At St. James’ we have adapted the Hampshire Assessment Model as our approach to assessment in the core subjects. Assessment is key in identifying pupil understanding, attainment and gaps in learning, and we use a range of assessment to inform us of this information.
Teaching staff use formative assessment on a daily basis in all subjects to inform them of pupil understanding of knowledge and skills, progress being made, misconceptions and gaps in certain areas of learning. This is completed through pupil observations, questioning, discussions, feedback and marking of work. Teachers use this to inform their planning and next steps for individuals, groups and the whole class.
Teachers are given freedom in the way that this information is recorded and as a leadership team we trust them as professionals to use this information in the most effective way. This information is recorded in a range of ways, such as notes about individual pupils or groups, ticking of national curriculum objectives achieved or using memory of pupil achievement to inform decisions and assessments.
At the end of each of the three terms during the academic year, class teachers submit summative assessments for each pupil in their class in reading, writing and maths. Early Years teachers submit this for all 17 areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. These assessments are recorded on a program called Insight Tracking. National curriculum objectives are used to inform teacher judgements, along with pupil progress in their work, observations of pupils and their achievements in nationally standardised NFER assessment papers. The NFER assessment papers are completed once a term in Reading and Maths.
By the end of each term we assess pupils against certain milestones and assess how securely on track they are to master age related expectations or reach a greater depth standard by the end of the year. During each term we use particular terminology to give clarity of what is expected at each term, which are the following:
- Autumn Term - ‘Emerging’ - when new learning is introduced, pupils show they can apply this within each lesson.
- Spring Term - ‘Developing’ - pupils begin to apply new and previously learnt skills and knowledge to a range of tasks with more independence.
- Summer Term - ‘Secure’ - pupils can apply a range of skills and knowledge to a range of tasks, activities or problems with a good level of independence.
The assessments submitted are analysed at a whole school, class, pupil group and individual level by the assessment lead (Deputy Headteacher) and the Inclusion Manager. This analysis, along with professional conversations during our termly pupil progress review meetings and regular monitoring of teaching and learning strategies, is used to evaluate the impact of current teaching and learning and particular strategies or approaches, as well as being used to inform key next steps on a whole school, class, group and individual pupil level.
Assessment of the foundation subjects
In our foundation subjects, subject leaders have mapped out the progression of key knowledge and skills from Reception to Year 6 in each subject, which pupils are assessed against. Pupils are given the opportunities to learn, develop and refine key subject specific knowledge and skills through learning journeys. These learning journeys focus on a particular subject area, enquiry question, statement or investigation, and work towards a final outcome. Teaching staff use formative assessment along every step of the learning journey to assess pupils’ progress and development of knowledge and skills against clear learning objectives and success criteria. This information is used to provide informative feedback to pupils and to inform adaptations to planning and next steps with a flexible approach based on individual pupils' needs and next steps. Pupils are also given opportunities to review their successes at each step of the journey and are encouraged to identify their own areas of strength and development. Final outcomes are used as summative assessment pieces where pupils can demonstrate their understanding of key knowledge and skills learnt throughout the learning journey. Teachers ensure that there is a variety of activities that form final outcomes and these vary from subject to subject. Examples of final outcomes include individual or group presentations, written work, drama, artwork, video recordings, application of knowledge and skills to games or sports. Links are made to the knowledge and skills developed in these learning journeys in future learning journeys, when appropriate, to ensure the embedding of these into the long term memory. Any gaps in learning are also addressed and reviewed through these.