Assessment without levels
Following the introduction of a new National Curriculum framework from September 2014, the government has also decided to remove level descriptors. The government’s policy of removing level descriptors from the National Curriculum is set out in terms of freeing schools from an imposed measure of pupil progress. The Department for Education has said that levels are not very good with respect to helping parents to understand how far their child is improving. In their place, from September 2014, “it will be for schools to decide how they assess pupils’ progress”.
With levels removed and the focus now on raising the achievement of every pupil, the governors, leaders and teachers at The Berkeley Academy have chosen a new way to measure pupil attainment and progress.
During the academic year 2014-15, the school was in a period of transition from old levels to new assessment descriptors, ready for implementation September 2015:
Our new assessment system
The old and new curriculum have different content. Many of the objectives in the old curriculum have shifted to lower year groups in the new, more rigorous curriculum, this means it is not possible to have an exact correlation between a level that was the outcome of the old National Curriculum assessment and the requirements of the new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.
The school has welcomed the changes in the National Curriculum and saw it as an exciting opportunity to review our curriculum, however we were very clear that whatever assessment tool we used, it needed to be robust and track pupils’ progress across the school and not just at the end of a Key Stage. We have decided to continue to use ITrack, which is an online tracking system and have therefore the benefit of retaining and transferring historical data, whilst completing baseline assessments to find out children’s starting points for the new national curriculum during this transitional period.
We are now assessing children against the new framework, one for which they may have not been taught the previous years’ objectives and content, so we are in a time of transition between old and new sets of data.
The principles that underpin our new assessment system are:
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
All of the above will feed into data points each half term. Then more in depth assessment and analysis will take place at class, phase and subject level three times a year, towards the end of each term.
In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Key Stage 2 expectations; this is broken down into key outcomes for each curriculum year. We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:
Note:- End of year expectation is to be year group secure i.e. Year 3 secure
Tracking progress over time
We will track pupils' progress over time, against age-related expectations in each subject area:
The progress terms and tracking scheme are the back-bone to track progress across the school.
We will be replacing Average Point Scores (APS) with progress steps. Progress is measured by the number of steps a pupil has made over the selected period. If three steps of progress are made over a 12 month period then progress is judged to be expected. If more than three steps are made over the selected period then progress is said to be good or very good (five or more steps).
More able children
For children who have securely met the end of year objectives they will be assessed as exceeding or mastering objectives for their age group. Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum, these children will work on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be deepening their learning. The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.
Early Years - Nursery & Reception
Children in Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile.
Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:
Progress will be tracked against Baseline assessments.
Reporting to Parents
Discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on the new assessment system in place. We will review the format of the individual annual report at the end of the Summer term in line with the school’s assessment policy.