Why do we assess?
Our assessment provides valuable information to help children, teachers, parents and school leaders to acknowledge, analyse and review achievements and progress in learning against age related expected standards. Our assessments inform our immediate and long term planning.
Our assessment gives:
- Pupils – the learners – an understanding of where they are secure, what it is that they need to do to rectify any gaps and the next steps needed to extend their learning
- Teachers the detailed knowledge of their pupils’ achievements which they can use to inform future learning, their planning and their teaching
- Parents and carers regular reports on their child’s progress in meeting expectations and ensures that teachers, pupils and parents can work together to secure learning and raise standards for all children
- School leaders and governors information that they can analyse and use to make decisions about future actions to improve standards, learning and teaching in the school
- External agencies and partners (such as those schools organisations in which a pupil will receive the next stage of his/her education, or the Council, the DfE and Ofsted) the evidence that a school knows its pupils well and sets and maintains high standards in learning and teaching as part of the school’s public accountability to its pupils’ future.
What are schools and settings statutorily required to assess?
Teachers carry out day to day assessments and checks on pupils’ understanding and progress as part of their day to day teaching. Statutory, formal assessment procedures and examinations also exist to measure attainment against national standards. Our pupils’ achievements are compared nationally with all those pupils of the same age and against schools in the local authority and in England.
These formal assessments currently include:
- An end of Early Years Foundation Stage assessment.
- The Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1
- End of Key Stage 1 (Year 2)
- End of Key Stage 2 ( Year 6)
Hillside Assessment Process
As of September 2014, the DfE removed assessing with levels for children in primary schools. Schools were encouraged to create their own non-levels based assessment system.
Effective Assessment Systems should;
- Give reliable information to parents about how their child, and their child’s school is performing
- Help drive improvement for pupils and teachers
- Make sure the school is keeping up with external best practice and innovation
(DfE Assessment Principles)
Early Years Foundation Stage Unit (EYFS)
Children in the EYFS are assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP). This consists of Ages and Stages criteria for nursery learners moving into Early Learning Goals for Reception aged learners.
Evidence is gathered across the year to create profiles for all children in EYFS and we value all contributions from parents and carers to these documents.
Assessment in EYFS is gathered through observations of learners, samples of learning, photographs and conversations which demonstrate the child understanding of a given concept.
At the end of Reception these are reported as Emerging, Expected or Exceeding the Early Learning Goals in each area. This helps to identify those who are achieving a good level of development and those who we need to give additional help.
In addition to this, staff identify the learning behaviours of children and plan lessons and activities to develop a wide range of learning skills in preparation for the next stage in their education Key Stage 1.
KS1 and KS2
From September 2015, children at Hillside are assessed against the National Curriculum objectives through the Stoke on Trent ‘Pathways’ assessment system. This tool assesses reading, writing and mathematics from the end of reception to year 6 and the ever important transition to High School. The language of emerging, developing and securing enables teachers to assess children against the end of year expectations and the three stages provide graduated steps to achieving the outcomes expected.
Our new assessment practice continues to provide information about pupils’ attainment and progress. They will still involve marking pupils’ work and providing written and oral feedback that identifies successes and the next steps for improvement and checking that they have responded to this feedback (regular, planned Fix-it time). We continue to engage pupils in the whole assessment process by building self-assessment strategies into our teaching. We continue to complete summative assessments to support and validate our teacher judgements of attainment and progress.
What are the key features of our assessment procedures?
Our assessment procedures will continue to give attention to helping pupils to meet or exceed national expectations and achieve the highest standards they can, over each key stage of their learning. The National Curriculum sets out what our pupils are to learn but we decide how we are to assess our pupils’ attainment and progress over the key stage.
Across all year groups gathering evidence of children’s progress and development will continue with a wide range of assessment:
Formative assessment: Day-to-day assessment through observations, conversations, marking work etc. This informs future planning.
Summative assessment: More formal assessments and tests. At Hillside children in Years 1-6 undertake fortnightly reviews of skills for mathematics, grammar and spelling. They also take part in regular assessments to demonstrate their understanding of reading, writing and mathematics and scaled scores are derived to provide teacher, parents and children with clear assessment information. In EYFS and KS1 children are tested on a termly basis on common exception words and the phonic sounds.
Moderation takes place regularly within school and also within the City Learning Trust schools. Further quality assurance of assessment judgements also takes place from other external sources to ensure consistency and validation of assessments.
Teachers at Hillside teach from the National Curriculum and cover all requirements for the specific year groups. These requirements are called ‘End of Year Expectations’ These clearly set out the minimum requirements a learner must meet in order to ensure continued progress throughout the year in line with age related expectations.
A copy of the End of Year Expectations for Reading, Writing and Maths for the year group your child is in is sent out at the beginning of each year. They are also available on our website and copies are available from school upon request.
At Hillside we have developed our assessment system based upon three stages.
Learners are assessed against their end-of-year expectations to determine whether they are
The term ‘path’ is used to represent the year group objectives the child is working on. E.g. Year 4 end of year objectives are names ‘path 4’
The New Curriculum focuses very much on ensuring children have a breadth of understanding within the concepts and skills they learn. The application of skills and understanding across a wide range of curriculum areas is key. Rather than moving ‘up’ the stages, the focus is on moving ‘outwards’ developing a deeper understanding.
As they progress through the year, children will make progress towards more of the end of year expectations and move at varying pace through the scale. The ‘Pathways’ assessment tool allows children to move through the assessment system at their own pace and children will remain on the same ‘Path’ until objectives are met and evidence shows that children are secure with them in a range of contexts. This will ensure children do not have gaps in their understanding and a secure foundation to continue building upon. In certain cases some children may have specific needs with certain areas of the end of year objectives e.g. spellings. High quality first teaching in the first instance will be utilised to address areas of difficulty, in addition further interventions and/ or support may also be put into place.
It is expected that the vast majority of children will meet the end of year expectations (securing), with some children achieving a greater level of depth and mastery. To assess the depth of learning four ratings are used- Depth of learning rating one [#1] is the shallowest and depth of learning rating four [#4] is the deepest. Children rated with hashtag 3 or 4 have good applications of learning; they can apply understanding in different situations transferring their knowledge and skills and can connect learning together.
Hillside Primary School is committed to giving all pupils every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards. Target-setting is the means by which we identify specific and measurable goals that help to improve the attainment of all children.
There are three target setting processes utilised at Hillside Primary School to ensure children know where they are, where they are going and what they must do to get there.
Long Term Targets
The end of year expectations for the path the child is currently working on is displayed at the front of English, maths and guided reading books. Parents and Carers receive the information at the beginning of each academic year to ensure they have a clear understanding of the objectives the children are expected to achieve. Teachers refer to objectives when teaching and marking and use them as a tool when setting targets.
Medium Term Targets
At the end of each term teachers and children work together to identify strengths and areas for development in reading, writing and maths. These areas of development are recorded as targets and displayed in the children’s ‘Path to Success’ file. A copy is also sent home to parents so that they can support learning. These are reviewed regularly and used by the children day to day and by the teacher when planning, marking and assessing.
Short Term Targets
Children receive daily feedback from their class teacher in the form of both oral and written feedback. Each piece of work is graded in terms of effort and understanding from both the child and teacher. Where necessary a ‘Fix It’ or ‘Fix It Challenge’ is given. This short term target enables children to improve, consolidate or extend their learning.
The following flow chart diagram explains the assessment process: