Assessing Children’s Progress

Assessing children’s needs is an ongoing process. Teachers are continually assessing the children in their class in order to plan future work and support in order that all children achieve their potential.

The teachers at New End Primary School are informally assessing children’s progress by observing them work, and by marking and commenting on work in progress. Much of our marking is focussed on the ‘next steps’ for each child. Children are encouraged to enter into a dialogue with their teacher about how they can improve. Mistakes are celebrated as crucial elements of how we learn. We use ‘good mistakes’ in lessons to encourage resilience and a positive attitude to meeting challenges and learning from them.

We make much use of good exemplars to provide children with models to aspire to and for self-evaluation.

Children are assessed regularly to ensure early identification of difficulties. We value dialogue with parents and carers to support us in our strategies to help children make sustained progress.

In addition to this we carry out more formal standardised assessments of learning each term, in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. These tests enable us to monitor progress against year group expectations and help us to plan what to cover in the following term. They help us to set achievable targets for children which we communicate to parents and carers.

In Mathematics, pre-unit tests are used and analysed to confirm children’s prior knowledge. Other curriculum subjects may also have unit tests at the end of each block of work.

Formal Parent – Teacher interviews are held in the Autumn and Spring Terms and it is very important that one or both parents or carers attend these meetings, in order to be kept up to date with children’s progress. However, if you are ever concerned about your child’s progress in any area of the curriculum, please make an appointment with the class teacher to discuss your concerns.

As a school, we complete all statutory assessments.

During Reception your child will be assessed in the areas of learning known as the Early Learning Goals. This is called the Foundation Stage Profile. This assessment is required for all children in the Foundation Stage. It includes assessing early reading, writing, and mathematical skills.  The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a statutory assessment which is carried out by staff for all eligible children within the first six weeks of starting reception. This is carried out on a one-to-one basis and is used for measuring the progress primary schools make with their pupils.

Throughout the country, children in Year One are involved in Phonic Screening Tests. These tests take place in a specified week in June each year.  Children who do not meet the required threshold set by the government, have to re-sit the screening test in Year Two.

At the ages of 7 and 11 the children do KS1 and KS2 Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) during the Summer Term of Year 2 and Year 6. The results show their level of achievement in the core subjects as set against national norms.

In the Summer Term teachers write a full report for each child detailing progress made over the year, highlighting successes and setting targets for the year ahead. Parents are invited to discuss this report with the teacher. We do not wait if there are concerns: teachers will always contact parents to share worries – or good news!

If a child is identified by the school as having a need for learning support of some kind, the parents or carers are informed. The school will work with parents or carers to support the child.  They are then kept up to date with what is happening in school to help the child and what progress is being made.

Some frequently asked questions are noted below:

Where is the evidence of the impact of the curriculum?

The content of the curriculum must have been learned in the long term.

The real source of evidence is in the pupils’ heads. In lessons, are pupils drawing upon knowledge stored in their long-term memory? Is it clear that the necessary building blocks, component parts are being utilised to aid new learning?

Where will evidence of impact be seen?

Pupils’ books should show that the intended curriculum has been covered over time and that the intended curriculum is being taught against the National Curriculum. It may be possible to see where prior content is being used by pupils.

Discussions with pupils show the parts of the curriculum to be remembered. Have pupils remembered them securely? What have they learned over time?

How does this apply to the Early Years Foundation Stage?

It is not different in the EYFS. Our curriculum thinking identifies the content knowledge for children in the Early Years and assessment focuses on the knowledge and skills that pupils are gaining rather than activities that pupils are experiencing. The Early Years Framework provides the curriculum framework that leaders build on to decide what we intend pupils to learn.

Leaders and teachers implement the curriculum so that pupils make progress in the seven areas of learning and check the impact of what pupils know and can do.

Language and vocabulary are the main focus of the EYFS curriculum. The focus on oracy is designed to make up deficits by the time pupils finish Reception.

All pupils make progress in their learning and development, relative to their starting points so that they are ready for the next stage of their learning in Year 1.

What are your Assessment Principles in the Early Years Areas of Learning in Nursery and Reception?

We use Development Matters DFE guidance which follows the Birth – 5 years Child Development Framework, leading up to the Early Learning Goals at set out in the Early Years Framework at the end of Reception class.

The Reception Baseline Assessment is used.

What are your Assessment Principles in Reading, Writing and Maths in Year 1-6?

Our approach to assessment uses KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS that underpin a child’s entitlement within each key stage. The KPIs are based upon the National Curriculum statutory outcomes for Year 2, 4, 6 and advised outcomes for Year 1, 3, 5. Therefore in each year and core subject there are clear assessment criteria.

The rationale for ‘securing the KPIs’ is drawn upon the NAHT’s response to the DfE guidance for the 2014 Curriculum and Commission for Assessment Beyond Levels. In order to ensure children are well prepared for the next stage in their education, there are fundamentals in learning that need to be achieved within each key stage. We view all of these KPIs as significant and that to attain at the Expected Standard for each Year group, at least 85% of these KPIs must be met. Assessing against the KPIs equips teachers and leaders with an immediate overview of what the child has and has not learnt.

What are the Key Performance Indicators?

They are a set of key assessment statements from the National Curriculum for reading, writing and maths in each Year group from Year 1 – Year 6.

Children need to attain the KPIs in their year group by the end of the academic year in order for them to have reached Expected Standard.

Securing the KPIs

We use an individual tracking tool (OTrack) for reading, writing and maths which enables teachers and leaders to track progress from Year 1 to Year 6. In each subject and in each year there is a set of skills and knowledge that a child must learn to be ready to access the next year of study. Our model is based upon consolidation, revisiting and expansion of skills and knowledge. With the exception of children with complex SEND needs, it is our ambition that all children should learn all of the skills and knowledge within each year and subject.

What are your Assessment Principles in all other National Curriculum subjects?

Our approach to each subject is outlined in their respective Intent, Implementation, Impact statements. Each Scheme of Work has attached assessment opportunities and key questions, providing the assessment criteria against which progress can be determined. In order to ensure pupils are well prepared for the next stage in their education, pupils must know and remember the knowledge and skills that have been taught. Assessing the intended curriculum equips teachers and leaders with an immediate overview of what the child has and has not learnt.

How do you make a judgement about pupil outcomes?

Teachers will make two judgements about pupil outcomes: attainment and progress.

Attainment – What language do we use to report pupil attainment?

Working At Greater Depth within the expected standard – A pupil will be reported to be at greater depth within Expected Standard when they have attained 100% of the KPIs for that year group by the end of the year and understand them in great depth.

Working At Expected Standard – A pupil will be reported to be at Expected Standard if they have attained 100% of the KPIs for that year group by the end of the year.

Working Towards Expected Standard – A pupil will be reported to be working towards Expected Standard if they have not yet attained 100% of the KPIs but have met some for that year group by the end of the year.

In Reading, Writing and Maths, pupils with SEND may be learning the curriculum from a year group below that of the one they are in, if appropriate. This is in order that pupils with SEND learn the full sequenced curriculum at a standard that is appropriate for them. For these pupils, an additional attainment descriptor is used in Reading, Writing or Maths:

Working Below Age Group Expected Standard – A pupil will be reported to be Below if they have not attained any of the KPIs for that year group and subject by the end of the year. In addition, teachers should record the year group’s KPIs that the child is working at e.g. a year 5 child might be assessed as Maths BES (Y3).

What assessment of attainment is made for pupils in Years 1 – 6 who are working below the standard of the Year 1 curriculum?

Pupils with SEND in Years 1 – 6 who are working below the standard of the Year 1 curriculum but are engaged in subject-specific study (they are taught each National Curriculum subject) are assessed using the Pre-Key Stage 1 Assessment Standards.

Pupils with SEND in Years 1 – 6 who are working below the standard of these pre-key stage standards and are not yet engaged in subject-specific study, are assessed using the Engagement model.

Progress – What language do we use to describe pupil progress?

In our school, pupils progressing through the intended curriculum are described as making Good progress.

Measuring pupil progress from the end of Year 2 to the end of Y6

There is a national formula in place to measure progress from the end of Year 2 to the end of Year 6. This measure compares pupil progress with pupils with similar starting points nationally

How do you moderate judgements?

At termly assessment points, teachers from each year group will moderate assessments in writing and maths with other teachers across the school.

The purpose of moderation meetings is to:

  1. Ensure teacher assessments of attainment in writing and maths is accurate and consistent.
  2. All teachers show a shared understanding of attainment judgments by sharing examples of children’s work at each standard (e.g. below expected standard, working towards expected standard, expected standard and greater depth.).
  3. Ensure consistent practice across the school.

Teachers match evidence in the books to age group expectations to explain why they have reached the attainment judgement they have made.

Teachers attend moderation sessions with teachers from across Camden to confirm their judgements and ensure consistent practice across schools.