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Assessment at Yew Tree

Assessment without Levels – A Guide for Parents

Following the introduction of a new National Curriculum framework from September 2014, the government also made the decision to remove level descriptors; this was done in order to free schools from an imposed measure of pupil progress. We see this as a positive step and there are many benefits.

The changes to the new National Curriculum will now provide the basis for a different, more secure assessment, based on deeper learning. We can now ensure that our approach to assessment enables pupils to take more responsibility for their achievements by understanding where their strengths are and what they need to do to improve, and by encouraging active involvement in self-assessment. Assessment will focus on whether pupils have understood key concepts and skills and have secured a ‘deep learning’ of these.

There are three main forms of assessment:

 In-school formative assessment, which is used to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding on a day-today basis and to tailor teaching accordingly;

 In-school summative assessment, which enables school to evaluate how much a pupil has learned at the end of a teaching period;

 Nationally standardised summative assessment, which is used by the Government, at the end of each key stage, to hold schools to account.

Good formative assessment ranges from the probing question put to a pupil as they think something through; quick recap questions at the opening of a lesson; scrutiny of the natural work of pupils; right through to formal tests.

Our new Assessment System

The old and new curriculum have different content. Many of the objectives in the old curriculum have shifted to lower year groups in the new, more rigorous curriculum, this means it is not possible to have an exact correlation between a level that was the outcome of the old National Curriculum assessment and the requirements new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.

Our assessment and reporting system includes:

 On-going assessment by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questioning, observation and dialogue;

 Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why;

 Success Criteria are discussed and agreed with or formulated by the children, work is then assessed against the success criteria;

 Three way feedback – pupil, peer, teacher – with clearly identified next steps, this can be written or verbal feedback;

 Regular pupils work scrutiny.

All of the above will feed into ‘Assessment Weeks’. This will take place three times a year.

During the year via parents evening, you will be told whether your child is on track to meet their end of year expectations. With the old National Curriculum levels, each year, children were given a target for the end of the year, and during the year teachers may have told you what National Curriculum level your child was working at. However, the new National Curriculum sets out expectations for each year group and children will be assessed against those every year, so a child in Year 4 will always be judged in the first instance against the expectations for the end of Year 4.

Tracking attainment and progress over time

Our tracking system has been adapted and brought in-line with the new curriculum and system of ‘assessment without levels’. Our tracking system tracks pupils’ attainment and progress over time, against age-related expectations in each subject area.

This will allow us to determine if a child is:

 Working below age related expectations

 On track to working at age related expectations

 Working at age related expectations

 Working above age related expectations

 Working well above age related expectations

Working above and well above, shows that age related expectations have been achieved and the child is working at a deeper level of understanding and application.

More able children

Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum, these children will work on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be deepening their learning.

The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.

Early Years – Nursery & Reception

Children in Nursery and Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile. At the start of Reception pupils will be assessed using the ‘Early Excellence’ Baseline assessment. The outcomes of these assessments will feed into the provision and also provide a tool for early intervention if required.

Assessments will be based on observation of children within; continuous provision, daily focused activities and teaching sessions. At the end of Reception, children will be assessed against the early learning goals (ELGs). Teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:

 Emerging – not yet reaching the expected level of development

 Expected – meeting expected levels of development

 Exceeding – beyond the expected level of development for their age