Assessment at TCS
Our provision is a coherent and carefully sequenced (knowledge engaged) curriculum based on the principles of cognitive science. There is a focus on the development of literacy and the application of acquired knowledge to ensure children access the curriculum at a depth to ensure an enduring understanding in discrete subject areas.
Our aim is to provide meaningful opportunities for assessment and feedback, which equip our students to know, remember and do more. To achieve our aim, teachers are required to have an understanding of the age-related knowledge and skills that a child should have learnt at a point in their schooling. It is the goal, in our school, for all children to be working to at least the age-related expectation, and for many to be demonstrate mastery for each unit of work. At KS3 Age Related Expectations will be reported using four words (Mastery, Established, Developing & Emerging). At KS4-5 Age Related Expectations will reported using GCSE 1-9 Target Grades.
The Coleshill School recognises that teachers’ assessment and monitoring of students’ progress and attainment, and students’ reflection of their own progress and development are central components in the learning process.
At TCS, all subjects follow the ‘Assessment Cycle’ when completing key significant marked pieces of work.
Each assessment cycle has a block of initial teaching, a Revision Lesson, an Assessment Lesson and a Review Lesson (Nb. Dept. are free to flex when assessments take place around the term to fit best with curriculum schemes of work and subject demands). These serve several purposes:
- To highlight the importance of all formal assessments.
- To ensure all assessments are preceded by thorough revision.
- To ensure all assessments are followed-up with detailed feedback and subsequent intervention or support
- To ensure pupils are kept informed of their progress at all times and across all subjects
ALL students will complete a minimum of 3 Key Assessments during the Academic Year, one per Term, in each subject they take. It is expected that subjects follow the TCS Assessment Cycle when designing and implementing their assessments:
Through the design of our subject curriculums, subject specialists have created Age Related Criteria (ARCs) by which to measure pupil progress. Teachers use these ARCs a reference point of the age-related expectation for a unit of work, which will equip them to provide informed feedback to a student on how they might improve their work further.
The Age-Related Criteria chart’s for each subject, showing what is expected for each pupil in a given unit, can be requested from your child’s subject teachers via email.
ONGOING CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING
Aspects of an ARC are referenced across a unit of lessons, providing opportunities for ongoing checking for understanding. The principle technique for which is ‘intentional monitoring’.
Teachers identify the specific criteria from the ‘Know and Show’ ARC, that relate to a particular lesson. This is then used to check our students’ work against the criteria. Through verbal feedback, questioning and live marking students receive frequent feedback on how their work could be improved. At times, when the collected data suggests that there is a pattern of a misconception or error, the teacher will pause the lesson and review the learning, (addressing the misconception).
Departments meet frequently to share and analyse students’ work, and when an error is common across a number of classes, this will lead to a redesign/adaptation of the curriculum.
Knowledge is frequently assessed in lessons through low stakes testing, with students being independent and taking an active role in self-assessing and improving their work.
TERMLY ASSESSMENTS WITH TEACHER FEEDBACK
Each term, the entire content of the Know and Show chart will be assessed through a teacher marked assessment. These assessments are designed to reflect the expected content in the chart, and assessment literacy is considered to ensure that tests are fair and equitable, e.g., students will be given the same amount of time and materials to revise from, and the conditions in which the assessment is conducted will be consistent across different classes.
In addition, it is our belief that mastery of a curriculum is more than a breadth of learning at any given point in time, but instead mastery is having the depth of learning to recall and then apply knowledge and skills over time. For this reason, a minimum of 25% of the test covers content from previous units of work taught that academic year, ensuring assessments are more linear than modular, and developing the cognitive load of our students.
When assessing, the teacher will also consider the age-related criteria (ARCs) in the chart. Each student will receive feedback on their attainment in comparison to the ARCs. The four bands of attainment represented by the ARCs are shown below:
Mastered: Working above the age-related expectations
Established: Working at age related expectation
Developing: Working towards age related expectation
Emerging: Below age related expectation
How the ARCs are applied is shown in the examples below:
EXAMPLE: An assessment indicates that a student is consistently demonstrating ARCs for both Know and Show in the mastery band. This would indicate the student is working above the age-related expectation.
The ARCs also ensure that feedback to the student is precise, identifying the gaps in learning that a student needs to act on.
Teachers use our principles of Data Driven Instruction (Leverage Leadership, Paul Bambrick-Sontoyo) to analyse a sample of assessments, referencing the Know and Show ARC to identify the right ‘lever’ that requires reteach. A lesson following the assessment is then dedicated to the reteach of the lesson using an appropriate technique. Following the reteach students are given time to improve their work. Gaps in learning are revisited in the following weeks through planned Do Now activities.
The principles above of ongoing and termly assessments align with current thinking that, “…progress should be measured by how much a child has learned of the curriculum, rather than when or whether they are hitting a particular target” (Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education).