Assessment Policy

Assessment Policy


This policy is being reviewed to inform best practice and to pull together all existing assessment procedures in the school.

This policy will inform the teacher and community of our school in the use of assessments and the reporting of outcomes. It will also guide us in insuring that the individual needs of children are met.

All members of the teaching staff are involved in developing implementing and reviewing this policy

Introductory Statement

The Principal and teaching staff, with the support of the PPDS Advisor, have reviewed and amended the assessment policy for O’Connell’s Primary School. The draft of this policy will be brought to the parents and Board of Management for their input and ratification.

The school policy on assessment reflects the core values and ethos of this school. Therefore the Assessment policy will link with all other school policies.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

Assessment activities used in this school will contribute to pupil learning and development, by informing all relevant parties of the educational needs of individual pupils.


This policy is to inform the teacher and community of our school in the use of assessments and the reporting of outcomes. It will also guide us in insuring that the individual needs of children are met.

This policy will help:

§ To benefit pupil learning

§ To monitor learning processes

§ To generate baseline data that can be used to monitor achievement over time

§ To involve parents and pupils in identifying and managing learning strengths or difficulties

§ To assist teachers’ long and short term planning

§ To coordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis, etc.

Purposes of assessment:

· To inform planning for, and coverage of, all areas of the curriculum

· To gather and interpret data at class/whole school level and in relation to national norms

· To identify the particular learning needs of pupils/groups of pupils including the exceptionally able

· To contribute to the school’s strategy for prevention of learning difficulties

· To monitor pupil progress and attainment

· To enable teachers to modify their programmes in order to ensure that the particular learning needs of individual pupils/groups are being addressed

· To compile records of individual pupils’ progress and attainment

· To facilitate communication between parents and teachers about pupils’ development, progress and learning needs

· To facilitate the involvement of pupils in assessment of their own work

· To enable teachers to monitor their own approaches and methodologies

Assessment for learning:

As outlined in the Assessment Guidelines for Teachers pupils in our school experience a variety of assessment techniques. Teacher observation, teacher designed tests, the use of projects and homework are all methods of assessment which are used throughout the school. Summative assessment involves recording the results of regular weekly tests of spelling, mental computation in mathematics and teacher designed tests and tasks to assist with evaluating learning outcomes in a range of subjects. The results of these tests can also be used when communicating with parents. On the other hand formative assessment is used on an on-going basis to assist with pupil self evaluation and teacher evaluation of the learning process. It informs planning, and modification of lesson plans may be made based on the findings to ensure that realistic targets are set and achieved.

Students will complete three K.W.L. grids per week, one to be from a core curriculum area and two from any other subject area. Each pupil will complete ‘Two Stars and a Wish’ daily to ascertain two learning objectives that they have achieved that day and one aspect of the curriculum that they feel they need further assistance with.

Standardised tests

All Classes 2nd to 6th

SIGMA T and MICRA T are administered in May of each year. The results of these tests are used to assist teachers in their maths and English planning and schemes. They also inform the development of policies and plans in Language, Maths and resource / learning support teaching in the school.

· Parent/teacher meetings take place both formally, in November and informally during the year. Parents are informed of their children’s progress in all areas.

· Using the MICRA and SIGMA results parents are given support in interpreting these results.


Diagnostic tests

All children on entry to the school are individually assessed by the learning support team with a view to identifying specific learning needs.

This assessment includes the Marino and Schonell Reading Tests. Selection of pupils for Learning support/ resource is decided upon in consultation with the principal, class teacher and parents.

The NRIT (Non-Reading Intelligence Test) is administered to 2nd and 5th classes and recorded on a class profile sheet. Results of these tests combined with standardised results and teacher observation indicate which children need further assessment by the educational psychologist. The principal contacts all relevant parties for consent to the assessment taking place.

Dolch Word Test, Non-word Reading Test and Jolly Phonics Reading Assessment Test will be administered to children who are deemed to need additional support in accessing the curriculum.

Class Teacher Assessments – Assessment of Learning.

All class teachers will refer to the Primary School Curriculum for guidance on informal assessments in all subject areas.

Teachers also refer to ‘Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum- Guidelines for Teachers’ , ‘Learning Support Guidelines’, Curriculum – sections on Assessment; standardised and/or diagnostic tests; educational publications; procedures in other schools; legislation and websites.

Teachers review/refer to other policies that the school has in place and which may have a bearing on this policy e.g. Learning Support, Record keeping, Special Needs, SNAs, Curriculum plans, Home School Community Liaison, Homework, Enrolment, …

Within each subject plan there are identified informal assessments which inform the teacher of the pupils progress and specific learning needs. These are recorded and maintained by the class teacher.

Tables Assessment

1) Students are assessed informally by the teachers during daily “tables time”.

2) Children are tested using the Ballard, Westwood 1 minute table test, at least once per term.

3) Results are formatted in Excel Document to be reviewed by teacher and other staff.

Spelling Assessment

1) Children are assessed weekly by the class teacher in their groups.

2) Children are assessed at the end of each term, covering all spelling units taught in

that period of time.

3) Each teacher will keep a record of test results.

4) Whole school will complete the Schonell Spelling Test annually and results recorded and put on file

Psychological Assessment: (Refer to Circular 02/05)

· The Principal and/or HSCL teacher liaises with parents if it is felt that a psychological assessment or other assessment is required. (Stage 3, Circular 02/05). The school has formulated standard letters and consent forms to be used. (ref. NEPS)

· The Principal is responsible for requesting and arranging an assessment from specialist(s) (Psychologist, Speech & Language Therapist, Audiologist, other…)

· The results of these assessments form the basis for planning individual needs and are recorded in IEPs.

· The School secure the results of psychological assessments in a locked filing cabinet under the control of the Principal. Access to them is by means of permission from the guardians and the principal.

Recording the results of assessment

· The recording of assessment results are in both written and/or electronic format.

· Teachers approach the use and communication of assessment results in a professional manner.

· Guardian/parental consent is sought for all transfer and communications of assessment results to outside agencies.

· This policy is linked to all other school policies especially: Special needs, Behaviour policy, Record keeping, Data protection, Reports to parents etc.

Reporting the results of assessment

The results of these tests are reported to parents of all classes during Parent/Teacher Meetings and in all Summer Reports, which will be posted home in late May/ early June. The Sten score with a descriptor attached is the method used to communicate this information to parents. The following table is an example of how Sten scores are interpreted.

Support and assessment where English is an additional language

The Language support teacher and class teacher in collaboration identify the children requiring additional support in English.

Assessment policy – EAL pupils

Assessment is based on the outline in the NCCA June 2006 document “English as an additional language in Irish primary schools – Guidelines for teachers” and the Dept. of Education publication 2007 “Primary School Assessment Kit”

Initial Assessment

Initial interview assessment for new pupils (IILT) in NCCA document June 2006

Placement Assessment (Primary School Assessment Kit 2007)

On-going Assessment

v Monitoring language and social development during silent period (where relevant)

v Teacher observation. The EAL teacher consults on an on-going basis with the class teacher regarding the progress of each EAL pupil in oral English and Maths.

v Teacher designed tasks and tests – spelling and oral Maths

v Standardised English tests (SigmaT) and NIRT where appropriate

v Sharing information on child’s progress with parents or guardians

Final or year-end Assessment

Speaking and listening, reading and writing tests (Primary School Assessment Kit 2007) to assess pupil level on English Language Proficiency Benchmarks to assess progress in each area and when/if language support may be terminated.

The following informal assessments are also used

  • Teacher observation
  • Teacher-designed tasks and tests
  • Completed assignments by pupils – projects, copybooks, activities, work samples, homework, portfolios…
  • Parental, pupil feedback or observation
  • Assessment by psychologist

Success Criteria

Practical indicators of the success of this policy:

· A range of informal and formal assessment modes are used to place assessment as an integral part of teaching and learning.

· Procedures run smoothly and efficiently because there is clarity about what is expected and who is responsible for different aspects.

· Transfer of information from class teacher to class teacher happens efficiently at the beginning/end of school year.

· Transfer of information between Principal, Special Education team and class teachers happens efficiently at all times during the school year.

Roles and Responsibility

The Principal along with the teacher with the role of responsibility for assessment and all other staff work collaboratively to ensure successful implementation of this policy.

Implementation Date

This Policy will be implemented from today and during the school year 12-13

Timetable for Review

· This policy will be reviewed by all staff in the third term of the school year 2013

Ratification & Communication

This policy was presented to the Board of Management on …………. It was ratified on ……………… All staff have a circulated copy of the policy which is maintained in their class/year file.

Reference Section

· Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum – Guidelines for Schools, NCCA, 2007

· Special Educational Needs – a Continuum of Support, Guidelines for Teachers and Resource Pack for Teachers, NEPS, 2007

· Learning Support Guidelines, DES, 2000

· Circular 0138/2006 Supporting Assessment in Primary Schools

· Circular 02/05 Organisation of Teaching Resources for Pupils who need Additional Support in Mainstream Primary Schools

· Primary School Curriculum – section on assessment for each subject

· Working together to Make a Difference for Children, NEPS

· Drumcondra English Profiles. G. Shiel & R. Murphy, ERC, 2000

· Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs, Peter Westwood, Routledge Falmer, 1997

· A range of assessment tests are listed on the SESS website

· Draft Report Cards Templates.

· info@ncca, September 2005. Issue 1, p. 8. Assessment for Learning