The core aim of assessment is to enable students to become more effective learners, so that they can improve their rate of progress and raise their levels of achievement.
Assessment takes place across a range of different contexts. This includes class work, homework, tests, non-examined assessments, oral, practical and project work. Assessment of the learning can take many forms including:
Self-assessment: where students are given the success criteria/marking scheme with the necessary explanation and mark their own work.
Peer-assessment: where students are given the success criteria/marking scheme with the necessary explanation and mark other students' work. Self and Peer assessment provide students with the opportunity to assess their own and others' work and give feedback to one another to increase their understanding of the criteria for success.
Teacher assessment: where teachers make an evaluation of students' performance. This may be formative (assessment for learning), or summative (assessment of learning).
It is not a requirement that the teacher assesses every piece of work.
Students' work will be assessed using a range of methods. Alternatively, a common piece of work may be assessed that has been completed by all students. Feedback may be oral or written, but should support the key purposes of assessment. Written feedback should use clear and simple language accessible to the students.
All students will be assessed thoroughly at least once a term through summative assessment with continued formative assessment. This is in order to provide a manageable and accurate snapshot of where the students are at, at that point in time. This will be defined as a current working grade which will be an accumulation of assessment and work completed up to and including that point.
Departments will use a range of styles of relevant formative assessment but it is essential the results are acted upon.
Assessment data is accessible and is used in a timely fashion to ensure that necessary actions are taken to ensure the very best outcomes for all students.
Students will be invited to complete a Cognitive Ability Test (CAT’s) in April of Year 6 when they are offered a place to join the school. Students who join after this point will also be provided an opportunity to complete the CATs test at another point during the year.
Below is some information which you may find useful in interpreting the scores which are shared with parents in the Autumn Term of Year 7.
The tests are divided into 4 areas: verbal, non-verbal, mathematical and spatial. The scores on each of the tests provide evidence about the students present level of development in: thinking about shapes and patterns (Non-Verbal Reasoning), words (Verbal Reasoning), numbers (Quantitative Reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (Spatial Ability).
The CAT’s measure developed abilities - it is not an IQ test.
The pattern of an individual’s scores can provide diagnostic information e.g indicate a possible specific learning difficulties but also reveal strengths and weaknesses. Results help teachers decide about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed.
The score on this test will usually reflect a student’s ability to use words as a medium of thought.
Tests of verbal reasoning are the best predictors of educational progress, as the greater part of education is presented through verbal symbolism.
The score on this test will give a genuine indication of most student’s ability to think with numbers.
This test assesses the ability to think and reason with non-verbal material. Consequently these tests reveal how well students can think when working with shapes.
This test assesses the student’s ability to visualise shapes and objects and the effect of manipulations on these. This helps to develop a more comprehensive picture of the student.
As with all tests there is an element of error - especially as it is multiple choice test. The scores from these test should not be considered as fixed or unchanging. In addition, many factors can influence performance on one day. Circumstances under which CAT scores may not be a true reflection of a student’s reasoning ability include:
- If the student has recently come to the UK especially if from a non western background
- The student is from an ethnic minority group, is bi-lingual or has a poor command of English
- The student is dyslexic (reading skills influence the verbal battery only). Their score may not be a true reflection of their verbal reasoning ability.
- A serious hearing or visual problem, or poor health, fatigue, or emotional disturbance on the day of the test is likely to depress scores on all tests.
Understanding your child’s Key Stage 3 report and Thresholds
You may be aware that the Department for Education (DfE) underwent reforms of the national curriculum and as a result from September 2014 secondary schools were no longer required to report progress through levels and sub levels e.g 4a, 5b, 6c. The guidance from the DfE states: “pupil progress and achievement should be communicated in terms of descriptive profiles, rather than numerical summaries”. As a school, we have created a “thresholds model” that students are assessed against in each of their subjects.
The thresholds are:
*Progressing towards Foundation
*This applies where a student is working towards accessing work in the Foundation threshold
***This applies where a student is accessing work beyond Key Stage 3
The thresholds will vary from subject to subject and may vary across the academic year. The most important information for you to assess how well your child is doing is the colour coded column titled “progress” which will be displayed on your child’s report. Teachers will identify whether the threshold your child is currently assessed as working within is:
Below expected progress
Achieving expected progress
Exceeding expected progress
You will also information regarding your child’s attitude to learning and completion of homework for each subject. These are displayed by a numbered statement, as shown below.
Attitude to Learning
1. Particularly hardworking, enthusiastic and conscientious - outstanding effort.
2. Usually hard-working and conscientious.
3. Adequate effort commitment to work.
4. Sometimes little effort and commitment to work.
5. Frequently little effort and commitment to work.
1. Homework is consistently completed to a high standard.
2. Homework is completed to a good standard.
3. Homework is completed to an adequate standard.
4. Homework is not completed to an expected standard.
5. Homework is sometimes not completed.
6. Homework is regularly not completed.
N/A. Not applicable to this subject.
In addition to this, a focus for improvement will be recommended which are individualised to each department. This should be considered in conjunction with the ongoing feedback that your child will be receiving from their teacher in lessons and in their work.