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 expected standards. Our assessments inform our immediate and long term planning. Our assessment gives:

  • Children/Students – 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 or organisations in which a pupil will receive the next stage of his/her education, or the Council, the diocese, 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. At St Stephen’s these formal assessments include:

An end of Early Years Foundation Stage assessment

  • We monitor how well pupils are achieving and the extent to which they are meeting identified expectations in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which helps to identify those who are achieving a good level of development and those who we need to give additional help
  • Alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile we assess the children’s style of learning through the Characteristics of Effective Learning and report these to parents alongside the Early Learning Goals

The Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1

  • It assess pupils’ phonic skills as part of early reading

End of Key Stage 1

For 2016, a new set of KS1 national curriculum tests replaces the previous tests and tasks.

The new tests consist of:

  • English reading Paper 1: combined reading prompt and answer booklet
  • English reading Paper 2: reading booklet and reading answer booklet
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: spelling
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: questions
  • mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
  • mathematics Paper 2: reasoning

There is no longer a test for English writing.  This will be done through teacher assessment only.

End of Key Stage 2

For 2016, a new set of KS2 national curriculum tests has been introduced consisting of:

  • English reading : reading booklet and associated answer booklet
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: short answer questions
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: spelling
  • mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
  • mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
  • mathematics Paper 3: reasoning

KS2 English reading test

The English reading test will have a greater focus on fictional texts. There is also a greater emphasis on the comprehension elements of the new curriculum. The test consists of a reading booklet and a separate answer booklet.

Pupils will have a total of 1 hour to read the 3 texts in the reading booklet and complete the questions at their own pace. There will be a mixture of genres of text. The least-demanding text will come first with the following texts increasing in level of difficulty.

Pupils can approach the test as they choose: eg working through one text and answering the questions before moving on to the next. The questions are worth a total of 50 marks.

KS2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test

The new grammar, punctuation and spelling test has a greater focus on knowing and applying grammatical terminology with the full range of punctuation tested.

The new national curriculum sets out clearly which technical terms in grammar are to be learnt by pupils and these are explicitly included in the test and detailed in the new test framework. It also defines precise spelling patterns and methodologies to be taught, and these are the basis of spellings in the test.

There will be no contextual items in the test.

As in previous years, there are two papers, Paper 1: questions and Paper 2: spelling.

Paper 1: questions consists of a single test paper. Pupils will have 45 minutes to complete the test, answering the questions in the test paper. The questions are worth 50 marks in total.

Paper 2: Spelling consists of an answer booklet for pupils to complete and a test transcript to be read by the test administrator. Pupils will have approximately 15 minutes to complete the test, but it is not strictly timed, by writing the 20 missing words in the answer booklet. The questions are worth 20 marks in total.

KS2 mathematics test

There are 3 papers; Paper 1: arithmetic; Paper 2: reasoning; and Paper 3: reasoning.

Paper 1: arithmetic replaces the mental mathematics test. The arithmetic test assesses basic mathematical calculations. The test consists of a single test paper. Pupils will have 30 minutes to complete the test, answering the questions in the test paper. The paper consists of 36 questions which are worth a total of 40 marks.

The questions will cover straightforward addition and subtraction and more complex calculations with fractions worth 1 mark each, and long divisions and long multiplications worth 2 marks each.

Papers 2 and 3 each consist of a single test paper. Pupils will have 40 minutes to complete each test, answering the questions in the test paper. Each paper will have questions worth a total of 35 marks.

In some answer spaces, where pupils need to show their method, square grids are provided for the questions on the arithmetic paper and some of the questions on Paper 2.

Why have assessment procedures changed?

A new National Curriculum has been introduced and with it new statutory assessment regulations. The National Curriculum Levels we have used for a number of years have been removed.

We are currently working in partnership with 3BM – an external agency which is committed to the development of rigorous assessment and tracking tools to redevelop our approach to assessment.

How have assessment procedures changed?

Our assessment practices continue to provide information about pupils’ attainment and progress. They 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. We continue to engage pupils in the whole assessment process by building self-assessment strategies into our teaching. We provide periodic summaries of attainment and progress through in-class tests, teacher assessment and the formal externally set tests.

We want students, teachers, parents, governors and school leaders at Local Authority and diocesan level to have confidence in our assessments and to use this information to help everyone be involved in raising standards for all our children. Rigorous assessment can sometimes be a draw upon time, but we want the assessments we make to be accurate and informative. Good assessment requires attention to detail and analytical skill. It involves teachers in: asking questions and interpreting answers; observing behaviours and responses to tasks; knowing if and when to intervene; and drawing on a wide range of evidence to build up a picture of a learner’s strengths and weaknesses.

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. Our assessment procedures will:

Make clear to all pupils our expectations in terms of learning behaviours

  • Set out the attitudes and behaviours we expect of pupils when in the classroom
  • Show them how work is to be presented in their books and establish that any unacceptable work is to be done again to the standard required by the school
  • Tell pupils that they will succeed and acknowledge how and when they are becoming successful learners to establish self-confidence and good learning behaviours

Share learning objectives with pupils

  • Share learning objectives at the beginning of a phase of learning – a module, a week or a lesson as appropriate, and highlight them during the lesson and in plenaries, using language that pupils understand
  • Use these objectives as the basis for eavesdropping, questioning and feedback during the learning activities as well as in plenaries
  • Use this ingoing assessment to inform planning and to make any adjustments to the learning objectives for the week and future weeks
  • Refer pupils back to earlier learning objectives to demonstrate and review progress over time

Help pupils to recognise the standards they are to achieve and have already achieved

  • Share and discuss pupils’ work explaining how and why they have met the standards expected
  • Give pupils clear success criteria that relate to the learning objectives
  • Set clear and shared expectations about the presentation of work and model how this is to be achieved with examples to set out standards
  • Display examples of pupils’ work-in-progress as part of a working wall

Involve pupils in self-assessment and peer-assessment

  • Provide time for pupils to read teacher’s feedback and assess how successfully they carried out the tasks set
  • Give pupils opportunities to talk in pairs or small groups about what they have learned, what they have found difficult and what they might do differently to improve
  • Ask pupils to explain the steps in their thinking and justify their decisions and reasoning
  • Model with pupils the language of assessment that they can use to review their own and their peer’s learning and to identify next steps in learning
  • Establish a classroom ethos that enables a critical review of work to be undertaken that is seen as positive and not taken as any personal criticism
  • Engage the pupils in feedback through their responses to teacher’s comments and giving pupils a short additional challenge to carry out that highlights what they have learned or what they need to correct

Provide feedback which leads to pupils recognising their next steps and how to take them

  • Provide immediate oral feedback that helps pupils to identify mistakes, correct errors and take the next steps needed to move their learning on
  • Mark work sharing criteria, give feedback and identify next steps and targets
  • Acknowledge success and give positive feedback but avoid giving excessive or underserved praise
  • Ensure feedback is constructive and identifies what a child has done well, what needs to be done to improve, and how to do it
  • Identify the next steps for individual pupils and where appropriate for groups who can collaborate on a common approach to improvement or progress

Involve teachers and pupils in reviewing and reflecting on assessment information

  • Identify carefully progressed steps in learning through the learning outcomes and success criteria to enable pupils to see their progress, thus building confidence and self-esteem
  • Use appropriate tasks that will provide us with quality assessment information by showing pupils’ thinking as well as the answer
  • Provide time for pupils and teachers to reflect on what they have learned and understood, and to identify where they still have difficulties
  • In the light of our assessments evaluate teaching effectiveness and deployment of resources, learning tasks and organisation of learners, and make any adjustments to improve learning and raise standards

The key features of assessment in the Early Years Foundation stage are discrete and shared observations. Through key working we can follow children’s individual learning journeys and support each child’s path to meeting the Early Learning Goals and acquiring a good or above level of development.

What procedures will be in place to ensure assessment is rigorous?

We will draw on the expertise that is available in our school, locally and in partnership with other schools, and nationally as further information and guidance is made public. We will implement monitoring and evaluation procedures and maintain a continuing overview of the whole in-school assessment through:

Monitoring of pupils’ work

  • Provide time for subject or phase leaders to carry out regular scrutiny of work to monitor pitch and expectations, coverage, marking and feedback in books and to review pupils’ progress with their teachers (See also pupil progress meetings below)
  • Senior leaders will carry out learning walks and lesson observations, review books and interview pupils about their learning and steps to improve
  • Senior leaders will quality assure the strengths and weaknesses identified by staff following their own and subject or phase leaders analyses of progress and standards in learning

Moderation across year groups and phases of learning

  • Provide time for key staff to carry out regular moderation of assessment and standards within and across key stages
  • Set out clear expectations about marking and feedback to pupils that everyone puts into practice
  • Collect examples of pupils’ work that highlight standards, common mistakes and effective assessment and feedback that staff can refer to when underrating moderation exercises

Formal testing

  • Use past test or examination papers and commercially produced materials to provide an independent check on how well pupils are doing and to compare outcomes against judgements made using a range of other assessment evidence
  • Use item analyses of these tests to find out where there are areas of overall strength and weakness in pupils’ knowledge in order to inform how we organise and teach this in future

Pupil progress meetings

  • Senior, middle leaders and teachers together carry out a review of pupils’ progress in each year group and class and identify the extent to which pupils are meeting expectations
  • Analyse ongoing and past performance data against expectations to review and if necessary set new or revised targets for pupils to achieve and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention and assessment strategies
  • Use the outcomes of the meeting to target intervention for groups and to review the provision map for pupils across the ability spectrum

Professional development and support

Key staff attend local and national meetings to learn more about assessment and reporting arrangements
Cross-schools moderation events provide an opportunity to ensure expectations are set at the right level and pitch

Parents’ evenings and meetings

  • Provide opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child’s progress and to highlight any key issues that are affecting the child’s learning
  • Update parents on changes to the curriculum and assessment arrangements, and identify ways in which they can support their child’s learning
  • Discuss the assessments and comments in pupils’ books and statutory reports to parents

As further guidance is issued by the DfE we will amend our practices if required and keep parents informed of any changes that involve their children.