At Manor Leas Junior Academy we aim to develop life-long, independent learners. Through collaboration and understanding of their ‘next steps’, we aim to broaden every child’s learning skills and increase their depth of understanding in each aspect of the curriculum. With this in mind, we are developing an assessment system that will enable staff to identify gaps and to support their planning in order to provide this type of environment for each child.
Pupils will be immersed in teaching that has a ‘low threshold and a high ceiling’. This means that we will make all lessons accessible to all pupils, while setting challenges for pupils who exceed expectations of that objective. Pupils will have individual targets in English and Maths and will receive diagnostic feedback from teachers through marking and verbally during lessons.
We believe that each child’s education should be personalised and that we should have a more ‘holistic’ view of each child. This means, for example, that we may not assess Maths as a whole subject, but rather break it down to different strands such as number, shape or fractions. We use formative assessment daily to assess pupils in English and Maths as well as the Foundation subjects, in order to identify strengths and weaknesses for each child. Teacher judgements will be moderated within school and through links made with other local schools (this includes schools outside the local authority) in order to reinforce the assessments made.
The National Curriculum sets out expectations at each stage of achievement and it is against these that children’s understanding is measured. The process of assessment enables us, through a well-planned programme, to facilitate positive development to the benefit and progress of all children in our school.
Previously children were assessed at the end of each Key stage in Reading, Writing and Maths and results were recorded as levels to parents and schools. National expectations were that a child would be a 2b in Year 2 and a 4b in Year 6.
Children will sit tests at the end of each Key Stage in Reading, Maths as well as Grammar (new to KS1). In Maths, KS2 children sit 3 papers in total, one arithmetic and two reasoning. KS1children have only one arithmetic and one reasoning.
There will not be separate tests for pupils who are ‘higher attainers’ (old Level 6 papers). The government is developing each test so that there is scope for higher attaining pupils to show their strengths.
Instead of a level, a pupil will receive a scaled score. On the government scale, 100 will always represent the ‘national standard’.
The government will publish KS2 test results in July 2016. Each pupil registered will receive: a raw score, a scaled score and confirmation of whether or not they have attained the national standard.
Levels worked like a ladder, you climbed the c,b,a rungs to move up to the next level.
There is plenty of research that making children overly aware of their levels is counter-productive and can lead to excessive focus on what needs to be done to reach the next level or sub-level rather than on continuous learning.
So now instead of the ladder approach (levels) we are looking at progress like an upside down tree (Stages)!
As pupils enter each Stage, their knowledge and understanding of the curriculum broadens before they move up.
For example, in Autumn term, they might be able to add tens and ones using place value, by the spring they understand this concept in decimals, and then they understand how this is used for money in the summer. The same concept in different ways.
By the end of the year, each child should have secured their expected stage.
When discussing pupil progress with you, teachers may speak about which stage a pupil is working within and what they need to do to continue to develop within that stage. Individual targets are developed for each pupil in English and Maths. And these will be discussed at Parents Evenings.
Teachers and the SLT will evaluate pupil starting points in order to determine whether sets or whole class teaching will be more beneficial to their learning at Manor Leas. Year groups and subjects may be taught differently, depending on the specific needs of the pupils.
New buzz words in terms of assessment. It really means how children understand – their depth and confidence in applying learning to different situations, not just more knowledge.