At Westerings Primary Academy, a range of formal and informal assessment procedures take place, in order to identify further learning needs. Processes include targeted questioning, discussing, analysing written work, marking, observing and talking with the children.We also use written tests to help assess children’s application of skills and knowledge in problem-solving scenarios. Assessment procedures vary, according to year group and age of pupils.
Assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage takes the form of observation. Daily observations are carried out with the children during both their child initiated activities and adult led activities. These observations are recorded in children’s individual ‘Learning Journey’ books, along with information from families and others who spend time with the children. Throughout their time in Reception, each child’s individual level of development is recorded towards achieving the Early Learning Goals.
As part of the normal school day, all children in KS1 and KS2 have a substantial role in assessing their own and others’ learning and identifying the next steps towards achieving their individual targets.
- Children participate in Self Assessment against the set Success Criteria, using green, orange and red traffic lights to indicate their confidence level and whether they feel they have achieved the Learning Objective for that lesson.
- Children also peer assess, making constructive and evaluative comments to suggest next steps to their peers. Again, these are in direct reference to the Learning Objective.
- Adults focus their marking on evaluating the Learning Objective, suggesting next steps in learning.
At the end of each half term, class teachers assess children's progress and attainment against a National Curriculum level to ensure consistent progress and to identify those who may need targeted support.
How Do we Report These Assessments?
- Children's current levels of attainment as well as their targets are written in their Learning Journals which go home each day to inform Parents/Carers. Level Descriptor statements in the Journals indicate what their next steps may be. Children have set times during the week to work on their targets and to respond to teachers' marking comments. Learning Journals are kept on work tables, referred to regularly and updated with new targets as the children achieve them.
- Parents/Carers are invited to attend consultation interviews with their child's class teacher twice a year when their targets and progress towards them can be discussed, as well as suggested ways of supporting their child at home. Parents are always welcome to make further appointments at other times, should they desire them.
- All Parents/Carers receive a Mid Year Target-Setting Report in Spring to inform them of their child's current attainment in Reading, Writing and Maths, whether they are working at age-appropriate levels and ways of supporting them to further progress.
- All Parents/Carers receive an 'End of Year Report' in the Summer Term which reports clearly in every subject and sets targets for the following academic year.
- Children with special educational needs or disabilities have personal targets that they work towards and these are assessed as necessary by all adults working with the children, involving Parents/Carers.
Teacher assessments and test results are reported Half Termly to the Senior Leadership Team, who in turn, analyse and report findings and further actions to Governors and AET. Following assessments, interventions may be set up, in collaboration with the SENDCo to address identified need. All children, including children with SEND, are expected to make at least good progress, compared with National Standards. Maintaining high expectations of others and ourselves has proven to raise standards consistently and Academy data demonstrates that, even when individual children enter the Academy with below average levels in the core subjects, they have a good chance of leaving the Academy with higher than average results.
The NEW National Curriculum & Assessment Without Levels
Changes to the New Curriculum and Assessment System Assessment Without Levels
From September, the Government has made a huge change in the way that children in schools are to be assessed. This is to link with the New National Curriculum introduced in September 2014. This is a new way of thinking for schools, and assessment will look very different to how it has done for the past 20 years. The aim of this guide is to hopefully give you some clear information about all the changes that are happening in Education across the country.
The End of Curriculum Levels
The Department for Education (DfE) has decided that the children who are currently in Years 2 and 6 will be the last pupils to be awarded a level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015). Children will still be tested from 2016, but using a new test to assess whether they have reached a 'National Standard'.
So why are Levels disappearing?
The changes have been introduced to avoid what has been termed ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their National Curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a Level 5.
Nationally, a significant number of children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2 but were not always secure at that level. The feeling from the DfE was that the old National Curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each National Curriculum level.
Assessing Without Levels
The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels, and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils. We are currently working with the other Primary Schools in our cluster of Hullbridge, Rayleigh and Hockley to determine a clear and workable system.
Government guidance states that:
Each year group has expected curriculum knowledge and skills to cover and these are called ‘bands’.
In Year 1, the children will be working at Band 1, Year 2 will be working in Band 2 etc to Band 6 in Year 6.
Within each band, the children will be assessed as whether they are:
• beginning the band (below National Standard)
• working towards National Standard
• National Standard (secure in all areas of the band)
• Mastery Standard (secure in all areas and able to apply their knowledge and skills confidently)
Under the old levels system children who were achieving above average might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in this bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth. However, it may be the case, in very exceptional circumstances, that a few children may begin working towards the expectations in the next band by the end of an academic year. Similarly, there may be some children who are working in a lower band than that attached to their age group.
In each Autumn term, by October/November the teachers will have had an opportunity to assess how the children are working. At the start of each year group, every child will be beginning/below National Standard as they are being judged against the End of Year statements. Teachers will then give a forecast as to where they think a child will be by the end of the Year. So, for example, children in Year 3 could be given a forecast of Beginning Band 3, Working Towards National Standard in Band 3, National Standard in Band 3 or Mastery Standard in Band 3. Only very exceptional children will have a forecast from a higher or lower year group.
During the year, when we have conversations with you about you child’s progress you will be told whether your child is on track to meet their end of year target. It may well be that they are above or below where they need to be, in which case their end of year target may be adjusted. During this academic year, we will be gradually introducing the new system to ensure that everyone understands the changes and parents/carers continue to be informed about their child’s attainment and progress.
We hope that you find this guide useful to help you understand why assessment has changed and how it will affect procedures in school. If you need further information, please contact the Academy.