In our school we view assessment as the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by pupils and their teachers to decide where pupils are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get them there. Much of what teachers and pupils do in classrooms can be described as assessment. That is, the tasks and questions used to prompt pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a concept forms the basis of what is planned for next. If children are to progress, then learning needs to be tailored to their specific needs and this can only be achieved through considering what they already know and what the next suitable learning intention is.
Within the classroom our day to day assessment reviews, considers and judges the progress of both individuals and groups. Our teachers observe learning, analyse the work children produce, interpret the evidence collected, give feedback to pupils and support pupils in thinking about their own work. As a school, we continually refer to the Department for Education website and our school built skill progression documents and tracking system to develop our subject knowledge of progression across subjects. Assessment that encourages learning fosters motivation by emphasising progress and achievement rather than failure. Comparison with others who have been more successful is unlikely to motivate pupils. It can also lead to their withdrawing from the learning process in areas where they have been made to feel no good. Motivation can be preserved and enhanced by assessment methods, which protect pupil’s autonomy, provide some choice and constructive feedback and create opportunity for self direction.
Assessment at our school is designed to be:
- Day to day (Formative)-teachers will make observations of children’s work, annotate planning, design questioning to probe children’s understanding, talk to children 1 to 1 in the form of learning conversations and mark work in line with the feedback policy.
- Periodic (Summative)-teachers will use our school built assessment tools in Reception to Y6 to keep records of individual pupils’ achievements based on day to day evidence and record if children are working at, above or below their age expectation at the end of the academic year. This is entered on to our own bespoke computer based whole school tracking system that we have built within “Integris” to provide class teachers, the Senior Leadership Team and governors with data regarding different individuals/cohort’s attainment/progress. Each term class teachers meet with the Head teacher and Deputy Head teacher to discuss their class in detail. In these meetings staff identify what children need to do next and any support that is needed.
- Transitional-at the end of the year teachers will update their assessments to indicate final attainment data and key skills achieved by their cohort. This data will be formed from the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile scores, Year 2 and 6 SAT’S and up to date records/next steps from Year 1 to 6. These results are also communicated to parents so that all parents know if their child is working at, above or below their age expectation in different areas of learning.
Overall, our view is that for effective learning to take place pupils need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when pupils have some part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessing progress. Communicating assessment criteria involves discussing them with the pupils using terms that they can understand, providing examples of how the criteria can be met in practice and engaging pupils in peer and self assessment.
As a school, we no longer assess children using “levels” as the new National Curriculum removed them and schools were given the task of designing their own assessment system. If you want to find out about our assessment system, click the heading to the right of this page on the curriculum tab. Click here to read the government position on assessment without levels.