ASSESSMENT is an integral and essential part of learning and teaching. St Bartholomew’s Primary School endeavours to ensure assessment always supports pupils’ learning by focusing not only on outcomes achieved, but on the process of each child moving from where they are in their learning towards new, more advanced goals. Through assessment, teachers gather a range of evidence to help identify and plan the teaching input each pupil requires to achieve their next steps in learning.
Staff plan assessment activities at the outset of medium-term planning and tasks are directly linked to the selected Experiences & Outcomes and intended learning. Staff also give careful consideration to whether they are assessing breadth, challenge or application.
High quality interactions between St Bartholomew’s pupils and staff lie at the heart of effective assessment. Teachers endeavour to interact with pupils in ways which encourage them to think and to talk about and demonstrate their learning. These interactions are based on thoughtful questions, careful listening, reflective responses and effective feedback strategies. Focused dialogue about learning takes place on a regular basis between teachers and pupils. The Head Teacher meets with class teachers on a termly basis to discuss the progress of pupils in order to identify the most effective ways of helping every child meet their full potential.
Across all stages of the school, teachers take the time to share and discuss with pupils what they are expected to learn. Learning intentions, along with their related success criteria, are shared with pupils at the outset of every lesson. There are also regular opportunities for the boys and girls to identify and formulate their own success criteria. Success criteria (eg. I can use the formula length x breadth to calculate the area of a rectangle) allow pupils to see what success ‘looks like’ before embarking on a task. To ensure that all of our pupils feel a daily sense of achievement, class teachers in St Bartholomew’s ensure that learning intentions and success criteria are challenging but also realistic.
Based on the initial learning intentions and success criteria, St Bartholomew’s pupils are given prompt, focused feedback about how well and how much they have learned. This helps them to move forward in their learning by identifying what they need to do next to improve and develop.
Staff provide pupils with a variety of prompts appropriate to their age and stage to support them to talk about and demonstrate their learning. In upper-school classes, children have a specially-produced prompt card. A similar bookmark is available for lower-school teachers to use with or adapt for pupils. Pupils also engage in self and peer assessment on a daily basis. Peer assessment provides the opportunity for the boys and girls to support and extend each other’s learning.
St Bartholomew’s pupils are trained from the early stages to identify and select appropriate pieces of work which provide evidence of their learning. Selected pieces of evidence are added to each child’s ‘Learning Journey Folder’ once a month.
Teachers in St Bartholomew’s gather assessment evidence from a wide range of sources in order to gain an accurate picture of each child’s progress and staff regularly devise specific assessment tasks to check a pupil’s ability to apply particular knowledge and skills. For example, after doing lots of practical activities using real timetables and television schedules, a pupil might be given a short written assessment on time durations. Assessment tasks can take many different forms: writing a report, making a model, talking in a group, performing a dance sequence, doing a sum.
Occasionally, more formal assessments are used to help the school gain a fuller picture of a child’s ability in particular areas of the curriculum. Primary 1 pupils are given a ‘baseline assessment’ in maths and language when they begin school in August. Pupils across the school are formally assessed in writing at three milestones across the year and data from these assessments is recorded on individual pupil tracking sheets. Likewise, pupils across the school are formally assessed in reading as they progress through the coloured reading bands. Once again, progress is recorded on individual pupil tracking sheets. Heinemann Active Mathematics is used as the school’s principle source of maths assessments and ‘iplanner’ is used to record pupil progress.
St Bartholomew’s pupils are given regular opportunities to reflect on their learning. All pupils use a ‘Learning Log’ to think about and record what they have learned, including the things they found easy, the challenges they faced and what they need to do now to progress and improve. Through this sort of ongoing reflection and regular dialogue with their class teacher, St Bartholomew’s pupils are actively involved in the learning and teaching process and become increasingly more able to recognise and understand for themselves the progress they are making. Each class also uses their class page on the website to reflect on, evidence and share their learning.
Information on pupil progress is shared with parents on a regular basis:
· Learning Journey Folders are sent home each term with a short comment from the class teacher and child; parents also have the opportunity to make a written comment on their child’s progress.
· Parent consultations take place twice each year, in October and March, providing parents with the opportunity to look at their child’s jotters and discuss their learning and progress with the class teacher.
· Each class has their own page on the school website (accessed by clicking on the ‘Learning’ pencil on the homepage). These are updated at least once a term and showcase a variety of learning activities the children have been involved in.
· A detailed written report is sent to parents at the end of each year providing information on progress across all areas of the curriculum as well as identifying next steps.
Of course, parents are encouraged to contact the school at any point during the year should they have any concerns or questions about their child’s progress.