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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.’
From September 2015, national curriculum levels can no longer be used for statutory assessments. The Commission on Assessment Without Levels was set up to provide advice and support to schools in developing new approaches to their own in-school assessment and to ensure they have information to make informed choices about what might work for their pupils, staff and curriculum. The Commission’s Final Report summarised that levels needed to be removed because ‘too often levels became viewed as thresholds and teaching became focused on getting pupils across the next threshold instead of ensuring they were secure in the knowledge and understanding defined in the programmes of study. Depth and breadth of understanding were sometimes sacrificed in favour of pace. Levels also used a ‘best fit’ model, which meant that a pupil could have serious gaps in their knowledge and understanding, but still be placed within the level. This meant it wasn’t always clear exactly which areas of the curriculum the child was secure in and where the gaps were.’
In developing our own approach to assessment, we have carefully considered the guidance and advice in the Commission’s Final Report, as well as that contained in the Government Response to the report.
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.
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 all 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 the data to ensure the school is supporting pupils learning effectively.
The schools can provide data for inspection teams to show how children are performing.
Local schools should collaborate to ensure 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 are using a system called Target Tracker.
Tracking Attainment and Progress with Steps
To track pupil attainment Target Tracker have devised a system of steps, based on the model assessment framework developed by the NAHT. 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 the Early Years.
Attainment has been broken down into a series of bands (1-6). These bands describe the attainment targets, or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) of each year group. The terminology has been selected for consistency and clarity. The vast majority of pupils will be working in the band that matches their year group. However, to ensure that learning is personalised to the needs of the individual, it is possible that some children may be working in a band below their respective year group. Equally, in exceptional circumstances, some higher attaining pupils may be accessing curriculum content from a higher band than their year group, though this is expected to be rare. Instead teachers will look to stretch and challenge higher attaining pupils by giving opportunities to broaden and deepen their understanding.
For reading, writing and maths, teachers will assess the children’s attainment on an on-going basis. For other subjects this will be completed either at the end of a unit or work or at a specific time. They will base these judgements on a range of evidence including work produced in class (both written and verbal), observations, discussions with children and summative tasks/tests.
Each statement can be assessed as either not begun, working towards, achieved or mastered. On a termly basis, teachers will then review this picture of attainment that is building for each child, and assign a step judgement that best fits where that child is with their learning.
Each band is divided into three broad sections:
Beginning – Pupil learning is chiefly focussed on the criteria for the band. There may be minimal elements of the previous band still to gain complete confident in.
Working within – Pupil learning is fully focussed on the criteria for the band. Up to 70% of the statements are confidently achieved.
Secure – Confidence in all of the criteria for the band. There may be pupil learning still focussed on gaining thorough confidence in some elements but the broad expectations for the band have been met.
Each band has then been further broken down into six steps: beginning (b), beginning + (b+), working within (w), working within + (w+), secure (s) and secure + (s+). This is designed to allow class teachers to represent and report progress for a pupil where they may not feel that the best fit is within the next section. For example, a pupil may be assessed as Band 2 Beginning in the Autumn term in Year 2. The next time the class teacher records a summative assessment they may not feel the pupil has progressed to Working Within, but the pupil has made progress. An assessment of Beginning + allows that progress to be represented and will feed through to overall class and Key Stage reporting.
For children to be working at age related expectation, they would need to reach the secure(s) step at the end of the appropriate year. Secure+ effectively represents both the transition step from one band to the next and the consolidation of the band. It allows teachers to identify pupils who, whilst still working at are related expectations, have attained a more thorough and wide ranging grasp of the content and concepts.
To meet age related expectations, children should reach the secure (s) step by the end of the appropriate year. To move from the secure (s) in one band to the next is 6 steps progress, which equates to an average of 1 step or 1 point of progress each half term. This is on-track or expected progress.
Year 1 pupils who are working below the beginning of the Year 1 band could still be assessed using the EYFS 40-60w, 40-60w+, 40-60s or 40-60s+ month band steps. Pupils working below the beginning of the Year 1 band with recognised SEND may be assessed using P-Scales.
In Early Years teachers assess children on entry to Reception using Tapestry. In the first half of the Autumn term, teaching staff observe the children in a variety of task and play based situations to facilitate assessment judgements to be made against a set of statements.
In Reception children are continuing to be assessed against the Foundation Stage Profile. Evidence for judgements against each of the statements is collected through observations, books and discussions, and depending on these judgements children may be described as having achieved the ‘Good Level of Development’ measure at the end of the Reception year. The school engages in regular moderation of these judgements within our pyramid of schools. The data is recorded on a termly basis in Target Tracker for monitoring and target setting.
How is the Target Tracker data used?
Each term class data is collected and analysed by class teachers and the leadership team in Pupil Progress Meetings. Individual progress is monitored as well as that of specific groups. Interventions are targeted and reviewed based on the data collected. The leadership team reviews the schools data in connection with the school raising attainment plan and pupil progress across classes, year groups and whole school is considered in light of this. The school governors receive regular updates about the data from termly Headteacher reports, School Improvement Summary Reports and ASP.
Standardisation and Moderation
Internal moderation of class books is carried out regularly each term. We take part in moderation meetings within our academy to ensure parity in our judgements 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 either did not take the test in Year 1 or did not achieve the pass mark last year will also take the test.
In order to inform interventions and specific programmes of support, the schools also use a range of assessments, screens and monitoring tools that can provide valuable information to teachers, senior leaders and parents regarding progress and/or barriers to learning. Examples of these include:
- Diagnostic timetables
- Reading and spelling ages
- CAT tests
- Pixl assessments
End of Key Stage Assessments
2016 is is the first year that children at the end of both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 will be assessed against the new National Curriculum. In addition, from 2016, attainment in national curriculum tests will no longer be reported in levels. Instead, scaled scores will be used.
Scaled scores help test results to be reported consistently from one year to the next. National curriculum tests are designed to be as similar as possible year on year, but slight differences in difficulty will occur between years. Scaled scores maintain their meaning over time so that two pupils achieving the same scaled score in different years will have demonstrated the same attainment.
A scaled score of 100 will always represent the ‘expected standard’.
A pupil’s scaled score will be based on their raw score. The raw score is the total number of marks a pupil receives in a test, based on the number of questions they answered correctly. The pupil’s raw score will be translated into a scaled score using a conversion table. In KS1, teachers will need to use these to translate pupils’ raw scores into scaled scores to see whether each pupil has met the expected standard. For the 2018 KS2 tests STA will publish test results on the NCA tools website and each pupil will receive a raw score (the number of raw marks awarded), a scaled score and confirmation of whether or not they attained the expected standard.
Key Stage One
For 2018, a new set of KS1 national curriculum tests replaces the previous tests and tasks.
The new tests consist of:
- English reading Papers 1 and 2
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: spelling and Paper 2: questions, this is optional for schools
- Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic and Paper 2: reasoning
There is no longer a test or task for English writing.
Most children in Year Two will sit the tests, and they will be administered as part of normal class room practice during May 2018. Teachers will use the outcomes of the tests along with a broad range of other evidence to inform their teacher assessments. For 2018 the Interim Teachers Assessment Framework for KS1 and the Interim Pre Key Stage Standards for KS1 are the standards against which teachers will make their assessments.
In reading, writing and maths, depending on a child’s depth of understanding of the KS1 programme of study, they may be assessed as either working towards the expected standard, working at the expected standard or working at greater depth within the expected standard. Additionally, if a pupil has reached the chronological age where an outcome must be reported but the pupil is deemed not to have completed the Key Stage 1 programme of study, then they may be assessed as working at the foundations for the expected standard. For science, children may be assessed as either working at the expected standard or working below the expected standard.
Key Stage Two
For 2018, 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
There will only be one set of tests for each subject. The tests will include a small number of questions designed to assess the most able pupils so separate tests, such as the previous level 6 tests, are no longer required.
The mental mathematics test has been replaced with an arithmetic test.
In addition, science sampling tests are taken biennially in a sample of schools selected by the STA. The STA will contact selected schools early in the spring term. If selected, representatives from the STA administer the tests.
In addition to the outcomes of the tests, teachers will also use a broad range of other evidence to inform their teacher assessments. For 2018 the Interim Teachers Assessment Framework for KS2 and the Interim Pre Key Stage Standards for KS2 are the standards against which teachers will make their assessments.
For reading, maths and science, depending on a child’s depth of understanding of the KS2 programme of study, they may be teacher assessed as either working at the expected standard or working below the expected standard. For writing, there is a broader range of possible teacher assessment outcomes as this is the sole measure of pupil attainment in writing at the end of KS2. For writing, they may be assessed as either working towards the expected standard, working at the expected standard or working at greater depth within the expected standard. Additionally, if a pupil has reached the chronological age where an outcome must be reported but the pupil is deemed not to have completed the key stage 2 programme of study, then they may be teacher assessed in reading, writing and maths as having achieved either the foundations for the expected standard, early development of the expected standard or growing development of the expected standard.
Reporting to Parents
The Target Tracker assessment system makes it easy for schools to clearly communicate pupil attainment and progress to parents. By using the steps 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. Where appropriate, this will also include the results of any National Curriculum tests. In this report, the children’s attainment in the foundation subjects is also detailed in relation to their year group attainment targets, as well as an assessment of the child’s effort in these subjects. Parents are also offered formal opportunities to discuss their child’s progress and attainment in Parents’ Evenings in the Autumn and Spring terms.