Information for parents
In April 2014 the Department for Education released ‘Assessment Principles’ (see attached document at the bottom of the page), a document outlining the core values all effective assessment systems should implement as part of the changes introduced with the 2014 National Curriculum. As the ‘Government will not impose a single system for ongoing assessment’, it is up to schools to implement a system that can: ‘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.’
From September 2015, national curriculum levels can no longer be used for statutory assessments. The Commission on Assessment Without Levels was set up to provide advice and support to schools in developing new approaches to their own in-school assessment and to ensure they have information to make informed choices about what might work for their pupils, staff and curriculum. The Commission’s Final Report summarised that levels needed to be removed because ‘Too often levels became viewed as thresholds and teaching became focused on getting pupils across the next threshold instead of ensuring they were secure in the knowledge and understanding defined in the programmes of study. Depth and breadth of understanding were sometimes sacrificed in favour of pace. Levels also used a ‘best fit’ model, which meant that a pupil could have serious gaps in their knowledge and understanding, but still be placed within the level. This meant it wasn’t always clear exactly which areas of the curriculum the child was secure in and where the gaps were.’
In developing our own approach to assessment, we have carefully considered the guidance and advice in the Commission’s Final Report, as well as that contained in the Government Response to the report.
Tracking Attainment and Progress with Steps
To track pupil attainment Target Tracker have devised a system of steps, based on the model assessment framework developed by the NAHT. This performs the function of communicating progression and attainment in a simple format that may be aggregated to produce reports of overall and average progress. This is based on a carefully considered logical approach to assessment and follows on from the assessment system in the Early Years.
Attainment has been broken down into a series of bands (1-6). These bands describe the attainment targets, or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) of each year group. The terminology has been selected for consistency and clarity. The vast majority of pupils will be working in the band that matches their year group. However, to ensure that learning is personalised to the needs of the individual, it is possible that some children may be working in a band below their respective year group. Equally, in exceptional circumstances, some higher attaining pupils may be accessing curriculum content from a higher band than their year group, though this expected to be rare. Instead teachers will look to stretch and challenge higher attaining pupils by giving opportunities to broaden and deepen their understanding.
For reading, writing and maths, teachers will assess the children’s attainment on an on-going basis against the KPI’s. They will base these judgements on a range of evidence including work produced in class (both written and verbal), observations, discussions with children and summative tasks/tests.
Each statement can be assessed as either not begun, working towards, achieved or mastered. On a termly basis, teachers will then review this picture of attainment that is building for each child, and assign a step judgement that best fits where that child is with their learning.
Each band is divided into three broad sections:
Each band has then been further broken down into six steps: beginning (b), beginning + (b+), working within (w), working within + (w+), secure (s) and secure + (s+). This is designed to allow class teachers to represent and report progress for a pupil where they may not feel that the best fit is within the next section. For example, a pupil may be assessed as Band 3 Beginning in the Autumn term in Year 3. The next time the class teacher records a summative assessment they may not feel the pupil has progressed to Working Within, but the pupil has made progress. An assessment of Beginning + allows that progress to be represented and will feed through to overall class and Key Stage reporting.
For children to be working at age related expectation, they would need to reach the secure(s) step at the end of the appropriate year. Secure+ effectively represents both the transition step from one band to the next and the consolidation of the band. It allows teachers to identify pupils who, whilst still working at are related expectations, have attained a more thorough and wide ranging grasp of the content and concepts.
To meet age related expectations, children should reach the secure (s) step by the end of the appropriate year. To move from the secure (s) in one band to the next is 6 steps progress, which equates to an average of 1 step or 1 point of progress each half term. This is on-track or expected progress.
Our Philosophy of Assessment
Assessment should have a purpose at every level for everyone involved:
The new National Curriculum has set out clear expectations for what children should achieve by the end of each Key Stage, and for English, Maths and Science, has provided guidance as to when in each phase this content should be covered. In order to monitor the progress of our pupils towards meeting these expectations, we are using a system called Target Tracker. In the academic year 2015-2016 we began the transition onto the new system.
How is the Target Tracker data used?
Each term (three times a year) class data is collected and analysed by class teachers and the leadership team in Pupil Progress Meetings. Individual progress is monitored as well as that of specific groups. Interventions are targeted and reviewed based on the data collected. The leadership team review the schools data in connection with the school raising attainment plan, Development plan and pupil progress across classes, year groups and whole school is considered in light of this. The school governors receive regular updates about the data from termly Headteacher reports, School Improvement Summary Reports and data from RAISE Online.
Standardisation and Moderation
Internal moderation of class books is carried out regularly. We take part in moderation meetings within our local schools to ensure parity in our judgements and engage in Local Authority moderation processes to confirm our decisions.
End of Key Stage Assessments
2016 was the first year that children at the end of Key Stage 2 were assessed against the new National Curriculum. In addition, from 2016 attainment in national curriculum tests will no longer be reported in levels. Instead, scaled scores will be used.
Scaled scores help test results to be reported consistently from one year to the next. National curriculum tests are designed to be as similar as possible year on year, but slight differences in difficulty will occur between years. Scaled scores maintain their meaning over time so that two pupils achieving the same scaled score in different years will have demonstrated the same attainment.
A scaled score of 100 will always represent the ‘expected standard’.
A pupil’s scaled score will be based on their raw score. The raw score is the total number of marks a pupil receives in a test, based on the number of questions they answered correctly. The pupil’s raw score will be translated into a scaled score using a conversion table.
Reporting to Parents
The Target Tracker assessment system makes it easy for school to clearly communicate pupil attainment and progress to parents. By using the steps assessments, teachers can clearly help parents understand whether their child is working at the appropriate point for their age, and by using the highlighted statements can provide guidance on what children need to do to progress.
All parents receive a written report of their child’s progress and attainment in the Summer term. Where appropriate this will also include the results of any National Curriculum tests. Parents are also offered formal opportunities to discuss their child’s progress and attainment in Parents’ Evenings in the Autumn and Spring terms.
Key Stage Two
From 2016, a new set of KS2 national curriculum tests has been introduced consisting of:
· English reading : reading booklet and associated answer booklet
· English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: short answer questions
· English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: spelling
· mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
· mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
· mathematics Paper 3: reasoning
There is only 1 set of tests for each subject. The tests will include a small number of questions designed to assess the most able pupils so separate tests, such as the previous level 6 tests, are no longer required.
The mental mathematics test has been replaced with an arithmetic test.
Most children in Year Six will sit the tests.
In addition, science sampling tests are taken biennially in a sample of schools selected by the STA. The STA will contact selected schools early in the spring term. If selected, representatives from the STA administer the tests.
In addition to the outcomes of the tests, teachers will also use a broad range of other evidence to inform their teacher assessments. For 2016 the Interim Teachers Assessment Framework for KS2 are the standards against which teachers will make their assessments.
For reading, maths and science, depending on a child’s depth of understanding of the KS2 programme of study, they may be teacher assessed as either working at the expected standard or working below the expected standard. For writing, there is a broader range of possible teacher assessment outcomes as this is the sole measure of pupil attainment in writing at the end of KS2. For writing, they may be assessed as either working towards the expected standard, working at the expected standard or working at greater depth within the expected standard. Additionally, if a pupil has reached the chronological age where an outcome must be reported but the pupil is deemed not to have completed the key stage 2 programme of study, then they may be teacher assessed in reading, writing and maths as having achieved either the foundations for the expected standard, early development of the expected standard or growing development of the expected standard.