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, Dunn Street’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 of the new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.
The school has welcomed the changes in the National Curriculum and sees 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 Dunn Street 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 – formative 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; these are broken down into key outcomes. Click here to see the End of Key Stage 2 Interim Arrangements.
In order to be “Key Stage 2 ready”, children need to meet the end of Key Stage 1 expectations; these are broken down into key outcomes. Click here to see the End of Key Stage 1 Interim Arrangements.
We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year.
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
- Ongoing formative 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.
- Success Criteria are discussed and agreed with or formulated by the children during each lesson, work is then assessed against the success criteria.
- Three way feedback occurs between pupil, peer and teacher with clearly identified next steps – this can be written or verbal feedback.
- Regular pupils’ work scrutiny.
Tracking progress over time
We will use our own tracking system to track pupils’ progress over time, against age-related expectations in each subject area. This allows formative judgements to be made on specific Objectives that then feed into a summative judgement in Best Fit.
- Secure ( Mastering, showing that age-related objectives have been achieved and the child is working at a deeper level of understanding and application)
- Working at depth… Pupils will definitely: Apply understanding in more complex situations. Use facts, information or procedures to respond to, solve and answer complex problems. Apply own knowledge in an alternative and unusual context. In relation to Blooms’ Taxonomy: Analysis / Analysing – infer and separate Synthesis / Creating – combine, compose, create, design. In addition, pupil may show elements of / begin to: Apply understanding creatively in more intricate situations. Use facts, information or procedures to respond to, solve and answer complex and unfamiliar problems. Apply own knowledge into alternative and unique contexts. In relation to Blooms’ Taxonomy: Evaluation and Evaluating – compare, judge
More able children
Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum these children will work on ‘gaining greater depth of understanding’ 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 2BuildAProfile (click here for their web-site) and pupils’ achievements will be shared with parents using Parent Share.
Reporting to Parents
We will continue to report to parents via Parents’ Evenings twice a year and a yearly report at the end of the academic year. Discussions will be based on the assessment system in place for each age group.
School continues to operate an Open Door Policy, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact school.