We believe that effective assessment provides information to improve teaching and learning. We give our children regular feedback on their learning so that they understand what it is that they need to do to improve. This allows us to base our planning on a detailed knowledge of each pupil. We give parents regular reports on their child’s progress so that teachers, children and parents are all working together to raise standards for all our children.
Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of assessment in our school are:
to allow teachers to plan work that accurately reflects the next steps for each child;
to enable our children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do in their work;
to help our children understand what they need to do next to improve their work;
to enable us to track each child’s progress to ensure they achieve their full potential;
to provide regular information for parents that enables them to support their child’s learning;
to provide the head teacher and governors with information that allows them to make judgements about the effectiveness of the school;
to provide outside agencies with the information they need about individual children and cohorts of children.
Planning for assessment
We use our school’s curriculum plan to guide our teaching. We plan our lessons with clear learning objectives based upon the teacher’s detailed knowledge of each child. We strive to ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to the needs of each child, and our planning makes clear the expected outcomes for each lesson. We are aware of those individual children who do not achieve at the expected level for the lesson, as well as those who have exceeded expectations, and we use this information when planning for the next lesson.
We set targets in reading, writing and mathematics. This means where we are aiming for each child to be by the end of the academic year. We discuss individual targets with the children and communicate these to parents. We review the progress of each child against these targets regularly, and at least termly, and set revised targets.
Interim “next steps” are discussed and updated with children and parents regularly.
We recognise various methods of assessing a child’s learning. The type of assessment we use depends on the information we require and the child. Types of assessment we may use are observations, photographs, talking with the children, marking of work, tasks and tests.
We plan our lessons with clear learning objectives. We note those pupils who do not yet meet the learning objective, or who achieve more than was planned, so that we can take the needs of these pupils into account when planning for the next lesson. Where the majority of the class makes the planned progress, of course, there is no need to record this. We use this knowledge to inform records of progress.
We take the objectives for individual lessons from the broad learning objectives within the school’s curriculum plan. These in turn reflect the demands of the National Curriculum and the Foundation Stage Curriculum. Our teachers record the progress of each child against these broad objectives. This enables us to make a judgement about the work of each child in relation to expected levels of attainment, to monitor the progress of each child and to track this against expected progress.
Reporting to parents
We have a range of strategies that keep parents fully informed of their child’s progress in school. We encourage parents to contact the school if they have concerns about any aspect of their child’s work.
Twice yearly we offer parents the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher to discuss progress. At the first meeting of the school year we discuss the targets that we have identified for their child, and these are reviewed at the second meeting. Parents are welcome to come into school to discuss their child’s progress at any time if they are concerned.
Parents of children in KS1 are invited to half-termly open afternoons to look at their child’s books and other work with their child.
We offer parents of pupils in FS2 opportunities throughout the year to discuss the Foundation Stage Profile with their child’s teacher, and in the written reports we provide details of the children’s attainment in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.
Parents in FS1 have regular and in most cases daily contact with staff. Parents contribute to learning journeys.
Open mornings provide further opportunities for Foundation Stage parents to share and contribute to their child’s learning journey.
During the summer term we give all parents a written report of their child’s progress and achievements during the year, and we also identify target areas for the next school year. We include a space where the children in key stage one can offer their own evaluation of their performance during the year.
In reports for pupils in Year 1, we also provide details of the level achieved in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, and in reports for pupils in Year 2 we provide details of the levels achieved in teacher assessments for the Statutory Assessment Tasks.
Each of our teachers gives parents a half termly update that identifies the main areas of study for that particular class. In this update the teacher may identify how parents can support any elements of the work during the term if appropriate.
Feedback to pupils
The ethos of our school is that of “growth mindset”. We encourage the children to “reach for the stars”, and to value, be excited by, and enjoy learning. The children are helped to understand that learning can be broken down into very small achievable steps, that mistakes are part of the learning journey and can in fact help us learn, that we should always be challenging ourselves, and that perseverance and resilience are core attitudes.
We therefore believe that feedback to pupils is very important, as it tells them how well they have done and what they need to do next in order to improve their work.
In each lesson, children will understand what the learning objective is, and they will increasingly be involved in understanding the success criteria for achieving it. Feedback to pupils will therefore reflect this, and marking will show which success criteria have been met.
However, we believe that for infant age children verbal feedback is the most important and valuable feedback we can give. We usually do this when the children are working during the lesson, although we sometimes give feedback on a particular lesson at the beginning of the next one. When lesson time does not allow for verbal feedback, we may write comments on the children’s work during marking. We give written comments to children of all ages. We do not always aim these comments at the children; quite often we write something that is useful to both parents and teachers.
When we give written feedback to a child, we relate this to the learning objective for the lesson and to the success criteria. By so doing we make clear whether the objective has been met and we produce evidence to support the judgement. If we consider that the objective has not been met, we make clear why this was the case. In both cases we identify what the child needs to do next in order to improve future work.
We encourage the children to make comments about their own work and the work of fellow pupils. We encourage older pupils to be the first markers of some pieces of work.
If appropriate we allow time for the children to absorb any comments written on their work. We do this to ensure that the time that our teachers spend marking really has an impact on the children’s work.
Information on children’s progress is collected using Tapestry and PupilAsset, as well as using Reception Baseline, EYFSP, Year 1 Phonics and Year 2 SATS collection programs provided.
Assessment without levels
We fully embrace the principles behind the new National Curriculum and assessment of children towards the end of year objectives (see Final Report of the Commission on Assessment without levels).
We use the Pupil Asset Grid on Pupil Asset to track children’s progress towards the end of year objectives in KS1.
We look formally at this data three times per year as part of the whole school tracking system to ensure all children are on target.
We recognise that this data will not show progress in exactly the same way as when assessing using levels.
Pupil progress meetings take place each term or half term to discuss children’s progress towards targets and what individual children may need putting in place in order to achieve.
We ensure that all children are being assessed continually by class teachers and teaching assistants through discussion, observation, marking and feedback, and that this informs planning.
We ensure that assessment is seen as progress in the children’s confidence, understanding, skills, enthusiasm for learning, and in their recorded and spoken work.
Monitoring and review
The assessment manager, Jonathan Coy, is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy.