In 2014 a new National Curriculum was published by the government and schools have worked to implement the fundamental aims set by the National Curriculum in raising standards. Expectations of what children should achieve year on year are now much higher than they were before.
The DFE has published a set of core assessment principles to help schools prepare to implement new assessment arrangements for tracking pupil progress against the new National Curriculum. The document reminds schools that there will be no national system for doing this, but that schools will be expected to demonstrate (with evidence) their assessment of pupils’ progress so that they can keep parents informed, enable governors to make judgments about the school’s effectiveness and to inform inspections by Ofsted. The document states that ‘effective assessment systems’ should:
- 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.
At Brackenbury, we have developed a system that builds on best practice nationally. Using a combination of exemplars, portfolios, pupil interviews and regular observations, our teachers carefully assess the needs of each child on a continuous basis.
- To track the progress of individual pupils or groups of pupils.
- To identify trends over time that indicate strengths and areas for development, both within subjects and across phases.
- To ensure that planning is appropriately set to the needs of pupils in order to raise achievement and maximise rates of progress.
- To inform the communication with parents, other staff and pupils of progress.
The school curriculum, and expectations set in teaching and learning are focussed around Age-Related Expectations (ARE). These are the skills, knowledge and understanding children are expected to have at the end of each year group. They assess how children demonstrate, contextualise, and link these skills and understanding.
In years 1-6 assessments focus on the attainment of children against ARE. By the end of each academic year children will be assessed as ‘working towards’ or ‘working at’ ARE for their year group. The aim is that most children will be at least ‘working towards’ an ARE by the end of each academic year. Children working above ARE are assessed as ‘working at greater depth’.
Ongoing assessments throughout the year track individual children’s attainment in relation to the ARE for their year group and to plan the next steps in their learning. Throughout the year children will be assessed and described as being ’emerging’, ‘developing’ or ‘secure’.
ARE follow on from assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) where children’s attainment is described in relation to the 17 early learning goals (ELGs). At the end of the EYFS a child’s level of development is recorded against each of the ELGs as ’emerging’, ‘expected’, or ‘exceeding’. In the EYFS at Brackenbury achievement is tracked and teaching and learning are linked to the stage of learning and development children are working at and demonstrating they are either ’emerging’, ‘expected’, or ‘exceeding’. Children may be ‘exceeding’ in some areas of learning, but ’emerging’ in others. At the end of the EYFS children are defined as having a ‘good level of development’ if they have achieved at least the ‘expected’ level in the three core areas of learning and development-communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development.
Children with special educational needs (SEN) should work at ARE in curriculum areas not affected by their particular needs. Children’s educational health care plans and other school interventions should enable these children to meet their personalised objectives and targets.
Informal assessment is an ongoing process and an integral part of teaching and learning in the classroom. Assessment opportunities are recorded on the planning sheets and marking reflects assessments of progress.
Formal termly assessments are made in:
One the basis of the assessments in these areas, teachers will determine whether a pupil is emerging, developing or securing the ARE. This is recorded each term.
On a half termly basis, a formal assessment is conducted at the end of a topic. From these assessments, a judgement against ARE is recorded for each pupil.
An integrated task is carried out at the end of each topic and children’s attainment is assessed against progress statements.
Children in Nursery and Reception are assessed against the age-related bands for each core area of learning and development plus:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Initial baseline assessments are completed by the first half-term and updated on SIMS (School Information Management System). The Inclusion Manager with SEN and EAL staff oversee SEN and EAL assessments with individual pupils. When individual pupils are identified for participation in extra intervention programmes, their progress is monitored through specific entry and exit assessments as well as the above.
In Year 1, all children undergo ‘Phonics Screening’ to check that their phonics knowledge and skill is at, or above, a nationally expected standard. The outcomes of this screening are communicated with parents of children in Year 1. If a child fails to meet the nationally expected phonics standard, they undergo the screening again in Year 2 where there is an expectation that children will meet the standard. This reported to the parents of those children.
In Year 2, children will be tested in Reading, Mathematics and Spelling Grammar and Punctuation (SPAG). Writing is teacher assessed and teachers will have to submit that children are either working at the ARE in Writing, or that they are working above or below ARE. This also applies for Science. These assessments take place in the summer term in May and June.
In Year 6, children will be tested in Reading, Mathematics and Spelling Grammar and Punctuation (SPAG). Writing is teacher assessed and teachers have to submit that children are either working at the ARE in Writing, or that they are working above or below ARE. This also applies for Science. End of Year 6 testing takes place for all children nationally in a set week in May.
End of key stage outcomes are published using Scaled Scores. Scaled scores involve a national standard of 100. A child’s raw test score is converted into a scaled score and a child who achieves a scaled score of 100 will have met the expected national standard.
An example of how progress will be measured is that a Year 2 child achieving a scaled score of 100 at the end of Year 2 and then 100 again at the end of Year 6, will have made adequate progress across Key Stage 2.
Parents will be informed if their child has reached the nationally expected standard/Age Related Expectation in each subject, as well as the scaled score achieved.
School performance will be based on the percentage of children reaching the nationally expected standards, and the progress made from their starting points, as well as the average scaled score.