020 8556 0103   school@downsellprimary.waltham.sch.uk   Downsell Road, Leyton, London, E15 2BS  
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Assessment Explained

11 Feb 2017

Why do we assess? 

Our assessment: 
-provides valuable information to help children, teachers, parents and school leaders to  acknowledge, analyse and review achievements and progress in learning against expected  standards.
-informs our immediate and long term planning.

Our assessment gives:
-Pupils - the learners - an understanding of where they are secure, what it is that they need  to do to rectify any gaps and the next steps needed to extend their learning.
-Teachers - the detailed knowledge of their pupils' achievements which they can use to inform  future learning, their planning and their teaching.
-Parents and carers - regular reports on their child's progress in meeting expectations and  ensures that teachers, pupils and parents can work together to secure learning and raise  standards for all children.
-School leaders and governors - information that they can analyse and use to make decisions  about future actions to improve standards, learning and teaching in the school.
-External agencies and partners (such as those schools organisations in which a pupil will  receive the next stage of his/her education, or the local authority, the DfE and Ofsted) - the  evidence that a school knows its pupils well and sets and maintains high standards in learning  and teaching as part of the school's public accountability to its pupils' future.

What are schools and settings statutorily required to assess? 
Teachers carry out day to day assessments and checks on pupils' understanding and progress as part  of their day to day teaching. Statutory, formal assessment procedures and examinations also exist to  measure attainment against national standards. Our pupils' achievements are compared nationally with  all those pupils of the same age and against schools in the local authority and in England. These  formal assessments include:
- An end of Early Years Foundation Stage assessment
We monitor how well pupils are achieving and the extent to which they are meeting  identified expectations in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which helps to  identify those who are achieving a good level of development and those who we need to  give additional help.
-The Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1
It assess pupils' phonic skills as part of early reading

End of Key Stage 1 
Schools currently draw on a test and teacher assessments to help us to assess whether  pupils are making progress and are achieving national expectations in reading, writing  and mathematics. These expectations are currently set at Level 2 by level descriptions  (but this will change from 2015 in the new curriculum). Our teachers also assess pupils'  achievements in speaking and listening and science.

End of Key Stage 2 
Pupils take statutory tests that assess whether pupils achieve national expectations  set at Level 4 in reading, writing and mathematics. We also assess pupils' progress over  the key stage. They are expected to make two levels or more progress in reading,  writing and mathematics. These measures are also changing over the coming two years.

Why are we reviewing our assessment procedures? 
A new National Curriculum has been introduced and with it new statutory assessment regulations. We  are presently facing a transition period with the new statutory assessment and testing regulations to  be introduced in 2016. The National Curriculum Levels we have been using for a number of years are  to be removed: they will no longer be core to this process of assessment. During this period of  transition Downsell will continue to use the levels in Year 2 and Year 6. For the other year groups we  are using the School Pupil Tracker Online assessment system to record judgements against a National  Curriculum 2014 Record for each child. The National Curriculum Record and the Estimated Band  allows a consistent evaluation of how well pupils are doing against age ­ related expectations as set  out in the national curriculum.

Will our assessment practices change? 
Our assessment practices will continue to provide information about pupils' attainment and progress.  They will still involve marking pupils' work and providing written and oral feedback that identifies  successes and the next steps for improvement and checking that they have responded to this  feedback. We will continue to engage pupils in the whole assessment process by building self- assessment strategies into our teaching. We will provide periodic summaries of attainment and  progress through in-class tests, teacher assessment and the formal externally set tests.  We want students, teachers and parents to have confidence in our assessments and to use this  information to help everyone be involved in raising standards for all our children. Rigorous assessment  can sometimes be a draw upon time, but we want the assessments we make to be accurate and  informative. Good assessment requires attention to detail and analytical skill. It involves teachers in:  asking questions and interpreting answers; observing behaviours and responses to tasks; knowing if  and when to intervene; and drawing on a wide range of evidence to build up a picture of a learner's  strengths and weaknesses.

What are the key features of our assessment procedures 
Our assessment procedures will continue to give attention to helping pupils to meet or exceed  national expectations and achieve the highest standards they can over each key stage of their  learning. The National Curriculum sets out what our pupils are to learn but we decide how we are to  assess our pupils' attainment and progress over the key stage. Our assessment procedures will:

Make clear to all pupils our expectations in terms of learning behaviours

  • Set out the attitudes and behaviours we expect of pupils when in the classroom
  • Show them how work is to be presented in their books and establish that any  unacceptable work is to be done again to the standard required by the school
  • Tell pupils that they will succeed and acknowledge how and when they are becoming  successful learners to establish self-confidence and good learning behaviours

Share learning objectives with pupils 

  • Share learning objectives at the beginning of a phase of learning ­ a module, a week or  a lesson as appropriate, and highlight them during the lesson and in plenaries, using  language that pupils understand
  • Use these objectives as the basis for listening, questioning and feedback during the  learning activities as well as in plenaries
  • Use this ingoing assessment to inform planning and to make any adjustments to the  learning objectives for the week and future weeks
  • Refer pupils back to earlier learning objectives to demonstrate and review progress  over time

Help pupils to recognise the standards they are to achieve and have already achieved

  • Share and discuss pupils' work explaining how and why they have met the standards  expected
  • Give pupils clear success criteria that relate to the learning objectives
  • Set clear and shared expectations about the presentation of work and model how this  is to be achieved with examples to set out standards
  • Display examples of pupils' work-in-progress as part of a working wall

Involve pupils in self-assessment and peer-assessment

  • Provide time for pupils to read teacher's feedback and assess how successfully they  carried out the tasks set
  • Give pupils opportunities to talk in pairs or small groups about what they have learned,  what they have found difficult and what they might do differently to improve
  • Ask pupils to explain the steps in their thinking and justify their decisions and  reasoning
  • Model with pupils the language of assessment that they can use to review their own and  their peer's learning and to identify next steps in learning
  • Establish a classroom ethos that enables a critical review of work to be undertaken  that is seen as positive and not taken as any personal criticism
  • Engage the pupils in feedback through their responses to teacher's comments and  giving pupils a short additional challenge to carry out that highlights what they have  learned or what they need to correct

Provide feedback which leads to pupils recognising their next steps and how to take them

  •  Provide immediate oral feedback that helps pupils to identify mistakes, correct errors  and take the next steps needed to move their learning on
  •  Mark work sharing criteria, give feedback and identify next steps and targets
  • Acknowledge success and give positive feedback but avoid giving excessive or  underserved praise
  • Ensure feedback is constructive and identifies what a child has done well, what needs  to be done to improve, and how to do it
  • Identify the next steps for individual pupils and where appropriate for groups who can  collaborate on a common approach to improvement or progress

Involve teachers and pupils in reviewing and reflecting on assessment information

  • Identify carefully progressed steps in learning through the learning outcomes and  success criteria to enable pupils to see their progress, thus building confidence and  self-esteem
  • Use appropriate tasks that will provide us with quality assessment information by  showing pupils' thinking as well as the answer
  • Provide time for pupils and teachers to reflect on what they have learned and  understood, and to identify where they still have difficulties
  • In the light of our assessments evaluate teaching effectiveness and deployment of  resources, learning tasks and organisation of learners, and make any adjustments to  improve learning and raise standards

What procedures will be in place to ensure assessment is rigorous? 
We will draw on the expertise that is available in our school, locally and in partnership with other  schools, and nationally as further information and guidance is made public. We will implement  monitoring and evaluation procedures and maintain a continuing overview of the whole in-school  assessment through:

Monitoring of pupils' work

  • Provide time for subject or phase/year group leaders to carry out regular scrutiny of  work to monitor pitch and expectations, coverage, marking and feedback in books and  to review pupils' progress with their teachers (See also pupil progress meetings below)
  • Senior leaders will carry out learning walks and lesson observations, review books and  interview pupils about their learning and steps to improve
  • Senior leaders will quality assure the strengths and weaknesses identified by staff  following their own and subject or phase leaders analyses of progress and standards in  learning

Moderation across year groups and phases of learning 

  • Provide time for key staff to carry out regular moderation of assessment and  standards within and across key stages
  • Set out clear expectations about marking and feedback to pupils that everyone puts  into practice
  • Collect examples of pupils' work that highlight standards, common mistakes and  effective assessment and feedback that staff can refer to when undertaking  moderation exercises

Formal testing 

  • Use past test or examination papers and commercially produced materials to provide an  independent check on how well pupils are doing and to compare outcomes against  judgements made using a range of other assessment evidence
  • Use item analyses of these tests to find out where there are areas of overall strength  and weakness in pupils' knowledge in order to inform how we organise and teach this in  future

Pupil Progress Meetings 

  • Senior and middle leaders, teachers and, if appropriate, teaching assistants together  carry out a review of pupils' progress in each year group and class and identify the  extent to which pupils are meeting expectations
  •  Analyse ongoing and past performance data against expectations to review and if  necessary set new or revised targets for pupils to achieve and evaluate the  effectiveness of intervention and assessment strategies
  •  Use the outcomes of the meeting to target intervention for groups and to review the  provision map for pupils across the ability spectrum

Professional development and support 

  • Key staff attend local and national meetings to learn more about assessment and  reporting arrangements
  •  Cross-schools moderation events provide an opportunity to ensure expectations are set  at the right level and pitch

Parents' evenings and meetings 

  • Provide opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child's progress and to  highlight any key issues that are affecting the child's learning
  • Update parents on changes to the curriculum and assessment arrangements, and  identify ways in which they can support their child's learning
  • Discuss the assessments and comments in pupils' books and statutory reports to  parents 

As further guidance is issued by the DfE we will amend our practices if required and keep parents  informed of any changes that involve their children.

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