Assessment in Reception
On-going formative assessment is central to effective early years practice. We observe children as they act and interact in their play, everyday activities and teaching activities, identify where the child is in their development and then plan ways to support the child to challenge and extend their learning and development.
A national framework for child development “Development Matters” is used throughout nursery and reception as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age.
At the end of Reception, we complete one summative assessment, the early years profile, for each child on the basis of cumulative observational evidence recorded over the course of their reception year. This assessment is a judgement of each child’s attainment against each of the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs). For each ELG we assess whether the child is not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’), meeting ‘expected’ levels or ‘exceeding’ expected levels, and report on this to parents.
Assessment in Year 1 to 6
At the heart of our assessment approach is a definition of the core learning in each year group from 1 to 6 – the essential knowledge and skills from the national curriculum that we believe each child in the year group must have mastered in order to have a secure foundation for moving into the next year.
These Key Objectives are embedded into the weekly teaching and learning cycle in order to ensure that the intended learning is being taught, recalled and understood by all pupils:
- The Key Objectives are referenced and used for weekly and half termly lesson planning
- The Key Objectives are used to support and review work in children’s books for evidence of learning and achievement of the objective.
- Key Objectives are used by the children and teachers regularly during the week to assess learning
- Understanding what pupils can do/know from one lesson/week is used to inform planning for the next steps in teaching.
Our main focus therefore is on ongoing formative assessment to check that pupils are on track to meet the end of year expectations. We formally report on and analyse progress once a term and at the end of an academic year, we make only one final assessment judgement for each child: Working At Greater Depth; Working At; Working Towards; or Working Below (and report on this to parents).
The cycle of termly progress monitoring has several elements:
- At the start of the Autumn term, each child is set an end of year attainment target: Working At Greater Depth; Working At; Working Towards; or Working Below
- Each term, teachers use the formative assessment tracking together with summative test benchmarks and results to judge whether a pupil is not on track, on track or ahead of the end of year target.
- We share pupils’ attainment and our judgement of whether they are ‘on track’ at parent consultation evenings in the autumn and spring terms.
- Summative tests include end of unit tests/quizzes which are useful to cross check pupils’ recall of knowledge and content.
In order to validate and triangulate our ongoing assessment judgements against key objectives, we are also now using termly standardised tests in reading and maths – Progress in Reading Assessment PIRA and Progress in Understanding Mathematics Assessment PUMA – that have been age-standardised against a national population of 12,000 children.
These tests produce a reading/maths age and an age standardised numerical score (based on a normal distribution around a median of 100.
Analysis of standardised scores is also useful for indicating whether pupils/pupil groups are below, at or above age-expectations in a more consistent and regular way (as there is no longer any standard national benchmark of attainment except at year 2 and year 6).
Statutory Assessment in Year 2 and 6
At the end of year 2, pupils take tests in maths and reading. These tests are marked internally, and the pupil raw results converted to scaled scores (around a national mean of 100) for each test – similarly to our PIRA/PUMA standard scores. We use these scaled scores to inform and validate teacher assessment judgements, but we do not report these to parents.
Teachers also make assessment judgements as to whether pupils have met end of key stage performance descriptors in maths, reading, writing and science. Evidence must come from the body of pupil’s work in their books and be available for external moderation. The judgements that teachers make and which are reported to parents will be “working towards the expected standard”, “working at the expected standard” or “working at greater depth within the expected standard”.
At the end of year 6, pupils take tests in maths, reading and grammar/punctuation/ spelling. These tests are marked externally, and pupil’s results reported to parents as scaled scores (around a national mean of 100) for each test.
In addition and similarly to the end of year 2, teachers make judgements as to whether pupils have met end of key stage performance descriptors in writing and science. Evidence must come from the body of pupil’s work in their books and be available for external moderation. The judgements that teachers make is simply whether a pupil is “working at the expected standard” for science, with further judgements of “working towards the expected standard” and “working at greater depth within the expected standard” for the writing judgement.
Assessment in Treetops
We use an assessment platform (B2) for assessment in Treetops. The assessment system in B2 is a framework of very small steps by subject allowing teachers to plan, record and track small steps in learning the pupils make and use these steps to build a bigger picture of the pupils’ learning and achievements.
Using the B2 frameworks allows us to track the range of children in Treetops from those who are working beneath age-related expectations with an adjusted curriculum through to those accessing the aspects of the primary National Curriculum for their age.