Assessment is a vital tool for helping children make progress in their learning. Not only does it allow teachers to identify individual pupil needs but also curricular and whole school areas for development. Assessment, recording and reporting information is used in our school by all staff and governors to identify the priority areas in our school development and improvement plans. Core subject coordinators and the Special Educational Needs coordinator (SENCo) utilize data and target setting to identify areas of concern in their subjects, as do class teachers.
It is important for all schools to know how children are performing within their school, both in terms of the progress children have made over a set period of time and the standard at which they are attaining. The 2014 National Curriculum has removed the old use of levels, instead setting out yearly objectives within the core subjects. The new philosophy for assessment has changed, with the emphasis being on broadening and deepening pupil’s knowledge and understanding within the yearly objective and not moving pupils on to the next year group’s objective. This shift has challenged schools to ensure all pupil’s are sufficiently challenged and to also rethink the methods in which they are assessing pupils as well as how this information is shared with pupils and parents.
At Wansdyke School we believe that assessment, recording, reporting and target setting should:
- Be both formative and summative.
- Be a tool to enhance learning.
- Offer all pupils an opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do.
- Be part of a continuous cycle for all learning to evaluate and inform future planning and teaching for all learners in the class
- Be ongoing and part of everyday activities in every lesson.
- Provide opportunities for all learning styles
- Help pupils to understand what they can do to improve
- Involve children with their own learning – self-assessment.
- Drive Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Annual Reviews for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)
- Support monitoring of the curriculum planning
- Develop clear, focused learning intentions.
- Inform parents about their child’s progress and important next steps
How we Assess Pupil’s Achievement
- Have clear focused ‘Can I’s’ that we share with the children.
- Ensure that all pupils know what they have to achieve in the session and give them opportunities in each lesson to share success criteria.
- Regularly provide pupils with the opportunity to reflect and talk about their learning and progress.
- Use peer and self-assessment.
- Use standardised and recognised tests
- Use a range of assessment methods – observations, listening, questioning, assessing/annotating of work, specific tasks, problem solving activities and administering tests, scrutiny of work and analysis of SATs.
- Set clear, achievable and measurable targets for pupils through marking
- Use assessment to inform planning for individuals, groups, class and school as part of ongoing, daily activities.
Assessment for Learning
At Wansdyke School we follow the principles of Assessment for Learning which enhance whole school assessment and provide daily opportunities for assessment to inform future planning, teaching and learning.
The strategies in place are:
- Planning should include higher order questioning to enhance, extend and maximise children’s learning.
- Giving children opportunities to self-assess their learning after each lesson encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning
- Annotating planning after each lesson in order to inform / adapt future planning and to maximize learning potential.
- Providing targeted intervention for children of small groups of children who have not made suitable progress or who have not grasped necessary concepts.
- Celebrating what our pupils can do what they know and what they understand e.g. displays around school, presenting work in Assemblies, Headteacher’s ‘Good learning book’ and informing parents.
- Encouraging pupils to develop positive attitudes towards learning e.g. setting high standards, praise from adults and peers and developing independence.
Marking and Providing Feedback to Pupils
Feedback is provided to pupils promptly and may be oral or written. Feedback is made in relation to achievement of learning objectives and steps to success using RTM. Growing green / building blue comments provide suggestions for the next stage of the child’s learning. Information gained from marking contributes towards future planning and progress made in relation to targets. Children receive feedback in the form of ‘tickled pink and growing green’. Please refer to the marking policy for more information.
Reading is assessed by the teacher through guided reading sessions and assessed against the Ros Wilson Reading criterion scale. When pupils first arrive in the school, they move through the book banding system. These are monitored by the staff to ensure the pupils are accessing the appropriate level of book to support their reading and are linked to the guided reading and phonics rules covered. Once pupils have shown proficiency in reading, they move onto free reading. In KS2, guided reading sessions focus on assessment of skills within the reading criterion scale for that year group.
Reading tests (BSTS GRT) are carried out during term 1 and again in term 6. These are collated and scrutinized by the Literacy lead.
Reading progress is recorded in the Wansdyke Tracker. The school advocates a little and often approach towards assessment. Objectives are assessed 2 weeks after teaching to ensure learning has been committed to memory. Guided reading sheets related to the criterion scale are used to record progress in guided reading sessions.
Teachers will use the Ros Wilson criterion scale to level children’s independent writing each term. These objectives link to the expectations within each year group.
Writing progress is recorded in the Wansdyke Tracker. The school advocates a little and often approach towards assessment. Objectives need to be observed consistently in pupil’s writing in a range of subjects. Teachers record the mastery of these objectives on a master document to support the input of data.
Writing is a priority in the school and we are currently developing a pre and post writing assessment to demonstrate progress through a genre of writing.
Teachers prepare and test spellings weekly in line with the National Curriculum. Spelling tests (BSTS GRT) are carried out during term 1 and again in term 6. These are collated and scrutinized by the Literacy lead. Spellings are a focus within the school and a consistent approach to spelling is being developed.
Teachers use Letters and Sounds as the main framework for their phonics teaching. We assess phonics skills and understanding regularly and children are grouped according to their ability and the phonics ‘phase’ they are working within. Phonics is formally assessed at the end of Year 1 through the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check which is a standardised test and used across all schools.
In Numeracy, teachers will use objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum on which to base their assessments. These are tested within the termly Abacus assessment questions. In addition to this, the school hopes to implement a target booklet which will encourage a little and often approach to assessment within mathematics. Objectives will be assessed 2 weeks after teaching to ensure learning has been committed to memory. This information will then be used to populate the Wansdyke tracker and demonstrate progress.
Pupil Progress Meetings
Pupil progress meetings will be held in terms 2, 3 and 6. Teachers will be asked to complete an analysis of their classes’ data to support the discussions within this meeting. Actions are then raised where pupils are found not to be making expected progress.
Skills mastered in foundation subjects by children are, highlighted (in the class colour) if 80% are secure. As a school, we are trialing pre and post assessment tasks to support the assessment of these subjects to support judgements made by lesson observations and book scrutinies.
For Baseline assessment, we use ‘Early Excellence’. This builds on the requirements of the EYFS statutory framework, providing continuity of current approaches. Within the first 6 weeks, the EYFS baseline is completed and a report is produced in November, outlining the current attainment and analysis of the cohort. This information will be used to inform future practice.
Observations throughout the year are recorded using the 2Simple software on the iPads. This allows the teaching staff to make observations and reference these against the EYFS statutory framework, informing areas for enhancement in the cohort. These are shared periodically with parents.
At the end of year 2 and 6 the children carry out national assessment tests and tasks in Reading, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar as well as Mathematics. In year 1 pupils complete the phonics screening test. These results are presented within the Raise Online report which is used to analyse whole school data and identify objectives for school improvement.
Special Educational Needs and the Complex Needs Resource Base
The children accessing the Complex Needs Resource base are regularly assessed through observation and the ongoing support they need. For children working below the National Curriculum expectations, progress is recorded using a system called PIVATS which breaks the P Scales down in to smaller sections. PIVATS helps the class teachers to recognise children’s achievements in small steps. This information is used to track closely the progress that children are making across the academic year and a Key Stage. The analysis of the children’s progress is shared with staff and governors.
Reporting to Parents
Annual reports are sent home to parents towards the end of the summer term and targets for future learning are identified. We hold 2 Individual parents’ evenings a year and an open evening. Each teacher informs parents of what the curriculum will entail in each subject area, each term.
We adopt an open door policy to parents and welcome and invite parents in to discuss their child’s progress or any concerns at any reasonable time. The children in the Complex Needs Resource Base also have annual reviews of SEN or more regularly according to individual needs and situations.
At Wansdyke, we have taken the approach to measure the attainment of a child against the curriculum objectives for each year group. We have created a tracking system that plots out each year group’s objectives as a percentage. Children who master objectives within the curriculum contribute towards the percentage of the objectives achieved. Whilst this is a work in progress, it is helping to plot out the levels of attainment and progress in the different cohorts.