Principles of Assessment at Harlands
At Harlands, we believe assessment should:
be an integral part of both teaching and learning;
- allow all children to achieve their true potential;
- be an accessible process that allows pupils and their parents/carers to play a key role in the development and achievement of next steps;
- inform effective planning; and
- provide information that allows teachers and senior staff to monitor and maximise pupil progress.
Purposes of Assessment at Harlands
At Harlands, assessments of varying types are carried out in order to ensure that:
- detailed information is gathered about the performance of individual children, groups and cohorts in order to inform target setting and to monitor progress;
- subject planning is tailored to specific pupil needs in order to maximise progress for all children;
- individual, group and cohort progress is tracked effectively;
- it informs about the school’s standards and achievement;
- individual pupil progress can be recorded systematically; and
- the school meets relevant legal requirements for record keeping, assessing and reporting.
There are statutory assessments that all schools across the country take part in during the primary years. These are:
- Year 1 Phonics assessment in June—1:1 short session with the class teacher.
- Year 2 SATs—throughout May, absorbed into the normal routine and not identified as testing to the children. Internally marked but may be externally moderated.
- Year 6 SATs— usually 2nd week in May, the first formal tests the children will sit in Maths, Reading, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS); plus TA (Teacher Assessment) in Writing and Science. The tests are taken on the same day in every school across the country, securely stored and sent away for external marking. The results come through in July.
All these are formally reported to parents and the DfE (Department for Education), at the end of the summer term and become part of the children’s record of learning.
Informal Teacher Assessment takes place routinely throughout the year for all children, helping us to know how well they are doing, what they need help with and the next steps in learning. Day-by-day assessment involves the children in reflecting on their own learning and thinking about what they can do to improve their skills, knowledge and understanding. In the children’s Gold Books and EYFS Learning Journals, you can see teacher’s comments and responses from children, their peers and sometimes assessment charts or ladders. We encourage children to learn from making errors—we all learn from our mistakes and learning is all about making adjustments. Daily assessing helps plan for pace, reinforcement and level of challenge. At Harlands, we promote self-assessment whereby children are active partners in their learning. This means that they become more engaged in the process.
Three times during the year, we hold summative assessment weeks, in October, January/February and May. These are informal assessments but based upon the year group specific or key stage goals. Teachers mark these assessments, helping to give a profile of learning across the school, enabling planning for intervention or booster groups. Sometimes a specific learning difficulty is highlighted and the teacher can then plan accordingly.
Gold Books evidence progress both across the year and encompass the child’s whole primary journey of learning. The end of year Annual Report in July summarises the assessment results.
Within the first few weeks of school in the Reception classes, teachers assess the Early Years on their stages of development. This is called a baseline assessment and gives an indication of readiness for learning built upon early learning experiences in nurseries and/or at home. At the end of the EYFS, children are assessed on their Early Learning Goals. From Year 1 to Year 6, the children work towards achieving “ARE” (Aged Related Expectations). In Years 2 and 6 children are assessed on “ES” (Expected Standards) for their age group, replacing the old national curriculum “levels.” During the year, the majority of children will be working towards the ES and a small proportion may be on track for “GD” (Greater Depth). Not all children will progress at the same rate or aspire to the same goals.
Together, we should all encourage, share and praise each step on the journey.