Accurate and regular assessment is a key aspect of facilitating learning: it enables teaching staff to monitor and track pupils' progress in order to ensure that subsequent activities are well-pitched to meet children's needs.
At Nether Alderley Primary School, pupils' progress is assessed in a number of different ways:
This is the informal assessment that staff make every day to track children's learning. Staff can then identify whether each child has understood a particular concept and offer timely and appropriate support if they have not demonstrated a secure level of understanding. Children also have opportunities to reflect on their work.
Formative assessment takes place in a variety of ways. One example is the marking of children's written work. Sometimes this happens within a lesson, sometimes afterwards. Teachers also use oral questioning and games to gauge understanding, and as the children mature they begin to self-assess aspects of their work. Where misconceptions arise, the teacher gives feedback to support the child. This can consist of written comments, questions and challenges or sometimes, particularly with younger pupils, the teacher feeds back verbally. Where children have used Apple technology, teachers can use written or oral comments via Showbie or Purple Mash.
Children are given opportunities to reflect on their learning and make the necessary amendments to their initial work to demonstrate their new understanding and improve their work. At Nether Alderley, we refer to this as 'fix-it time'.
Nether Alderley uses a number of different methods of summative assessment.
After the completion of a unit of work, teachers check children's progress on the unit as a whole. For instance, in maths children work through a short test on a block of maths e.g. addition and subtraction. In science, history or geography, Key Stage 2 children often complete a 'mini-quiz' on the unit e.g. theAnglo-Saxons. Typically, testing takes place two or three weeks after finishing the unit in order to check children's retention of knowledge and understanding.
Additionally, in order to track pupils' progress their retention of previous learning, pupils are formally assessed three times each year in reading, writing and mathematics. Following these assessments, and in light of their day-to-day responses, teachers make a judgement on a pupil's performance against age-related expectations. These judgements are:
- Working towards age-related expectations: this judgement is awarded where children are unlikely to satisfy the demands of their age-related expectations by the end of the academic school year. At times, children who are working towards age-related expectations may receive additional support through a specific intervention or through in-class group support with teachers or teaching assistants. Where children's performance is significantly below that of age-related expectations, external professionals may assist in investigating whether the child has any specific barriers to learning which may inform future practice.
- Working at age-expected standard: this judgement illustrates that the child is performing within the expected boundaries for their age. Typically, most pupils will be working at age-expected standards.
- Working at greater depth within age-related expectations: pupils who are awarded this judgement are consistently performing above the expectations of a child of their age. They may show greater flair in their work, utilise a range of different features with great precision or demonstrate that they can apply key concepts in a broader range of contexts. Few children nationally will be working at this level.
As a requirement of the National Curriculum, Year 2 and Year 6 pupils take their end of key stage SATs in May of each year. There are also specific checks of phonics for Year 1 children and multiplication tables for Year 4 children. Most of these tests provide data for national comparisons. The complete set of statutory tests are:
- Year 1: phonics screening check
- Year 2: reading (2 papers) and mathematics (2 papers). There are also optional tests for spelling, grammar and punctuation (2 papers). Writing is teacher assessed therefore pupils do not sit a writing test. Evidence is gathered throughout the course of the year and verified by external moderators. (However, unlike for Year 6, national comparisons are based on moderated teacher assessments rather than the SATs.)
- Year 4: multiplication tables check (on-screen assessment).
- Year 6: reading (1 paper), mathematics (3 papers), spelling, grammar and punctuation (2 papers). Writing is teacher assessed therefore pupils do not sit a writing test. Evidence is gathered throughout the course of the year and verified by external moderators.
For information on our school data, please visit: http://www.netheralderley.cheshire.sch.uk/page/school-performance-data/8257