In helping your child to do as well as possible at school, teachers will assess his/her progress and give you feedback from time to time. This feedback can sometimes be a little difficult to understand, especially when the terms used are unfamiliar.
Assessment is a part of the teaching and learning process and plays an integral part in classroom activities. It may take the form of summative assessment (assessment of learning—what the child is able to do at that time) or formative assessment (assessment for learning—what the child knows and where the learning needs to go next). Assessment is ongoing within the classroom.
Assessment focuses on learning processes, as well as intended outcomes and identifies strengths and targets for improvement. Assessment is used to:
· Develop confidence in every learner that they can improve (motivation and self esteem are key outcomes)
· Share learning objectives with learners
· Use knowledge of the learners to inform planning
· Ensure learners understand their learning journey and what they’re aiming for
· Give feedback to help learners recognise the next steps and how to take them
· Involve learners in peer and self assessment
· Celebrate success
· Challenge and raise standards
· Secure future learning needs
The National Curriculum includes objectives and programmes of study. These describe what pupils should be learning in different year groups and what they should be able to do in each subject area at each level. Children’s progress is judged against these objectives, or milestones, and you will hear teachers saying that your child may be above, at or below expectations for their age.
We use our own system of ongoing assessment, which helps teachers to monitor, track and assess progress and attainment and also helps them to plan future learning.
Children in Reception are judged using Early Learning Goals which describe what the children should learn.
Learning is like being on a climbing frame. Children learn something new (which is like climbing a new step on the climbing frame of learning), then need to spend some time finding out more about it or getting better at doing it (which is like exploring the climbing frame sideways). Sometimes they need to climb down a step to build their confidence before going back up to the higher level. When they are confident about what they have learned, they will begin climbing again to the next new skill or piece of knowledge. This means that learning takes time.
People often think that being assessed means taking a test, but tests are just one type of assessment. There are many other ways in which teachers assess children’s understanding, skill and progress.
Discussion and questioning help the teacher plan the future learning—formative assessment. Summative assessment is used at the end of a unit of work, topic or term to see what the child has learned.
An assessment will not always be a piece of marked written work. It may be from watching the child working or playing and include recordings and photographs.
Although assessment is an ongoing practice across the school, in order to carefully track and monitor pupil’s attainment and progress, we have Assessment Week three times each academic year—in October, February and May. This is a more formal assessment and will involve teachers working individually with children in order to gain a really accurate picture of how that child is doing and what they need to work on. From these assessments we develop future Learning Targets for each child. These are shared with you as parents and your child so that all concerned are clear on next steps.
At the end of Year 2 and Year 6, children are formally assessed using SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests) set by the Government. The results of these are shared formally with parents and with the Local Authority. Year 1 pupils also take a Phonics assessment test which is reported on.