Assessment is at the heart of teaching and learning. It provides a guide for teachers and an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate and review their own learning.
At The West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s we offer a fair, unbiased approach to assessment, which takes into account the prior attainment of each pupil. This ensures all our pupils are treated as individuals, with their own flightpath for success based on final minimum expectations taken from FFT Aspire. FFT Aspire creates this by taking into account prior attainment and the school context as well as gender, date of birth and school area. This information is used and targets are taken in line with the top 20% of similar schools in the country.
Following results analysis of the 2016 GCSEs, CTLs found that students had not embedded the skills they required to be successful at GCSE. Subsequently a system of assessment has been designed to allow pupils to build the knowledge, skills and understanding throughout their time at St Hugh’s. This approach is curriculum led using GCSE success criteria to guide the planning for both key stages.
FFT Aspire creates a final minimum expectation for pupils and students’ flightpaths are tracked backwards against this to their starting points. This produces an age appropriate target in line with their final minimum expectation that is mapped against GCSE criteria. These targets are then ascribed growth mindset language to show a student’s path towards mastery. For instance, students are encouraged to think along the lines of ‘you have not yet done x, y or z’.
Assessment as The West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s:
- Will focus on acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding.
- It will be an accessible system of assessment so information is easily understood by all parties.
- It is aspirational: we want all students to exceed their expectations and ‘go for gold’.
- The model should inspire greater effort so that pupils are keen and willing to exceed expectation.
- Encourage pupils to work towards mastery of a topic or skill and therefore encourage pupils to develop their growth mindset.
Pupils are assessed at least once per half term on assessment pieces which are outlined in advance and planned through the curriculum of assessment and published on the website. At the end of each academic year pupils will take part in an exam week to ascertain their progress in line with their final minimum expectation. These are based on teacher assessment of how they are performing against their final minimum expectations. Pupil progress will be measured as either gold, silver, bronze or danger zone depending on where they are tracking against their individual flightpath.
Assessment criteria are derived from the national curriculum programmes of study combined with professional judgements from curriculum team leaders to create a system of assessment that will prepare pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to be successful learners.
To arrive at this, departments studied a range of criteria, including the GCSE subject frameworks and national curriculum expectations of learning and distilled these down to create assessment criteria that effectively support pupil progress. This ensures our students are learning age expected rates of progress. This is used to support mastery of topics and support pupils in the classroom.
The criteria is organised hierarchically setting out what pupils are expected to master by the end of each year in Key Stage 3. These are the skills they need to have mastered to ensure success by Key Stage 4. In Key Stage 4 the knowledge skills and understanding are set out in the GCSE specifications. Success criteria is shared with the students.
PROGRESS OF GROUPS
Progress of all groups is valued through the assessment process. The knowledge, understanding and skills based model of assessment ensures pupils are not assessed in line with an expectation bestowed upon them not by an inflexible pathway, but from their final minimum expectations therefore ensuring support and challenge of all groups through the process. The assessment informs the classroom intervention.
FREQUENCY OF ASSESSMENT
Formal assessment takes place at six termly events at appropriate times - in most departments this equates to an assessment at the end of each half term. However, some departments may do formal assessments more frequently. These judgements are supported by a body of evidence created using records of work, testing and/ or observations. Moderation and standardisation is carried out internally and externally to ensure all assessments are free from bias as well as providing invaluable CPD for staff and creating the opportunity to keep up with best practice.
HOW IS PROGRESS TRACKED?
Pupils are measured against their flightpath as either mastering, for those pupils who are securely expected to achieve one or more grade above their final minimum expectation; securing those pupils who are securely above their final minimum expectation but are not yet consistently showing enough progress to be secure of the next level; developing for those pupils who are demonstrating the skills, knowledge and understanding to make expected progress but they are not doing this consistently enough to be confident of achieving their predicted progress and so are likely to fall one grade below expected progress; and danger zone for those pupils who are working below their level of expected progress. Where a pupil is moving towards the upper end of mastery for that year they are challenged with the knowledge, skills and understanding for the following year.
USE OF DATA
The assessment data is reported home to parents after every interval, and parents are aware of the commendations and progress their child is making.
The regularity and the pursuit of mastery through key knowledge, skills and understanding in the process ensures assessment contributes to improved learning and is focussed on tangible objectives that can be worked towards over a period of time.
The regular monitoring programme has been designed to facilitate maximum dialogue around progress.
The assessment process creates a dialogue in curriculum teams and intervention waves are informed by the process. Student achievement is monitored and tracked by class teachers/CTLs and at termly whole school meetings. Interventions are arranged accordingly.