Development of assessment across the schools in North West Leicestershire
Castle Rock is presently working within the Ace Partnership of secondary schools to develop an assessment policy that will replace the present Level system. Our involvement is further supplemented by a cross Phase working party from Early Years to KS5 to address the same issues. This work is being carried out via the Forest Way Teaching Alliance Partnership and is being scrutinised by an independent School Improvement Consultant (Mick Sellor).
The work completed by the Ace Partnership is now at the level of individual subjects' written Schemes of Learning with formative and summative assessment criteria, which will be piloted in June 2015.
The work of the Teaching Alliance is presently at the level of comparing the work completed by Early Years with that of the secondary groups in order to look at consistency and then develop this forwards through all the key stages.
Our method of assessment
- Assessment serves many purposes, but the main purpose of assessment in our school is to help teachers, parents and students plan their next steps in learning
- We also use the outcomes of assessment to check and support our teaching standards and help us improve
- Through working with other schools and using external tests and assessments, we will compare our performance with that of other schools
- We assess students against assessment criteria, which are short, discrete, qualitative and concrete descriptions of what a student is expected to know and be able to do
- Assessment criteria are derived from the school curriculum, which is composed of the National Curriculum and our own local design
- Assessment criteria for periodic assessment are arranged into a hierarchy, setting out what children are normally expected to have mastered by the end of each year
- The achievement of each student is assessed against all the relevant criteria at appropriate times of the school year (this will be at least once every 6 week Review Period or where a subject rotates – a least once in a rotation module)
- Each student is assessed as either ‘developing’, ‘meeting’ or ‘exceeding’ each relevant criterion contained in our expectations for that year
- Where a student is assessed as exceeding the relevant criteria in a subject for that year they will also be assessed against the criteria in that subject for the next year. For those students meeting and exceeding the expected standards, we provide more challenging work
- Assessment judgements are recorded and backed by a body of evidence created using observations, records of work and testing
- Assessment judgements are moderated by colleagues in school and by colleagues in other schools to make sure our assessments are fair, reliable and valid
- Moderation at KS3 and 4 will usually take place within the ACE Partnership of Secondary Schools
- Moderation across KS1-4 will usually take place within the Forest Way Teaching School Alliance Partnership
Our approach to assessment
Castle Rock students have a wide range of abilities and learning styles and our approaches to assessment reflects this. Techniques that we use include:
- Observational assessment, where a member of staff observes student response to learning activities and unstructured situations
- Dynamic assessment, which looks at the student’s responses in the context of learning a task
- Questioning and discussion, which enables the teacher to make a judgement about students’ degree of understanding
- Criterion-referenced assessment, which measures a student’s attainment against a list of skills or pieces of knowledge
- Formal assessment, where the student is asked to complete tests or set tasks which indicate his or her knowledge or approach to learning
- Marking and review of written and performed work
- Student self and peer assessment
- Functional assessment of behaviour
- Records of frequency and intensity of behaviour
- Tests set by the class teacher
- Multidisciplinary discussion, e.g. to review a behaviour support plan or IEP, or follow up the outcomes of National Curriculum assessments
We involve students in recognising and assessing their progress in ways that reflect their level of understanding. This varies from sharing in the celebration of achievement at the end of a lesson, peer assessment, and identifying (with support) what they have achieved in a lesson and finally to discussing and reviewing learning objectives. We expect students to be able to understand their IEP goals and targets and the objectives set for each lesson.
Classroom staff will help them to understand the progress they are making and what they need to do next to continue learning and make further progress. Formal and informal praise and incentive systems are used to reward student’s good progress. Intervention strategies for students who are underachieving or underperforming are discussed with the students concerned.
We involve parents in the Review process at termly Parent evenings and SEN Annual Reviews by seeking their views on their children’s progress and priorities for the following year and sending them;
- Termly progress reports
- Annual progress reports
- IEP's for SEN students
We also use phone, e-mail and or face to face contact, whenever the need arises to discuss any concerns about their child’s progress identified from tracking assessment information.
The school operates an open door policy where parents may request information and or a meeting to discuss their child’s progress at any time.