"Too often levels became viewed as thresholds and teaching became focused on getting pupils across the next threshold instead of ensuring they were secure in the knowledge and understanding defined in the programmes of study. Depth and breadth of understanding were sometimes sacrificed in favour of pace."
Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels, J.Macintosh CBE, September 2015
The new curriculum signalled a shift, not only in content but also the expectation placed upon pupils became considerably higher across Key Stages 1 and 2. This meant there needed to be a change in thinking, and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.
As a creative, forward-thinking school, Mulgrave Primary embraced the changes as an exciting opportunity to review our assessment and reporting systems. We created a more holistic approach that gives a clear indication of what is expected of our learners, along with providing more clarity for parents about exactly what their child can do.
Key Principles of Assessment
The principles that underpin our assessment system are:
- Every child can achieve: teachers at Mulgrave have the mindset, ‘What do I need to do next to enable a child in my class to achieve?’
- Learners will be assessed against Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
- Well-planned creative teaching sequences across the Curriculum and contextualised (where possible) in Maths will be carefully scaffolded using the NC objectives, leading to assessment of the KPI’s
- Children will make age-appropriate progress – the focus will be on moving learners through each year group at the same rate to ensure learners leave each year group at age expected
In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Year 6 KPI’s; We use the KPI’s to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:
A child that has achieved all the KPI’s set out for Year 3 for English would be said to be working at the expected level for English at the end of year 3. A child achieving half of the mathematics KPI’s for Year 5 would be classed as working below the age-related expectation for Maths.
For pupils who are working above age related expectations, rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum, the focus will be 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.
What does assessment include?
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
- Ongoing assessment through mini-plenaries, carefully planned questioning and reasoning opportunities (including the use of Learning reflection postcards) will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.
- Children will know what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why. They will become increasingly confident when discussing their learning (including their useful learning mistakes)
- Regular feedback both written and verbal between the teacher and learner
- A KPI tracker Excel document which allows the teacher and learner to know what has been achieved and the child’s next learning steps
- Triangulation of data, evidence in books and pupil voice
Pupil feedback makes the biggest possible difference in supporting learning and helping children make the best possible progress. We recognise that feedback is an integral part of the learning process and must be embedded into each lesson. We believe that immediate, verbal feedback is far more effective and allows for opportunities for pupils to discuss their learning with their peers and their teacher. Therefore, written marking in children’s books is replaced by pupil-teacher conferencing. Feedback should empower children to identify their own strengths and areas for development and in turn, create independent, self-motivated pupils who have ownership over their learning.
Live marking allows a teacher to check that each child has the correct level of challenge: misconceptions can be identified and addressed, small errors corrected and additional extension can be given where appropriate.
Please see the picture gallery below for some examples of Live Marking
Children in Nursery and Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile. Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception, for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:
- Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
- Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age
Reporting to Parents
Discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on whether their child is on track to be at the age expected level by the end of the year. The Summer term written report will explain whether or not the child has reached age-related expectation and will detail the KPI’s achieved or needed to reach age-related. It will also state whether a child is:
- Below the age-related expectation
- At the age related expected level
- Exceeding the expected level