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Assessment tells us what learners know, understand and are able to do. It is essential for tracking progress and for planning next steps. It is important for reporting and involving parents, carers and learners in education and preparing for the future. Evidence of progress and achievements will come from day to day learning and through the things that are written, said, made or done. For example, evidence may emerge as a result of taking part in a presentation, contributing to a discussion, engaging in a performance or a practical investigation. Evidence could also be a report or piece of artwork that has been produced. Evidence may be captured as a piece of written work, a drawing, a photograph, video or audio clip as part of a particular learning experience.

Assessment covers:

  • The ways teachers support and assess their learners and monitor progress; identifying barriers and planning their next steps in learning.

  • Reporting to parents/carers, in writing and through discussions, to help them understand their child's progress and what they can do to help their child's learning.

  • Formal recognition of a learner’s achievements through our Complete Pupil Profiles and the accreditations and qualifications they achieve.

  • Recognition of a learner’s personal progress in the soft skills which are often tricky to assess in the same way. In this regard, we are exploring strategies for recording progress in areas such as emotional self-regulation and social skills.

  • Recognising our learners’ achievements through a range of qualifications in the senior school, which build on everything they have accomplished throughout their schooling.

Assessment strategies used

  • Assessment for Learning is a strategy that is used to support individuals in their learning journey as it happens. It looks forward as well as back. Teachers who assess in this way are concerned not just to confirm and verify what has been learnt, but also to help learners to understand what the next steps in learning should be and how they might be attempted. This kind of assessment has a ‘formative’ purpose: it helps to shape what lies ahead rather than simply to gauge and record past achievements. The main strategies considered important for Assessment for Learning (AfL) are: sharing learning goals, formative feedback, peer and self-assessment; these strategies have been found to be overwhelmingly positive in terms of their potential to promote improvements in teachers’ classroom practice. (CfBT Education Trust, 2013).

  • Ipsative assessment, the progress related to learners’ own development, supports personal progress; this is ongoing and constructive in nature.

  • Diagnostic assessments provide evidence of a learner’s areas of strength and weakness. Used across different areas of learning, a profile of a learner’s ability can be gauged; knowing their starting points allows for relevant teaching and learning to take place and where necessary, any interventions to close any gaps in knowledge and understanding.

  • Summative assessments occur at the end point of learning; evidencing the standards reached using our Onwards & Upwards system.

Assessing, Recording & Tracking Progress

  • Education & Health Care Plan Outcomes - steps of progress; reviewed annually

  • Onwards & Upwards: Our in-house assessment system

  • Test of Abstract Language Concepts (Blanks Levels) Ascertains comprehension levels

  • Simple View of Reading Framework: a mapping tool that helps teachers identify individual needs with reference to their reading profile in order to put into place appropriate interventions

  • Baselining of Handwriting Skills (based on the Pen Pals programme)

  • Phonics Assessments

  • High Frequency Word Reading and Spelling skills

  • PIRA Test of Reading Comprehension

  • PUMA Maths Test

  • Helen Arkell Spelling Test 2: newly introduced

  • Assessments undertaken by members of our Multi-Disciplinary Team: these ascertain abilities and needs in order to establish a programme of further support.

We are introducing STAR Reading and Maths Assessments in January 2023 to replace PIRA & PUMA. These assessments are more diagnostic in nature and offer a more comprehensive view of strengths and areas for development, with a ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ aspect to inform next steps and where necessary, interventions. We are currently working on developing a Curriculum for Excellence; we believe this will improve our methods and approaches to assessment in the following ways:

  • Provide teachers with a better-connected assessment system with smoother links through all stages of learning.

  • Give opportunity for more ways of monitoring, assessing, recording and reporting progress to support learning and to allow more flexibility in meeting a range of learners' individual needs with particular reference to their Education and Health Care Plan.

  • Refine individual learner profiles in order to demonstrate a clearer recognition of the progress they have made over time, their achievements and the skills they have developed at various stages of their education.

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