Assessment (Secondary)

Assessment

Secondary

Assessment at SCS

Student’s attainment and progress is closely monitored at Safa Community School in order to provide the best possible opportunities and highest levels of support for all children.  All assessment activities aim to ensure that learners are able to make better than expected progress in their learning whilst taking into account the needs of individual children.

  • Provide baseline information for all students
  • Identify specific strengths and areas for improvement for all of our students for all of their subjects
  • Assist with target setting
  • Monitor the academic performance of students as they move through the school
  • Develop the use of assessment as a tool in students’ learning
  • Encourage students’ to become more independent learners through their ability to use peer and self-assessment
  • Ensure all departments are consistent and in line with the flightpaths in regards to assessment
  • Data and assessment information is used to inform teachers’ planning so that it responds to the needs of the students

Assessment is the opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities. Therefore, any opportunity that students have to demonstrate their learning is used as an assessment, whereby a students’ level of understanding can be judged. Classroom assessment is central to the teaching and learning process. It must therefore be collaborative in nature. At SCS, assessment is an interactive process where teachers identify strengths and challenges and can adapt their work to meet the individual needs of students. Assessment is the process through which all stakeholders (students, teachers, parents and the board of directors) are able to make judgments that allow them to monitor progress and evaluate learning experiences. This allows them to improve planning, diagnose difficulty, identify progression and assist with the personalisation of learning.

Effective record-keeping is ongoing, cumulative, accessible, informative, easy to interpret and evidence based. It is accessible to line-managers upon request. Teachers at SCS will use the Go4Schools platform for record keeping and reporting.

The school provides regular updates to parents on the progress of students. Within the first 3 weeks of the academic year, parents will receive an Attitude to learning (Settling in) grade. There then follows three grade cards and one full report per year for Year 7-13. Mock exam results are also communicated to parents through a mock results day. There are two parent/teacher meetings per year for each year group to discuss the progress of their child with the subject teacher. The schedule of reporting/meetings is available on the Assessment and Reporting Calendar.

The grade cards contain information about the current flightpath, Target Grade (MEG) and attitude to learning (ATL). The full report also has a written comment and information relevant to the year group, for example ECAs and community service. Quality assurance procedures planned and guidelines are provided to improve the quality of reports. All grade cards and reports are released to parents through the Go4Schools platform.

Summative assessment

Often referred to as assessment of learning. This covers those assessment events that aim to provide information about how much a student has actually learned at the end of a particular section or unit of work. End-of-year exams are summative assessments.

Ipsative assessment

Assessing a student’s performance based on their previous attainment, normally over a number of assessment events. This can be highly motivational as there is no direct comparison with other students.

Formative assessment

Often referred to as assessment for learning (AfL). It is often viewed as more of a natural part of the teaching and learning process. It can include strategies such as observations, having students read out loud, questioning in class, as well as the use of different digital platforms. Formative assessment is at the heart of effective teaching.

Diagnostic Assessment

Any assessment event that seeks to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Difficulty or Quality Assessment

Students are assessed through ‘quality’ assessments or ‘difficulty’ assessments or a combination of both depending on the nature of the subject. For example, subjects such as Maths and science tend to use assessments based on difficulty, whereas subjects like English and history tend to use assessments based on quality. For ‘difficulty’ assessments, grade boundaries set by the HODs will be used in line with the flightpaths to determine the level. Where the quality of a piece of work is being assessed, a marking rubric is used. This has been developed by the HOD to ensure consistency of marking and feedback. Students are issued with this at the beginning of the task so that they can self-assess throughout the process and ensure they achieve or exceed their flightpath.

Target Setting

The skills and knowledge which students require for success at A Level and life beyond school begins in KS3. As such, SCS ensures that the assessment, curriculum and reporting system is focused on the key skills and knowledge that students are developing, rather than giving a numerical level at KS3. This means that all students are provided with a ‘flightpath’ which shows the progress we would expect them to make based on their CAT4 ‘if challenged’ potential grade.

A flightpath indicates expected GCSE grades at the end of Year 11. The Target Grade is derived from a student’s CAT4 ‘if challenged’ potential grade. Targets are realistic but challenging and aspirational. Students are given a ‘flightpath’ at the start of the year and are aware of these for all their subjects. Lessons focus on the skills and knowledge required to achieve or exceed the flightpath. This will allow all students to develop a greater understanding of the skills/ knowledge that they are required to develop in order to fulfill their potential in each subject. Students can work both above (exceptional progress), and below (below expected progress) their flightpath. However, a student making good progress would work within their ‘flightpath’ throughout the year. Maintaining their flightpath would indicate that the student is making ‘expected’ progress as the work over time becomes more challenging. Teachers will provide students with feedback which will inform them of which ‘flightpath’ they are on, the key skills/ knowledge that they have demonstrated and new skills/ knowledge to focus on.

At each data capture, reports will indicate whether or not students are working within their ‘flightpath’ or not. There are 5 flightpaths:

  • Launching Learner
  • Emerging Learner
  • Developing Learner
  • Excelling Learner
  • Mastering Learner

Flightpaths will be used to explain progress. Within lessons, learning objectives are colour coded to indicate the flightpath they relate to. This will help students become aware of the skills/ knowledge they need to develop and the expectations they need to meet to make progress in their learning. The skills and expertise required to progress through a flightpath have been developed by subjects. The successes and next steps will be clearly communicated to students through marking and feedback to assist them to continue to make progress.

In line with what is practiced at KS3 and KS4, A Level and BTEC grades are again aligned with a flightpath. Students are given a ‘flightpath’ at the start of the year and are aware of this. Lessons focus on the skills and knowledge required to achieve or exceed the flightpath. This will allow all students to develop a greater understanding of the skills/ knowledge that they are required to develop in order to fulfill their potential in each subject. Students can work both above (exceptional progress), and below (below expected progress) their flight path. However, a student making expected progress would work within their ‘flightpath’ throughout the year. Teachers will provide students with feedback which will inform them of which ‘flightpath’ they are on, the key skills/ knowledge that they have demonstrated and new skills/ knowledge to focus on.

At each data capture, reports will indicate whether or not students are working within their ‘flightpath’ or not. It will also highlight the key skills/ knowledge that students have demonstrated (successes) and how to improve (next steps).

There are 5 flightpaths:

  • Launching Learner (D Grade)
  • Emerging Learner (C Grade)
  • Developing Learner (B Grade)
  • Excelling Learner (A Grade)
  • Mastering Learner (A* Grade)

Grades will be used to report on progress at KS4 and KS5. The ALPS platform is used to integrate prior attainment data, such as GCSE results, into predictions for each student to ensure informed decisions are made when selecting A Level and University courses. The platform provides multi-level analysis including whole school, department, subject, teaching set, tutor group and student level, plus other useful cohorts such as ethnicity, gender or disadvantage, as well as custom groups. 

Inclusion

Safa Community is an inclusive school and we ensure we meet the needs of all students through the triangulation of data and high quality learning and teaching. Class teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all students in their class and all additional support is deployed effectively. Where a child is not making the expected progress the class teacher will work alongside the Inclusion Leader, parents and external agencies (where appropriate) to plan tailored support. We follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle to ensure all children are monitored closely and make progress. We use Individual Learning plans, where appropriate, which are reviewed with the child and parents termly. Nadine Hutchinson, Inclusion Leader, is available to provide advice to staff and families. We also maintain a list of focus children who we monitor closely. We do not label any child by so called ‘ability’. See separate SEND policy for more information.

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