Assessment – how do we assess pupils’ learning?
In light of the National Curriculum in 2014 we have carried out a review of our assessment systems in school. We were very clear that whatever assessment tool we used, it needed to be robust and track pupils’ progress across the school and not just at the end of a Key Stage.
The principles that underpin our assessment system are:
- Every child can achieve: teachers at St Joseph’s have looked at the mile stones in learning, they identify the steps needed to get children where they need to be. We call these loops of learning; at each ‘loop’ the teachers and children assess and evaluate their learning and identify where they go next.
- The National Curriculum objectives will be used as the expectations for all children.
- Pupils will make age appropriate progress from their different starting points – 12 months in 12 months, more for those who need to ‘close the gap’ to reach age related expectations (ARE).
- Teachers are experts at assessment – assessment will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
- On-going assessment against the National Curriculum objectives by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questionning, observation and dialogue.
- Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why through a clear ‘WALT’ – What Are we Learning Today.
- Success criteria ‘WILF’ – What I am Looking For are discussed and agreed with or formulated by the teachers and children during each lesson, work is then assessed against the success criteria.
- Three way feedback; pupil, peer, teacher will clearly identify next steps – this can be written or verbal feedback and new loops.
- Regular pupils’ work scrutiny.
- Progress tests for English and Maths.
All of the above feed in ‘Data snap-shots’, these will take place at class, phase and subject level three times a year, towards the end of each term.
Statutory Assessments (End of Key Stage)
In addition to the above assessments, pupils also complete the following statutory assessments:
- Reception – Baseline (statutory Sep. 16), EYFS Profile
- Year 1 (and 2) – Phonics Check
- Years 2 and 6 – End of Key Stage Assessments
Alongside the introduction of the new National Curriculum, levels were removed for all Year Groups instead at the end of KS1 and KS2 pupils will be given a scaled score and a ‘performance descriptor’ against the expected standard.
In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Key Stage 2 expectations; this is broken down into key outcomes for each curriculum year. We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess the outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:
- A child that has achieved all the objectives set out for Year 3 for reading (and no further) would be said to be working at the end of Year 3 expectation for reading.
- A child achieving half or so of the maths objectives for Year 5 would be classed as working at the mid-Year 5 expectation for maths.
- A child achieving only a few reading objectives for Year 1 would be classed as working at the beginning of Year 1 expectation.
We use the following ‘Golden Codes’ to assess pupils knowledge of the curriculum, against age-related expectations, in each core subject area:
- Secure, reflecting that age-related objectives have been achieved.
In addition to assessing curriculum knowledge we also assess the way pupils apply their skills and knowledge. This is known as the ‘Depth of Learning’ rating (sometimes known as Mastery). There are four Depth of Learning ratings:
- #1 Shallow learner
- #2 Expected depth for age
- #3 Deeper learner
- #4 Deepest learner
The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.
Pupils’ assessments are made up of two components, their Golden Code and their Depth of Learning rating, for example:
- A pupil who has been assessed as Y3S #3 has achieved the expected outcomes for Year 3 and has achieved above the standard expected for their depth and understanding of learning, they have a good application of the knowledge they have learnt.
Tracking progress over time; Year 1 – 6
To track progress overtime our Golden Codes and Depth of Learning ratings are linked to Tracking Points, these are used to examine progress and attainment numerically (as an average). Depth of Learning rating modify tracking points as shown below.
Early Years – Nursery and Reception
Class teacher’s will use a combination of the EYFS profile and the baseline assessment to measure children’s progress. The baseline assessment will result in a score that forms part of each child’s baseline profile, By having a good understanding of the child’s abilities when they start school, class teachers are able to measure each child’s progress and plan for next steps in learning. The baseline assessment is face-to-face with a mixture of tasks and observational checklists.
The EYFS profile assessment is carried out in the final term of Reception. The main purpose of the EYFS profile is to provide a reliable, valid and accurate assessment of individual children at the end of EYFS. The EYFS profile data is used to inform parents about their child’s development against the early learning goals (ELGs) and the characteristics of their learning.
This data will also help Year 1 teachers plan an effective, responsive and appropriate curriculum that will meet the needs of each child.
Children in Nursery and Reception are assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile, these assessments are recorded on our online system and are based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development, expected at the end of the Reception year:
- Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
- Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age
Phonics Screening Check – Year 1
The Phonics Screening Check demonstrates how well pupils can use the phonics skills they have learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify those who need extra phonics help. The check consists of 40 words and non-words that the children will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words, or ‘alien’ words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules the children have been taught, but do not mean anything. The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. Pupils will be scored against a national standard, and the main result will be whether or not they fall below, within or above this standard. Pupils who do not meet the required standard in Year 1 will be re-checked in Year 2.
Reporting to Parents
Discussions at parent, teacher consultation meetings in the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms are based on the assessment system in place for each age group. Parents receive annual progress test reports, outcomes of statutory assessments and an annual report.