Assessment in our Academies
The purpose of assessment is to support pupils to learn and develop, gaining the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and be ready for the next stage in their education.
We believe that assessment should:
- Inform teaching and improve learning
- Be valid, reliable, consistent and fit for purpose
- Comprise both formative and summative elements
- Describe how well the pupil has learnt the curriculum
- Be manageable and create timely, actionable information
- Have pupils at its centre in order to be inclusive and equitable
Formative assessment is the key to high quality teaching. Teachers should assess pupils’ understanding of prerequisite and prior learning in order to plan teaching. They should assess the knowledge and skills components needed for a composite task prior to pupils attempting it. Formative assessment should be carried out in a way that does not allow pupils to give the answer ‘the teacher is looking for’. It should involve the children directly so that they know what they have learnt and can articulate this, either verbally or through their work. Well thought through assessment can build pupils self confidence and agency.
Assessment practice will vary with children’s age. In nursery and reception skilful questioning will be used to identify misconceptions and gaps in learning, providing immediate feedback. In reception observation of children and listening to their comments will enable adults to adjust learning opportunities and encourage children to try new learning tasks. As children develop through the EYFS instruction and tasks may be longer, feedback that is kind and precise will enable them to develop their learning and skills.
As children get older their involvement in the assessment of their learning can increase. Peer and self-assessment can be powerful tools for pupils to understand their learning and next steps, and should be used alongside other aspects of formative assessment.
Summative assessment is essential for a wide range of stakeholders to meet these purposes:
- Pupils, parents and carers want to know how effectively pupils have learnt the curriculum through regular reporting. They want reliable and consistent information about the progress that pupils have made in their learning.
- Teachers want to understand how effectively they have taught the content and how well the pupils can remember this information in the longer term. This enables them to consider how they could improve. This data is essential for pupil progress meetings with senior leaders. The information about what children have learnt is also important for the next teacher of the class.
- Subject leaders need to understand how effectively pupils are learning the curriculum in order to review curriculum intent and to support teachers with curriculum implementation,
- Senior leaders and governors need summative information to go alongside a range of other information to understand the quality of education across the school and plan for improvement. This understanding needs to include variation between subjects and for groups of pupils.
- The government and its agencies, including Ofsted and the RSC rely on this summative information to support their work with schools, Trusts and Local Authorities.
In order for summative assessment to meet these purposes it is very important that it meets the principles above. In particular it should be valid, reliable, consistent and accurate. In order to achieve this schools should adopt a range of assessment techniques including teacher assessment and tests, moderation in school and across schools, as well as sampling checks, or other techniques.