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Our Assessment Principles

Assessment at Greswold

 

From September 2014, the government has made a huge change in the way that children in schools are to be assessed. This is to tie in with the new National Curriculum that started to be used by all schools at the beginning of this academic year. This is a new way of thinking for schools and assessment will look very different to how it has looked for the past 20 years. The aim of this page is to, hopefully, give you some clear information about all the changes that are happening in education across the country and what that means for the children here at Greswold Primary School. Before we even think about assessment, we need to be clear on the main changes the new curriculum has brought to subjects that are traditionally assessed.

 

Curriculum 2014

 

So, what are the changes to the curriculum? It would take far too long to cover the whole curriculum, particularly in any great depth. But the main changes to the key core subjects are highlighted below:

 

  • English - The new programme of study for English is more knowledge-based. This means that there is a greater focus is on knowing facts. It is also characterised by an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language and less emphasis on the creative aspects. English is set out year-by-year in Key Stage 1 and two-yearly in Key Stage 2. Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These are set out yearly across both key stages. At Greswold, we will continue to use real purposes for writing to inspire, motivate and encourage our children.

 

  • Mathematics - The main areas in the new programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra. Two of these - number and geometry - are further divided into subdomains. The way that the curriculum is organised varies across the primary age range as every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains. There is no longer a separate strand of objectives related to using and applying mathematics. Instead, there are problem-solving objectives within the other areas of study. Most of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years. Pupils will not only have opportunities to practice their skills within maths lessons, but also with in other relevant subject areas such as science, design & technology and geography.

 

The end of levels

 

The Department for Education (DfE) has decided that the children who are currently in Years 2 and 6 will be the last pupils to be awarded a level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015).

 

So why are levels disappearing?

 

The DfE want to avoid what has been termed ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to any particular year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE thought that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or 6 in a test, but were not secure at that level. The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum - and the levels system - failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level.

 

Assessing without levels

 

The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils. We, along with our collaborative schools, will be tracking progress using the new Solihull Authority Tracker which is similar to the system used in the Early Years Foundation Stage. It takes the end of year expectations for each year group and splits them into 3 categories as follows:

 

  • Working towards - Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
  • Working at - Secure in the majority of the end of year expectations.
  • Working above - Secure in almost all or all the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently.

 

Under the old levels system children who were ‘working above’ might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in the ‘working above’ bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their ‘using and applying’ skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth. Only exceptional children will move into working towards the end of year expectations from the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be ‘working towards’ at the end of the year may work towards the expectations from the year below.

 

Curriculum transition

 

The new National Curriculum has raised the expected standard that pupils have to achieve in each year group for Maths and English. Because of this, pupils in years 3, 4 and 5 will have some ‘catching up’ to do where content has now been moved into lower year groups, content that pupils previously didn’t cover when they were in those earlier year groups. At Greswold, we will continue to have an appropriate focus on English and Maths, so that pupils can make this extra progress and we really appreciate the support that parents and carers give at home with homework, including - for example - times tables practice, spelling practice, reading with and to your children and other learning-related homework tasks. We will also be using our more creative aspects of the curriculum as an opportunity to practice our core skills, such as writing. In this way, we can all strive to ensure that pupils leave our school prepared for the next stage in their school lives.

 

Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of staff.

 

Our Assessment Principles

 

Assessment is at the heart of teaching and learning at Greswold

 

  • Assessment should be an integral part of every teaching and learning activity
  • Assessment allows children to take responsibility for their own learning and involves them in assessing their own progress
  • Assessment takes many forms including ongoing dialogue between teacher and child

 

Assessment is consistent, reliable and transparent

 

  • Assessment evaluates progress and diagnoses need
  • Assessment uses consistent criteria for assessment based on the new National Curriculum
  • Assessment facilitates continuity and progression between year groups
  • Assessment is fair and free from bias

 

Assessment is ambitious but appropriate

 

  • Assessment helps staff and governors to plan strategically for the use of resources
  • Assessment helps drive improvement for pupils and teachers
  • Assessment supports accountability
  • Assessment is created in consultation with delivering best practice locally

 

Assessment outcomes are meaningful and accessible

 

  • Pupils should be assessed against objectives rather than each other
  • Assessment provides feedback for the pupil and identifies individual achievement
  • Progress and achievement should be communicated in terms of descriptors rather than numerical summaries
  • Assessment gives reliable information to parents about how their child, and their child’s school, is performing

 

Please note that we are revising the assessment information for the year groups listed below. 

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