Aim & Rationale
To be successful independent learners, children and young people need regular opportunities to reflect on and identify what they have learnt, what needs to be learnt next and what they need to do to continue their learning. This may be to compare their progress against their own starting point or that of others, or to measure their progress with reference to an external standard, such as end of key stage indicators.
Teachers and other professionals need to be clear about the progress and achievements of the children and young people they teach, and how their learning might be improved.
In our school assessment has the following purpose:
- to enable our children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do in their learning
- to develop children’s ability to self-assess and to understand what they need to do next to improve
- to help our children recognise the standards to aim for
- to allow teachers to plan work that accurately reflects the needs of each child
- to help parents to support their child’s learning at home
- to provide information which allows the school leaders and governors to make judgements about the effectiveness of the school
When used effectively, assessment:
- helps to set clear expectations for standards and achievement through clear learning intentions and success criteria
- relates closely to specified learning outcomes
- focuses on the learner rather than the teacher
- concentrates on what is learned, understood or achieved, rather than what is ‘taught’
- emphasises progress and achievement, rather than failure
- motivates learners because they become partners in the assessment process
- enables learners to become aware of the ‘how’ of their learning, as well as the ‘what’
- assesses what is valuable and relevant for the learner, and not merely what is easy to assess
- identifies strengths and how to develop them further
- identifies areas for development/weaknesses and how they might be addressed
- enables all learners to make progress, achieve and have their efforts recognised
- ensures progression in teaching and learning
Formative assessment is an ongoing process based on how well children achieve learning objectives, providing feedback and involving children in improving their learning. We do this by:
- Planning appropriate delivery of the EYFS and National Curriculum ensuring clear learning objectives and differentiation. Team planning meetings are held on a weekly basis
- Sharing learning objectives and ways to achieve these, to ensure children are focussed on the task and to encourage pupil involvement and comments on own learning
- Pupil self and peer evaluation whereby children are encouraged to evaluate their own and others’ achievements against the learning objective.
- Effective questioning and analyses of responses to identify prior knowledge, understanding and any misconceptions, including assessment information gathered by additional adults.
- Using talk partners to ensure children are actively involved in learning and can articulate their thinking.
- Marking children’s work using a whole school approach to check understanding, diagnose misunderstandings and encourage an ongoing dialogue. This happens on an ongoing basis and involves the children in supported self-review of their work (see Marking and Feedback Policy below)
Appropriate to the age and ability of the individual child, most next steps are given verbally to ensure that they are meaningful so feedback can have the greatest impact on their learning. This will most often be given during the session in which the learning is completed. If the teachers are unable to give immediate feedback this may be done at a later date (flags are left on the page to remind teachers and children that some feedback is to be given) but only if a professional decision is made that this will impact future learning and achievement.
Occasionally teachers may decide that feedback will have most impact if given as a written prompt. This focuses on next steps and will usually be placed where it is best referred to in the subsequent task (for maximum impact).
The school is committed to high quality assessment for learning strategies which are used throughout lessons, involving children in their own learning and supporting the teacher in future planning/structure and content of the lesson.
We have a wide range of assessment tasks and materials available to support better understanding of children’s barriers to learning, be that EAL, SEN or any other. Pupil progress meetings are held every term which set up strategies and interventions for good progress, regardless of level of achievement. Children requiring intervention are added to the class provision map which allows us to track these children closely and evaluate the impact of intervention programmes. Class teachers are supported and guided in the use of these diagnostics by the SENCo and members of the SLT. Short checks and tests are used regularly, particularly in mathematics and phonics, to guide next steps learning.
These are measures which register the children’s learning in terms of progress and attainment at the end of a fixed period of time. Outcomes of these summative assessments are shared with parents in line with Assessment, Recording and Reporting. We also use outcomes to track children’s progress through the school:
- End of Foundation Stage Profile, including whether or not a child has achieved a Good Level of Development.
- Phonics skills check outcomes in Y1 and in Y2 for children who did not achieve threshold in Y1.
- KS1 national curriculum teacher assessment outcomes in reading, writing, maths and science, for which test outcomes support judgements where applicable.
These measures are also used to benchmark the school against other schools nationally and in Essex and to set targets for school improvement.
The Assessment Cycle
Teachers use the full range of assessment opportunities to make judgements as to whether children are on track to achieve end of year expectations. The progress of whole class, significant groups and individual children is discussed in termly pupil progress meetings, and sooner if concerns are raised by parents or the class teacher.
Parent consultation meetings are held in the autumn and spring terms, and a full written report is given to parents in the summer term, with an opportunity to discuss its contents.
We recognise various methods of assessing a child’s learning. Individual subject leaders provide information and ideas to colleagues on ways of assessing within that subject to ensure challenge and progression for pupils of all abilities, including the most able.
Teachers maintain a record of children’s individual reading progress and achievement during guided reading sessions. Comments are noted in a home-school contact book.
Children’s workbooks are the main record of achievement and evidence of progress and outcomes. We aim to reduce onerous workload demands and ask that only key assessment information will be recorded additionally to this; only where it will impact on future progress and achievement.
Teacher assessment data is analysed each term and used to support judgements regarding school effectiveness. Data analysis informs pupil progress meetings and contributes towards performance management. Monitoring by the Senior Leadership Team (or more accurately the actions arising from monitoring activities) ensures progression and high standards across the school.
All staff understand that moderation of data is key for its wider use. Moderation is embedded within weekly practice across year groups and is the focus for PDMs to moderate outcomes for Year group teams. Regular moderation takes place in the spring and summer terms with local schools through our professional network.
Special Educational Needs (SEND)
SEN review meetings are held termly. Progress for children identified as needing support is monitored regularly against their ‘One Plan’ targets which are created in partnership with parents as part of a structured conversation.
A range of formative assessments are carried out to ensure the children’s needs are being met (see SEND policy) and children with SEN are included in formal assessments whenever this is appropriate.
Equal Opportunities and Inclusion
We aim to ensure equal opportunities for children of all abilities, backgrounds gender and social groups to succeed at the highest level possible. We strive to remove any barriers to learning and work to eliminate variations in outcomes for different groups. Children in vulnerable groups are tracked and monitored to ensure that they achieve their potential.
We promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Resources and teaching strategies reflect and value the diversity of pupils’ experiences and provide pupils with a comprehensive understanding of people and communities beyond their immediate experience.
Reporting to Parents/Carers
We have an open door policy: parents/carers have the opportunity to speak to the class teacher every day, and to make appointments at any time to hold extended conversations about their child’s progress. In the autumn and spring terms we invite all parents to attend a consultation meeting. At these meetings, we discuss how well the children are progressing and how well they are doing in relation to the standards expected. We also identify areas for development and ways in which the parent/carers can support at home.
A written report is sent to parents/carers in the summer term and a consultation meeting is offered. This covers the children’s achievements and progress across the curriculum as well as attendance data. Targets are identified.
Reception teachers complete the EYFS Profile which summarises and describes children’s attainment at the end of the Reception year. Year 1 and Year 2 (if not achieved threshold in Year 1) phonics screening check outcomes are reported to the LA and parents/carers in the summer term.
At the end of key stage 1, parents/carers receive teacher assessment judgements in reading, writing, maths (informed by tests) and science. Scaled test scores are made available to parents on request.
Transfer and Transition
Assessments from previous settings (nursery / school) are sought and are used to inform our baseline assessments.
When pupils change schools, procedures are in place to ensure the correct information is forwarded to the next school within an appropriate time frame, and meets statutory requirements. We actively seek current and previous summative assessments for children transferring to Oaklands.
On transition to Year 3 both formal and informal assessments are passed to junior school colleagues. Cross phase moderation activities take place each year, as both understand that this is in the best interest of pupils.
Monitoring and Review
The Senior Leadership Team:
- Maintain the school’s assessment policy, and other assessment related policies in consultation with staff.
- Ensure assessment procedures are clear to all staff and are carried out in line with school policy.
- Analyse data to set targets for improvement and produce reports for colleagues, governors or external advisors.
- Ensure statutory tests are carried out according to published regulations.
- Monitor the performance of children and groups of children.
- Hold termly pupil progress meetings.
- Check DfE information bulletins and the Essex Infolink, plus attend County Assessment leader courses to stay updated with current practice and changing regulations and requirements
- Lead in-school training.
- Lead the moderation of assessments and are accountable for accuracy and consistency of assessment data submitted for tracking and reporting.
- Analyse end of year results and produce reports for SLT and governors as required.
- Scrutinise marking, feedback and planning and guide teachers in improvements during designated monitoring time.
Within the SLT, the SENCo:
- Works with teachers to ensure effective assessment of children with SEND, the subsequent setting of targets, and most appropriate strategies to achieve good and better progress.