Assessment at Shiremoor Primary School
In April 2014 the Department for Education released ‘Assessment Principles’, a document outlining the core values all effective assessment systems should implement as part of the changes introduced with the 2014 National Curriculum. As the ‘Government will not impose a single system for ongoing assessment’, it is up to schools to implement a system that can: ‘Give reliable information to parents about how their child, and their child’s school, is performing, help drive improvement for pupils and teachers and make sure the school is keeping up with external best practice and innovation.’
Our Philosophy of Assessment
Assessment should have a purpose at every level for everyone involved:
- Pupils should be given appropriate feedback on their learning from the formative assessments carried out by class teachers.
- Class teachers should be able to use formative assessment to support planning and implementation of a curriculum designed to meet the needs of learners.
- Teachers and school leaders should be able to use assessment to help ensure that the pupils who need specified intervention are quickly identified, appropriately supported and monitored so that all can fully achieve their potential and no one is left to struggle behind.
- School Leaders should be able to use summative assessment as a tool for monitoring the progress and attainment pupils make, to ensure the school is helping pupils achieve their potential.
- Parents should be able to get a clear and accurate sense of their child’s achievement and progress as well as areas where they can support development.
- Governors should be able to use data to ensure the school is supporting pupils learning effectively.
- Schools can provide data for inspection teams to show how children are performing.
- Local schools collaborate to ensure our assessment systems are robust through sharing of good practice and regular moderation.
The new National Curriculum has set out clear expectations for what children should achieve by the end of each key stage and, for English, Maths and Science, has provided guidance as to when in each phase this content should be covered. In order to monitor the progress of our pupils towards meeting these expectations, we will be use a system called Target Tracker.
Tracking Attainment and Progress with Steps
To track pupil attainment Target Tracker have devised a system of steps. This performs the function of communicating progression and attainment in a simple format that may be aggregated to produce reports of overall and average progress. This is based on a carefully considered logical approach to assessment and follows on from the assessment system in EYFS.
The terminology has been selected for consistency and clarity, but also to avoid any suggested judgment when describing the attainment of pupils working below the expected band for their year group.
Each year band has been broken down into six steps: beginning (b) beginning + (b+) working within (w) working within + (w+) secure (s) secure + (s+)
At appropriate termly intervals, class teachers will select a step to show where each pupil is working. Lower and high achieving pupils may be working at a band outside of their current year, and can be recorded as such.
This means it will be easy for school to monitor pupil attainment in the context of age related expectation and progress over time to help children reach the new secondary ready standard.
Using the Target Tracker system ensures that pupil attainment is tracked robustly from the end of the previous Key Stage and from year to year. As all pupils will have individual starting points, the system allows teachers and school leaders to see if pupils are continuing to progress at the expected rate or if any pupils have deviated from their expected trajectory of progression. This information is used to inform planning and interventions.
Class teachers’ termly assessments will be informed by a number of means. In maths teachers will have use of data generated by the PUMA Maths Test. The test is diagnostic and gives a standardised result. This is used in tandem with the evidence in pupil books to show their progress against the age related statements. A summative assessment for the term based on this is recorded.
In reading class teachers’ judgments will be supported by evidence from the children’s books and the PIRA summative assessment. Similarly to Maths, teachers will use the Target Tracker statements to record progress towards achieving age related expectation and also to complete a ‘gap analysis’ of children’s current learning. Teacher assessment judgements are further supported in KS2 by the data generated by Accelerated Reader and the Star Reading Assessment.
In order to make a writing judgment, all children’s books are assessed by Mrs Wilson, a senior teacher in school and a local authority moderator. As with reading and Maths, a ‘gap analysis’ will be completed using the age related expectation statements in order to show how writing has progressed over the year and identify where progress needs to be shown. Three assessment tasks are given each half term to allow pupils to show off their abilities in spelling, punctuation and grammar and well as writing composition.
A standardised test, Rising Stars GAPS Assessment, is also used to diagnose any pupil needs in spelling, punctuation and grammar.
The New Curriculum allows schools to have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. It is important for children to have opportunities to apply their understanding in a range of challenging real life contexts, and to demonstrate their mastery of a particular skill at a deep and thorough level before moving on. We would expect children who are secure (s) in the band of statements they are working on to have these experiences, and therefore be working at the secure + (s+) step before being assessed against the following year band statements.
Pupils working below band 1
Year 1 pupils who are working below the beginning of the Year 1 band could still be assessed in the EYFS 40-60 w, 40-60 w+, 40-60 s or 40-60 s+ month band steps.
In Early Years teachers assess children on entry to Nursery and Reception using our own baseline check of basic skills. In addition school uses Aspects and PiPs Assessments to record an accurate starting point for the children at the beginning of their school career.
The Communication and Language Toolbox is also used to assess the speech and language of children on entry to Nursery to enable staff to support children where necessary and monitor their progress as their year continues.
In Reception, children are continuing to be assessed against the Foundation Stage Profile. Evidence for judgments against each of the statements is collected through observations, books and discussions. The school engages in regular moderation of these judgments within our North Tyneside cluster. In the Spring term our data will also be recorded in Target Tracker.
How is the Target Tracker data used?
Each term, class data is collected and analysed by class teachers. Individual pupil progress is monitored as well as that of specific groups. Interventions are targeted and reviewed based on the data collected.
The leadership team of the school review the whole school data in connection with the school development plan and pupil progress across school is considered. Progress towards whole school targets is monitored and the effectiveness of interventions is evaluated.
The school governors meet half termly to review data. Governors can access data through Target Tracker and are given supplementary data about the school’s performance from ASP.
Standardisation and moderation
Internal monitoring of class books is carried out regularly each half term. We are currently part of two working parties looking at effective assessment systems. This has ensured that we are developing robust assessment which compares well with other schools in our locality. We take part in moderation meetings within our pyramid and alliance to ensure parity in our judgments and engage in Local Authority moderation processes to confirm our decisions.
Year 1 and Year 2 Phonics Check
In June all Year 1 pupils’ progress in phonics will be assessed. Each child will be assessed individually by their teacher. They will be asked to read 20 real and 20 pseudo-words in order to assess their decoding ability. Any child currently in Year 2 who did not achieve the pass mark last year will also take the test.
Assessment of Foundation Subjects
In order to assess the non-core subjects we are recording children’s progress against each statement from the relevant programme of study. Children who have engaged in some learning but have not independently achieved an objective will be rated as ‘Working Towards’. Children who have achieved an objective independently will be rated as ‘Achieved’ and children who have exceeded expectation for the objective and have been able to complete mastery tasks independently are rated as ‘Mastered’. The percentage of objectives rated as ‘Working Towards, ‘Achieved’ and ‘Mastered is then monitored by class teachers giving them a full picture of the progress and attainment of their class and by subject managers allowing them to see the picture of standards in their area across school.
A common aspect of classroom practice is self-assessment. All children have ‘COW Time’ which is Check Our Work Time. This is when they are given the opportunity to respond to teacher’s marking which has assessed their progress in an individual lesson.
Reporting to parents
The Target Tracker assessment system makes it easy for school to clearly communicate pupil attainment and progress to parents. By using the step assessments, teachers can clearly help parents understand whether their child is working at the appropriate point for their age, and by using the highlighted statements can provide guidance on what children need to do to progress.
All parents receive a written report of their child’s progress and attainment in the Summer term. Parents are offered formal opportunities to discuss their child on three occasions throughout the year.
Use of assessment to further progress
All assessment data is used when making strategic decisions about the use of funding to ensure that support is targeted where needed.