Assessment without levels
Following the introduction of a new National Curriculum framework from September 2014, the government has also decided to remove level descriptors. The government’s policy of removing level descriptors from the National Curriculum is set out in terms of freeing schools from an imposed measure of pupil progress. The Department for Education has said that levels are not very good with respect to helping parents to understand how far their child is improving. In their place, from September 2014, “it will be for schools to decide how they assess pupils’ progress”.
With levels removed and the focus now on raising the achievement of every pupil, Fordbridge's governors, leaders and teachers have chosen a new way to measure pupil attainment and progress.
Our new assessment system
The old and new curriculum have different content. Many of the objectives in the old curriculum have shifted to lower year groups in the new, more rigorous curriculum, this means it is not possible to have an exact correlation between a level that was the outcome of the old National Curriculum assessment and the requirements new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess out children’s outcomes.
The school has welcomed the changes in the National Curriculum and saw it as an exciting opportunity to review our assessment and reporting systems to create a more holistic approach that makes sense to parents. We were very clear that whatever assessment tool we used, it needed to be robust and track pupils’ progress across the school and not just at the end of a Key Stage.
The principles that underpin our assessment system are:
- Every child can achieve: teachers at Fordbridge have the mindset, ‘What do I need to do next to enable a child in my class to achieve?’
- The National Curriculum objectives will be used as the expectations for all children.
- Children will make age appropriate progress – 12 months in 12 months.
- Teachers are experts at assessment - assessment will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.
In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Key Stage 2 expectations; this is broken down into key outcomes (known as KPIs) for each curriculum year. We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:
- A child that has achieved all the objectives set out for Year 3 for English (and no further) would be said to be working at Year Group Secure for that subject.
- A child achieving half or so of the mathematics objectives for Year 5 would be classed as Year Group Low for maths.
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
- Ongoing assessment by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questioning, observation and dialogue.
- Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why.
- The use of a “Must, Should and Could” in each lesson which are discussed and agreed with by the children during each lesson, work is then assessed against these. The children know that the Must is what every one should achieve, the Should is a bit more difficult and the Could is even harder. The Must, Should and Could set out clearly what the children have to do to be achieved.
- Three way feedback, pupil, peer, teacher with clearly identified next steps – this can be written or verbal feedback.
- Regular pupils’ work scrutiny.
Tracking progress over time
School will regularly assess each child against the key objectives (KPIs) through teaching, marking and planning. This information will be entered on a tracking system which will show the level of understanding and knowledge each child has. This information will inform staff of what the child needs to do next to achieve their potential. Staff know where the children should be, level wise, at the end of each academic year and regular discussions with the Senior Leadership Team take place to ensure that this progress will be made.
More able children
Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum these children will work on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be deepening their learning.
The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.
Early Years - Nursery & Reception
Children in Nursery and Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile.
Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:
- Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
- Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age
Progress will be tracked using a matrix system which will show where the children started, where they need to be by the end of the year and where they currently are.
Reporting to Parents
We will continue to have discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on the assessment system in place for each age group. You will also receive more detailed information at the end of each year.