In English & supported throughout all subjects, we aim to empower & enrich our children’s vocabulary & so prepare them for the next stage in their educational journey (& beyond) so that no child is hindered or held back by a deficit of language as a result of deprivation. We want them to be able to articulate themselves & their learning through a wide bank of subject specific terminology as well as being creative & innovative in their speech & writing. We aim to inspire our children to become fluent, confident life-long readers who can discuss the joy of literature as well as develop their own style & expression through wide opportunities for writing.
Parents of older children may be very aware of the previous system of assessment which involved ascribing Levels of Attainment to pupils in order to be able to judge if a child had reached the standard of learning that might be expected for their age. The system of levels was however, removed as part of the government’s reforms to education in September 2014. We have our own system of assessment that involves making judgements on if children have reached the nationally expected standard for their year group (EXS), are working above (GDS – Greater Depth) or are working towards that standard (WTS).
A change in Assessment in response to the New National Curriculum
As well as working hard on our Curriculum (as part of the DfE changes in 2014 & then in 2019), we have always made sure that we align all of our processes with our own ‘Level Ladder’ system whereby children understand that they travel on a learning journey through certain steps or ‘rungs of the ladder’ in order to get to the destination of where they need to be or can according to their individual capabilities. This involves lots of self assessment as children understand how they learn best & are given a clear overview of what they have achieved already as well as what they need to go onto next.
Our Assessment System- in brief
Children work their way up the ‘Learning Ladder’ through a series of ‘Learning Steps’ from age 0 to 11 months to Year 6. This information then gets passed on & of course the learning journey continues into secondary school – & beyond!
Our children have become very familiar with our system of assessment as a way of talking about their learning & where they are heading to. The Snakes & Ladders theme is used throughout & works well as a means of explaining the idea of progression through the steps, as well as making the concepts of assessment as child friendly as possible.
As under the old system of leveling, children are given a reminder of what they should be aspiring to using the ‘Learning Ladder Adder’ Posters as well as having self assessment / review maps for Maths, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar in the front of their books.
How Children are Assessed
Children are tested under the national Standard Attainment Tests (SATs) alongside all other children in the UK at the end of Key Stage 1 (infants) & Key Stage 2 (Juniors). Other assessments happen in ways that children don’t even know that they are happening (through observations, discussion & fun activities) such as the assessment against Early Years Profile at the end of Reception (FS2), Y1 Phonics & Y4 Multiplication tests. We do everything to make sure that our children are not stressed by any of these assessments & that they take them in their stride.
The Assessment System for Teachers
At St Mary's, we continue to assess children & meet every term (class teacher & the Senior Management Team) to discuss each child’s progress & attainment. Regular analysis of assessment results also takes place & is fed back, as usual, to staff & governors in order to ensure that each child is reaching their full potential.
The Assessment System for Parents
Assessment information is given to parents as part of parents’ evenings through Progress Report Booklets as well as through each child’s annual final report. This will give you an excellent idea of where your child is at in relation to age related expectations nationally. You can of course get in touch with your child’s class teacher at any time through the usual channels if you want to discuss any worries or concerns about how your child is doing.
To find out more information about Assessment, click to download our Assessment Policy.