject or phase leaders analyses of progress and standards in learning
- Moderation across year groups and phases of learning
- Provide time for key staff to carry out regular moderation of assessment and standards within and across key stages and with other schools
- Set out clear expectations about marking and feedback to pupils that everyone puts into practice
- Collect examples of pupils’ work that highlight standards, common mistakes and effective assessment and feedback that staff can refer to when underrating moderation exercises
- Formal testing
- Use past test papers and commercially produced materials to provide an independent check on how well pupils are doing and to compare outcomes against judgements made using a range of other assessment evidence
- Use item analyses of these tests to find out where there are areas of overall strength and weakness in pupils’ knowledge in order to inform how we organise and teach this in future
- Pupil progress meetings
- Senior leaders and teachers together carry out a review of pupils’ progress in each class and identify the extent to which pupils are meeting expectations
- Analyse ongoing and past performance data against expectations to review and if necessary set new or revised targets for pupils to achieve and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention and assessment strategies
- Use the outcomes of the meeting to target intervention for groups and to review the provision map for pupils across the ability spectrum
- Professional development and support
- Key staff attend local meetings to learn more about assessment and reporting arrangements
- Cross-schools moderation events provide an opportunity to ensure expectations are set at the right level and pitch
- Local authority provision and support includes updated curriculum maps and schemes that highlight the key learning in core subjects and offer model for assessment
- Parents’ evenings and meetings
- Provide opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child’s progress and to highlight any key issues that are affecting the child’s learning
- Update parents on changes to the curriculum and assessment arrangements, and identify ways in which they can support their child’s learning
- Discuss the assessments and comments in pupils’ books and statutory reports to parents