Assessment Policy 2018
Please click here for an easy to print copy of our Assessment and Reporting Policy 2018.
Assessment and Reporting Policy 2018
Last Updated: 4th January 2018
Ratified by Governors:
Date of Review: January 2019
This document should be read alongside our Marking and Feedback Policy.
At St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, we believe that the key aim of assessment is to support pupil achievement and progress.
Through our assessment and reporting practice, we aim to:
- Enable pupils to understand what they have to do to reach end of lesson, unit, topic, academic year and key stage expectations.
- Allow teachers to determine what a child can/cannot do and to help them plan future support to fill any gaps in knowledge and understanding.
- Help set targets and involve pupils in their own learning.
- Give parents a clear idea of what their child can do and what they need to do to progress.
- Provide information that can be used to evaluate teaching and learning practice.
- Give pupils effective feedback so they know what they have done well and what they need to improve.
- Enable all pupils, including pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to make good progress.
The principles that underpin assessment at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary are:
- Every child can achieve: teachers are constantly evaluating: ‘What do I need to do next, to enable all children in my class to achieve?’ The removal of levels has helped to improve pupils’ mind-sets and all pupils have the opportunity to access more challenging aspects of the curriculum.
- The Primary National Curriculum Programmes of Study are used as the expectations for all pupils. Assessment of pupil’s attainment and progress is directly linked to the curriculum and evaluates pupils’ knowledge and understanding of subject requirements.
- Assessment is used to ensure that all pupils make appropriate progress.
- All children need to understand the learning objective in each of their lessons and what they need to achieve it. Success Criterias are shared, or formulated, at the start of each session and pupils’ work is assessed against this criteria.
- Strategies are used to ensure that pupils have a secure understanding of key ideas and concepts before moving onto the next phase of learning.
There are three main types of assessment used at St. Mary’s:
This is used by our teachers to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding on a day-to-day basis and to tailor teaching accordingly.
This is used to evaluate how much a pupil has learned at the end of a teaching period (end of a Unit/Topic, term or academic year).
Nationally Standardised Summative Assessment
This is used by the Government to hold schools to account and to provide information on how pupils are performing in comparison to pupils nationally.
Procedures – Formative Assessment
Day-to-Day Formative Assessments
This type of assessment is embedded across all lessons – in all subjects (foundation as well as core). Teachers assess pupils’ understanding of individual learning objectives and identify where there are gaps. This tells the teacher what to focus on in future lessons and prompts them to adapt their teaching approach to improve pupils’ understanding.
Strategies used will vary according to the subject and learning objective taught – these include:
- Use of rich question and answer sessions to evaluate pupil understanding and identify gaps or misconceptions.
- Use of whiteboards, flip charts and number fans to get instant feedback of understanding.
- Mini-plenaries to determine understanding at regular intervals.
- Short re-cap quizzes or recall of facts.
- In mathematics lessons, teachers often focus on the wrong answers (which can be used to explore concepts in greater depth and to identify and address any misconceptions).
- Observational assessment.
- Scanning work for pupil attainment and progress.
- Self (or peer) assessment at the end of every lesson based on individual learning objectives and Success Criteria.
- 1:1 or group discussions with pupils.
- Next step marking and feedback (see Marking and Feedback Policy).
‘Mastery learning is a specific approach in which learning is broken down into discrete units and presented in logical order. Pupils are required to demonstrate mastery of the learning from each unit before being allowed to move onto the next, with the assumption that all pupils will achieve this level of mastery if they are appropriately supported. Some may take longer and need more help, but all will get there in the end’ (Commission on Assessment Without Levels, 2015).
Formative assessment is used to show what pupils have learned well and what they still need to work on, and identifies specific ‘corrective’ activities to help them do this. After undertaking these corrective activities (or alternative enrichment or extension activities for those who have already achieved mastery), formative assessments are used to evaluate further progress.
Procedures – Summative Assessment
End of Term Summative Tests (Years 1 to 6) – Maths, Reading and GPS
At the end of every term, we hold a Test Week using the Rising Stars Optional Tests in Maths Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS). These tests give a good indication of whether pupils are working below, towards, meeting or exceeding end of year government expectations.
This Test Week is followed by a Pupil Progress Meeting whereby the class teacher, the Senior Management Team and SENCo meet to analyse the results and to plan appropriate targets and support. Assessment information is used to plan teaching and learning strategies, including the identification of pupils who are working below their target stage, falling behind in their learning or who need additional support, enabling pupils to make good progress and achieve well. When tracking assessment information the SMT and subject coordinators carefully track the progress of different groups within the school. They also compare the progress rate of different groups. This information is then used to help plan to raise standards in any group identified as not make adequate progress.
The Dr Margaret Carswell Framework Model provides clear guidance for teachers on the content of lessons for each year group. Within this scheme there are assessment activities which link with the RE levels of attainment. At the end of a Unit of Work, class teachers assess and record pupil progress against one attainment strand (within AT1) on each pupil’s individual tracking sheet (this is kept in the class Pupil Progress Folder). Every term, teachers meet to moderate these assessments. These ongoing assessments are then used to help determine an end of year summative level for RE which is recorded on Classroom Monitor. Before starting a new topic pupils stick a target/title page into their books which relate to specific attainment strands that they need to work on. The child focuses on these targets throughout the Unit of Work and then self-assesses their progress on the target sheet.
Procedures – Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Throughout our Early Years setting, practitioners use the Development Matters and Early Learning Goals (ELGs) as a part of their daily observation, assessment and planning. On-going formative assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice. Key workers make regular observations of how children act and interact and take photographs and make notes of what they can do to help identify where they may be in their own developmental pathway. Teachers collect this evidence using the 2BuildaProfile program on their iPads. If a teacher attaches a photo, or other evidence, to a learning objective this will be digitally transferred to our online assessment tracker ‘OTrack’. Key workers log onto this platform weekly and use evidence collected to inform their judgements of whether pupils are ‘Beginning, Developing or Secure’ in each aspect of the early years ages and stages.
These judgements are used to help track pupil progress alongside evidence in pupil books, ongoing assessments, observations and notes. Analysis of data is used to inform individual pupil targets and to plan appropriate support. It is also used to help identify whole class coverage of the Early Years curriculum and more general gaps in knowledge.
In the final term of Reception (Upper Early Years) the EYFS Profile is completed for each child. This provides parents, carers and practitioners with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1.
The profile reflects ongoing observation (as described above), records, discussions with parents and carers and adults working with the child. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (ELGs) on our OTrack program.
Practitioners must indicate whether pupils are:
- Meeting expected levels of development
- Exeeeding expected levels
- Not yet reaching expected levels (emerging)
The Year 1 teacher is given a copy of the Profile together with a short commentary on each child’s skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective learning. The Reception teacher meets with the Year 1 teacher (as a part of our Handover Meeting at the end of the academic year) to discuss each child’s stage of development and learning needs. This informs planning in the first term of Year 1 and beyond.
At the end of the Reception year we give parents a written report which:
- States the child’s attainment against the ELGs
- Summarises attainment in all areas of learning
- Comments on general progress including the characteristics of effective learning
Parents are invited into school at the end of Reception to discuss the Profile. The report is specific, concise and identifies appropriate next steps. The results are also sent to the Local Authority.
The EYFS profile data is used to measure Good Levels of Development within the EYs setting:
- Levels of learning and development in each of the areas of learning for individual pupils and the class
- The attainment of children born in different months of the year
- The attainment of different groups of children e.g. SEN and Pupil Premium
Procedures - Nationally Standardised Summative Assessment
Nationally standardised summative assessment provides information on how pupils are performing in comparison to pupils nationally:
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
This check demonstrates how well a child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1 and identifies pupils who need extra phonics help. It consists of 40 words and non-words that a student reads 1:1 with a teacher. Each child is scored against a national standard – children who do not meet the expected level in Year 1 are given extra phonics support and then repeat the test near the end of Year 2.
End of Key Stage 1 tests
All pupils sit the following tests at the end of Year 2:
- Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS)
- Writing (teacher assessment)
End of Key Stage 2 tests
All pupils will take the following tests at the end of Year 6:
- Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS)
- Writing (teacher assessment)
At the end of KS1 and KS2 pupils will be given a scaled score and a ‘performance descriptor’ against the expected standard.
We use these results to benchmark our school’s performance against other schools locally and nationally. The Senior Management Team makes judgements about the school’s effectiveness and analysis of data is used to inform the School Development Plan.
Assessing Pupils with SEND
In each year group we teach the national curriculum for that year – therefore all children are learning the objectives for that year and are initially classed as ‘Below’ end of year expectation. The only time this may differ is for pupils currently on our Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) List. Depending on their need, they might be taught objectives from an earlier year group’s curriculum or the P-scales, this will be appropriately matched to their cognitive level. They would then be assessed using P-scales or tests/teacher assessments from a different year group.
Assessment methods are adapted for some pupils with SEN and disabilities. This includes adapting the use of questioning to give pupils with significant learning difficulties sufficient time to respond, using visual stimuli and alternative means of communication. It could be the use of verbal questions or observations rather than asking students to produce a written response. Adapted tests are often used with specific pupils. This could be the use of braille or larger print. Readers are used to read questions where appropriate and pupils are given extended time to complete papers. Scribes are used for pupils with particular gross/fine motor control difficulties.
As a school we have considered meaningful ways of measuring all aspects of progress. All pupils are accessed using the Speech/Language Link test during their first few weeks in Reception. This assesses all aspects of speech and language and any child who is highlighted in red is discussed with our school’s Speech and Language Therapist often leading to a referral to their services. Support is put in place and pupils who scored below the expected threshold are reassessed at the end of the year. SEND pupils are set SMART targets within their IEPs (these relate to wider areas including communication, social skills, physical development and independence) and these are evaluated at the end of each term alongside advice from external professionals.
High expectations apply equally to SEND pupils. Effort applied to learning is reflected in teacher marking, feedback and through evaluations of IEP targets. Pupils with SEND are expected to understand key concepts before moving onto the next phase of learning.
Assessment is used to diagnostically contribute to the early and accurate identification of pupil’s special educational needs and any requirements for their support and intervention. Early intervention is provided promptly to address any concerns about pupils’ progress (focused on very specific areas highlighted through assessments).
We use a ‘graduated approach’ for SEND pupils (Assess, Plan, Do and Review). During termly Pupil Progress Meetings teachers meet with the SENCo to carry out a clear analysis of pupils’ needs. This is based on formative/summative assessment, the views of parents and pupils and, where relevant, information from outside professionals. Assessment offers next steps on each child’s learning pathway and ensures a focus on long term outcomes.
Reporting not only fulfils legal requirements but also is vital part of our relationship with parents and the wider community, serving to support and extend pupil progress.
Reporting to Parents
- Termly Parent Consultation Meetings: these meetings focus on the curriculum – what pupils can do and what they need to do to improve (targets).
- Annual Reports (including assessment against end of year government expectations)
- The results of any statutory assessments e.g. phonics screening and end of KS1/KS2 results.
Reporting to Governors
- The Head Teacher’s Report to Governors (termly)
- Through our formative assessment strategies pupils get instant feedback on a daily basis.
- Our next step marking informs pupils of what they have done well and what they need to do to improve. Pupils are actively encouraged to respond to teacher’s comments, questions and commands in their marking, to self-evaluate their work and set their own targets based on a success criteria.
Local Authority and Government (DfE)
All statutory information (including relevant teacher assessments) are sent to the Local Authority and DfE as required.
Arrangements for the Governance, Management and Evaluation of Assessment
A member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) has been assigned the role of Assessment coordinator and has responsibility for maintaining this Assessment Policy and reviewing or updating it as necessary.
Termly lesson observations by the SMT are used to monitor the effectiveness of formative assessment strategies used in class. This team also carries out termly Book Looks with curriculum coordinators to evaluate the effectiveness of next step marking and target setting.
At the end of every term, the SMT hold Pupil Progress Meetings with teachers to analyse the attainment and progress made by pupils. The main aim of these meetings is to identify pupils who are underachieving and to put support in place to fill the gaps. Intervention includes adapting whole class planning, pre-learning, booster groups, catch-up programmes etc. Teachers are asked to bring copies of their ongoing assessments and to show the progress made by vulnerable groups.
Role of the Assessment Coordinator
These responsibilities include:
- Contributing to Action Plans and the SDP - through work with the SMT
- Leading school development in assessment, recording and reporting
- Planning assessment arrangements - alongside all curriculum coordinators
- Networking with other assessment coordinators within our alliance of schools
- Ordering/purchasing SATs tests and other assessment materials/resources
- Analysis of data to inform Pupil Progress Meetings, Performance Management and SEND/Vulnerable Pupil Provision Mapping
Moderation and Standardisation
Moderation is important to ensure a consistent approach to assessment across the school. When teacher assessments are carried out, it is important that there is evidence recorded to justify judgments made.
At St. Mary’s the following takes place:
- Termly Moderation of Reading, Writing and Mathematics assessments made on OTrack (at whole staff meetings)
- Small Schools’ Cluster: Moderation of Reading, Writing and Mathematics assessments
- Early Years staff meet regularly with our Foundation Stage Manager to moderate work for the EYFS profiles
- When selected, Local Authority moderation also takes place
Arrangements for ensuring teachers are able to conduct assessment competently and confidently
All teachers are kept up to date with developments in assessment practice through weekly staff meetings. Staff meetings are set aside for assessment updates and also to moderate work and termly tests. The SMT (including the assessment coordinator) plan these termly in accordance with the School Development Plan. Outside training providers are also used. The assessment coordinator attends all relevant courses to stay up-to-date with current practice and meets with other coordinators within our alliance to share good current practice.
Initial Teacher Training
Our participation in the School Direct scheme has enabled us to train our trainees (alongside the staff in our alliance schools) with the aim of employing them (within our alliance of schools) at the end of their placement. Trainees are involved in all of our staff meetings - as well as relevant courses hosted by our Teaching School Alliance.
All NQTs take part in a paid induction day before taking up their placement. During this day the assessment coordinator will go through the school Assessment and Reporting Policy and how to use our OTrack assessment system. NQTs attend an assessment courses as a part of their induction programme as well as all relevant courses hosted by our Teaching School. During staff meetings they work alongside other staff to record assessments and to analyse progress. They meet with other teachers to moderate work within our Small Schools’ Cluster.
Teaching School Courses
We were designated as a Teaching School in July 2014. Since this time we have hosted various courses to develop the continuous professional development of teachers in the local area. These courses have been led by external consultants and experts from higher education. We have hosted the following ‘assessment based’ sessions over the last few years:
- Assessment Without Levels (Focus Education)
- Targets, Marking and Feedback (Focus Education)
- Mastery and Depth in the Maths National Curriculum (Jean Knapp – Kingston University)
- Outstanding Assessment in the EYFS (Creative Education)
- End of KS1 and 2 SATs Revision Courses (Jo Heffer and Jean Knapp)
- Courses for middle and senior leaders/managers e.g. RaiseOnline
- Assessing Computing Skills (Mary Rebelo)
- Assessing Skills Through Scientific Investigations (Naomi Hiscock)
- Assessing Speech and Language Skills (Speech Link Multimedia)
- Assessing Social Skills (Alex Kelly)
Implementation of the Assessment Policy
This Policy was written by the SMT but was reviewed and adapted by all teachers as part of a staff meeting to ensure effective buy-in and to help build strong links to teaching and learning.
A copy of this Policy is available on our school website and all parents were invited to share their views when it was first developed in 2014 (due to revised government guidelines). At the start of every academic year, teachers explain how pupils are assessed as a part of a Parents’ Information Presentation.
All pupils are made aware of the curriculum objectives they are expected to achieve by the end of the year. These form the basis of the target sheets that they stick into their books at the beginning of the year and also at the start of topics and units of work. Pupils are involved in self-assessing their learning, every lesson, and they are actively involved in the target setting process.
This Policy is updated (at least) annually based on school self-evaluation, the latest research and updates to government documents.