Principles of Assessment
Aims of Assessment:
- To establish clarity regarding how student ‘progress’ through the curriculum is measured.
- To enable all teachers to regularly check all students understand what they are learning.
- To enable all teachers to make judgements confidently and accurately about what students know; to identify areas for development and to provide meaningful feedback that moves learning forward.
- To ensure that assessment practices are impactful, address misconceptions and improve student’s knowledge and understanding.
A knowledge rich curriculum:
Curriculum is at the heart of our practice and every curriculum has been carefully planned and sequenced to be knowledge and vocabulary rich, with the ambition to make learning irresistible for all and provide every student with the opportunity to achieve. All subjects have carefully planned learning journeys through KS3 and KS4 where knowledge is broken down into its essential knowledge components and sequenced so that knowledge is continually being built upon and all students have to opportunity to improve the breadth and depth of their knowledge and understanding in every subject area.
Formative assessment involves the ongoing checking of student’s progress, this shapes future lesson planning and intervention. Effective formative assessment enables our teachers to identify how students are performing on a continuous basis, they use this information to provide immediate and effective feedback, closing any gaps in knowledge and ensuring students have the best opportunity to make progress in lessons, remembering and knowing more. Formative assessment is at the heart of our assessment practice, to enable teachers to check that pupils are secure in their knowledge for progression.
Formative Assessment Strategies:
- Targeted questioning and cold calling questioning ensures all students think and are ready to provide feedback to the class teacher on how well they understand the content taught. Teachers use diagnostic questions, probing questions to encourage students to explain their process, reasoning and thinking.
- Whole class response systems are used for instant feedback from all students. At Atherton we use whiteboards “The Whiteboard Pitstop.” This strategy enables the class teacher to collect live feedback from students, checking how secure pupils are with the taught content, identifying misconceptions and any knowledge gaps. This informs the next stage of the lesson as teachers respond; whether they need to reteach, consolidate with further guided practice or modelling or pupils engage in independent learning activities to support pupils to know and remember more.
- Feedback is given in lessons to move learning forward. At Atherton High School students complete DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time). This is an opportunity for students to secure knowledge and address misconceptions by responding to feedback from their class teacher. Examples of feedback at Atherton High School:
- Whole class feedback. This gives timely, detailed formative feedback to support the improvement cycle.
- Live, in class, feedback to address misconceptions, to address them quickly.
- Low stakes quizzes, build long term memory and identify gaps in knowledge which is fed back timely by the class teacher.
- Modelling/guided practice, with formative feedback to support independent practice.
At Atherton, the curriculum is the progression model and therefore all assessment is aimed at assessing a student’s knowledge in line with the curriculum expectations. Summative assessment is primarily for this purpose and to inform next steps, as summative assessments are used for formative purposes.
In school, summative assessments are designed by Curriculum Leaders using resources that reflect each subject’s schemes of learning. Mid/End of year assessments are moderated internally by departments and quality assured by Curriculum Leaders and SLT Links.
Milestone assessments can take the form of an extended write, end of unit assessment or any piece of work where the teacher provides detailed and constructive feedback to students. This feedback includes areas for development and DIRT is completed that targets the developments highlighted by the class teacher. The frequency of these milestone assessments will vary depending on the department and their learning journey.
Mid/End of year assessments assess essential knowledge planned in schemes of learning, that students have been taught over a period of time. These assessments are used for formative purposes as detailed feedback is provided to students that highlight strengths and developments to close knowledge gaps.
Nationally summative assessments take the form of GCSEs and vocational qualifications at the end of Key Stage 4. These are undertaken in accordance with the regulations set out by JCQ.
Standardisation and Moderation
Effective standardisation is an opportunity for Curriculum Leaders to share student assessments with their department to ensure that students are being assessed on content they have been taught, that assessments are accessible and achievable for all students and all teachers understand exactly what the required standards are. Standardisation is completed by Curriculum Leaders.
Effective moderation is an essential part of accurate assessment and actionable feedback. It is an opportunity for the Curriculum Leader to share mark schemes, resources and good practice in marking and an opportunity for professional development for all teachers in order that they are marking fairly and consistently. There are also opportunities that exist across the Trust to work collaboratively with other schools on standardisation and moderation through moderation cluster groups. These moderation practices lead to robust milestone assessment.
Collecting data and reporting to parents/carers:
There are two data capture points for each year group during the academic year. Following the data capture point, reports are produced for parents that provide full details of their child’s attainment in all their subjects, along with a teacher judgement of their attitude to learning in the classroom.
The Assistant Head Teacher responsible for assessment will monitor the effectiveness of assessment practices across the school, through: collaborative moderation, quality assurance processes, book scrutiny, and progress meetings with curriculum leaders.