Reporting to Parents
Countess Anne School
A Church Of England Academy
Assessing pupils without levels
Reporting to parents
The purpose of this leaflet:
…is to provide a shared understanding of how the staff at Countess Anne will monitor pupils’ progress and report this to parents.
Assessing within the new national curriculum:
The national curriculum is set out so that parents, pupils and teachers can see what is to be covered within a certain year group. Furthermore it promotes that pupils stay within their year group’s coverage, going deeper in their understanding of what has been covered rather than progressing onto the next year’s content, once something has been understood.
When assessing teachers will use two types of methods to collect evidence about pupils’ progress:
1) formative assessment 2) summative assessment.
Formative assessment: is the ongoing assessment that teachers do on a day to day basis when working with pupils. It is widely regarded as the most valid type of assessment due the breadth of curriculum that it covers and broad range of evidence that can be used to make judgements. This type of assessment is primarily used by teachers in order to best plan the next steps of learning for their pupils.
Summative assessment: is the assessment that is most commonly associated with end of module, term and year tests from which pupils are given a mark/grade. Its validity though can at times come into question because not all of the curriculum can be covered in a test and secondly a test scenario is not always the best way for a pupil to show what they can do. However this type of assessment is often used by parents in order to gain some understanding of how their child has done at the end of a term/year.
Formative assessment at Countess Anne School:
For the Early Years:
Countess Anne staff use the Early Learning Goals for our pupils in Reception Class. We will continue with this approach providing parents with termly reports about how their children are progressing. There are no formal tests at this age, but parents will be told at the end of the year how well their child has achieved compared to the age appropriate standard.
For the National Curriculum:
Each of the teachers for years 1 to 6 have a list of assessment objectives of what should be covered in English, Maths and Science. When a teacher works with their class it is these objectives that the pupils are being assessed against.
Progress against an objective is achieved firstly by demonstrating the skills of remembering, understanding and application. Once these are achieved a pupil is given the opportunity to deepen their understanding by using the processes of analysis, creativity and evaluation. This movement from ‘remembering’ to ‘evaluation’ is called Bloom’s Taxonomy and is how teachers at Countess Anne decide on the next steps of learnings for a child.
Due to the high validity of formative assessment we feel that it is appropriate that we report a pupil’s formative progress to parents. We have defined progress in such a way as to express a child’s progress made against the year’s objectives and the depth with which the child can use and apply them. We have called these definitions Curriculum Assessment Progress Definitions and they can be found on the following page.
Curriculum Assessment Progress definitions:
The pupil has been taught a curriculum other than their year group’s, one that has been tailored to their learning needs.
The pupil has been taught the year group’s curriculum and is beginning to remember and understand some of its concepts.
The pupil has been taught the year group’s curriculum and can remember and understand much of the knowledge and concepts within.
The pupil has been taught the year group’s curriculum. In addition to remembering and understanding they can apply many of the skills and knowledge to a variety of problems.
The pupil is secure within their year group’s curriculum and can apply all the knowledge and concepts. In addition they have explored many areas in greater depth showing an ability to analyse, create and evaluate.
*Parents should note that all children are expected to reach the Secure grade. However some may not reach this grade, for example due to difficulties they have with learning or a lack of attendance, whilst others will move beyond this grade onto Mastery.
Summative assessment at Countess Anne:
Summative assessment is used at Countess Anne as a way of taking a snapshot of progress and attainment across the school at the end of each year. The school uses this data for three reasons:
- 1) To have a set of data with which we can compare and moderate our formative data.
- 2) To evaluate how well different groups within the school are doing e.g. boys and girls, those who speak English as an additional language and those who have special educational needs.
3) To give parents an indication of how well their child is doing within a national setting.
Word of caution: Summative assessment will only test on a small sample of the curriculum and skill processes and should always be looked at alongside formative assessment grades.
There are a wide variety of summative tests that can be used. At Countess Anne we use G.L assessments; these are standardised tests used by over ½ million children in the U.K and over 100 countries worldwide. We use these because they can be completed using a computer and provide instant feedback for the teacher and a report for parents; which forms part of an end of year report. The explanations of the terminology that is used within the report can found on the following page.
Please note: that in addition to our own summative assessments some year groups will also have to complete government initiated tests, namely the Yr 1 phonics screening test and the Yr 2 and Yr 6 end of key stage tests known as S.A.Ts. Parents are also informed of their child’s results in these tests.
Definitions for the GL assessment scores:
Type of Score:
The number of questions attempted can be an important: a student may have worked very slowly but accurately and not finished the test and this will impact on his or her results.
The Standard Age Score (SAS) is the most important piece of information derived from a Progress Test (PT). The SAS is based on the student’s raw score which has been adjusted for age and placed on a scale that makes a comparison with a nationally representative sample of students of the same age across the U.K. The average score is 100. The SAS is key to benchmarking and tracking progress and is the fairest way to compare the performance of different students within a year group or across year groups.
The Stanine (ST) places the student’s score on a scale of 1 (low) to 9 (high) and offers a broad overview of his or her performance.
The National Percentile Rank (NPR) relates to the Standard Age and indicates the percentage of students obtaining any particular score. NPR of 50 is average. NPR of 5 means that the student’s score is within the lowest 5% of the national sample: NPR of 95 means that the student’s score is within the highest 5% of the national sample.
Levels have been retained for the short term to help transition during the early stages of the new National Curriculum. The levels given are concurrent with the time of testing. It is anticipated that GL will remove this type of score shortly.
Like the Overall Stanine these rank a student’s score on scale between 1 and 9 but this time it relates to particular aspects of the curriculum, e.g. within English a student would get a stanine score for Reading and one for writing.
Assessment of the Foundation subjects:
With the introduction of the 2014 national curriculum, our approach to the assessment of the foundation subjects has changed. At Countess Anne teachers from year 1 upwards will assess for understanding and application of key concepts which are peculiar to a subject. This is different from previous years primarily because it is the assessment of transferable knowledge.
An example could be where previously a pupil might be assessed in history as to whether they knew the date of 1666 (The Great Fire of London), they will now be assessed on their understanding of ‘Cause and Consequence’. The latter will be useful when looking at other major events whereas the date 1666 is of little use when looking at other events.
Teachers will report to parents at the end of each year the depth to which their child has understood a key concept. As when reporting on the core subjects, teachers will use the language of emergent, developing, secure and mastery to describe the level of depth of understanding.
Accompanying each report will be a concept description appendix so that parents can cross reference their child’s report to these definitions; giving clarity as to what has been understood and applied.
At Countess Anne assessment is seen as an important feature of our teaching and therefore of a pupil’s learning.
Teachers will use a range of formative and summative assessment activities, more than has been mentioned in this leaflet and including the traditional times tables and spelling tests, in order to glean a pupil’s progress.
In turn pupils will be given targets and next steps of learning so that they become familiar with what they should be trying to improve. In addition they will be able to see the progress that they have made and be encouraged to celebrate their achievements.
Academic progress and areas for development will be shared with parents via Parents Consultations and an end of year report. In the report a parent will be given both formative and summative judgements and will be able to see how well their child has progressed against the year group’s curriculum and but also how well they are doing within a national context.
We hope that you find this leaflet useful. If you have any further questions then please do make an appointment with your child’s class teacher.
Children, their World their Education:
Final Report and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review
Final Report of the Commission on Assessment without levels:
John Mclntosh CBE
Bloom’s Taxonomy: tips.uark.edu
Wroxham Alliance Assessment and Marking Policies
- Swift: Key Concepts