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Why Do We Assess?

Statutory Assessments

What are schools statutorily required to assess?

Teachers carry out day to day assessments and checks on pupils’ understanding and progress as part of their day to day teaching. Statutory, formal assessment procedures and examinations also exist to measure attainment against national standards. Our pupils’ achievements are compared nationally with all those pupils of the same age and against schools in East Sussex and in England. These assessments include:

An Early Years Baseline assessment

We assess the development of our youngest children in English and Mathematics when they join our Reception class, measuring their readiness for Foundation Stage progress in number, measure, phonics and early writing skills.

An end of Early Years Foundation Stage assessment

We monitor how well pupils are achieving and the extent to which they are meeting identified expectations in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which helps to identify those who are achieving a good level of development and those who we need to give additional help.

The Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1 (and Year 2 for children who did not meet the threshold in previous year)

The Phonics Screen assesses pupils’ phonic skills as part of early reading. During the check, children will be asked to decode a series of 40 different words. While most of these will be real words, there will also be some pseudo-words mixed in. These are sometimes known as alien words, and they will be accompanied by an image of an alien to help children identify them. These words are phonetically similar to real words, but don’t have any meaning. They’re included in the check so that children will need to use their decoding skills and won’t be able to rely on memory alone.

End of Key Stage 1

Schools currently draw on a test and teacher assessments to help us to assess whether pupils are making progress and are attaining national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.  This is completed at the end of Year 2.  

Our teachers also assess pupils’ achievements in Years 1 and 2 across the broader curriculum, as well as making regular formal assessments of reading; writing; spelling grammar and punctuation; and mathematics.

The Multiplication Tables Check (MTC)

Pupils in Year 4 are required to take the MTC, which is administered online in school. Pupils are asked 25 questions, being given 6 seconds a question, with a 3 second rest period between each question. These can be any multiplication question, up to 12 x 12 but exluding the 1 x table. 

End of Key Stage 2

Pupils at the end of Year 6 take statutory tests that assess whether pupils attain national expectations  in reading, spelling punctuation and grammar and mathematics.

We also assess pupils’ progress across the broader curriculum in Years 3 through 6, and make regular formal assessments of reading; writing; spelling grammar and punctuation; and mathematics.

Our Assessment Procedures

There are two forms of assessment, formative assessment, in which teachers routinely check pupils' understanding of their learning as it happens, and summative assessment, in which pupils' understanding is formally assessed against a benchmark or set of criteria. We use both of these forms of assessment in our school in the following ways:

Formative assessment takes place throughout every day in school, when teachers ask children questions, see how they respond in lessons, ask them to produce written work, listen to their interaction with other learners, have children participate in low-stakes quizzes etc. Teachers use this information to enable them to support the children further, inform their planning, and know whether children require extra intervention. 

Summative assessment takes place after teaching and is used by teachers to see what information the children have committed to their long-term memories. By giving children a chance to forget the content (i.e. it hasn't been taught that day), teachers can use more formal assessments to evaluate their long-term understanding. This may be in the form of written tests, but may also be verbal questioning, asking children to complete tasks associated with their learning, or to contextualise their learning in an open-ended task, etc. 

Marking and Feedback

Feedback can take many forms in the classroom, be it written feedback in pupils’ books or verbal advice to improve. Marking refers to the written comments in pupils’ books.

Research tells us that the most effective feedback is that which happens at the point of learning. This is where a majority of the feedback happens at Netherfield. We understand that the feedback that works best might differ across subjects and age groups. This is why we do not prescribe one specific type of feedback over another. What is essential is that feedback or marking is used to help children improve their work and make progress. This should be evident even when written feedback is not. 

Marking is sometimes useful. Most written marking is for making corrections (e.g. calculations, spellings, punctuation) or for addressing basic misconceptions where a conversation may not be necessary. Visible marking in books is not a proxy for good teaching; we do not use the quantity of staff’s written feedback in books as an accountability tool. 

At Netherfield, we give a mixture of individual, group and whole class feedback. Whole class feedback may occur when the teacher has noted misconceptions or points of improvement that will benefit the whole class. The teacher may plan targeted feedback to specific groups of children, depending on how widespread a certain misconception is. Individual feedback is given in a systematic way so all children have personalised feedback a number of times throughout the week.

Informing Parents and Carers

Parents and carers are always able to discuss and be updated on their child's progress with the child's class teacher, either via email or phone or by setting up a formal appointment. We also formally share information with you at key points during the year: 

Parents’ Evenings:

Provide opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child’s progress and to highlight any key issues that are affecting the child’s learning.

Update parents and carers on how their child is being supported and challenged in their learning, and identify ways in which they can support their child’s learning.

Formal School Reports:

Interim Reports - produced at the end of Term 3 - share feedback on children's social and emotional development, and attitudes to learning.  They provide a brief mid-year assessment update and next step target in core subjects of reading, writing, SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar), mathematics, and science.

End of Year Reports (each July) share feedback on children's social and emotional development, and attitudes to learning, detailed assessment comments on core subjects (as above), as well as assessment details on other subjects across our broad curriculum. Parents and carers then have the opportnity to discuss these in more detail at Parents' Evening. For children in EYFS, their end of year reports detail which early learning goals they have acheived and, where they have not achieved early learning goals, what their next steps are. 

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