Philosophy and Purpose
Learning is the top priority for all of us at Southborough High School and ‘appropriate assessment’ is necessary to measure the quality of Learning and effectiveness of Teaching. It is our top priority because it is the principle way in which we achieve our purpose, which is to make the difference for all of our students.
There are three main forms of assessment: in-school formative assessment, which is used by teachers to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding on a day-today basis and to tailor teaching accordingly; in-school summative assessment, which enables schools to evaluate how much a pupil has learned at the end of a teaching period; and nationally standardised summative assessment, which is used by the Government to hold schools to account. (Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels, September 2015)
The purpose of Assessment, in all forms, is that it should have a positive impact on Learning and Teaching.
Principles of Assessment
They (teachers) check learners’ understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback.
Education Inspection Framework (Ofsted), Implementation (Quality of Education)
It is important to consider and be clear on the aims of assessment and how they can be achieved without adding unnecessarily to teacher workload, whilst also ensuring that assessment is (appropriate) for all pupils and that summative, reported data is as accurate as possible.
In-school formative assessment – for example:
- Questioning during lessons
- Marking of pupils’ work
- Observational assessment
- Regular short re-cap quizzes
- Scanning work for pupil attainment and development
In-school formative assessment should:
- Tell teachers about pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the topic, concept or skill
- Help students to understand what they need to do to improve
- Be inclusive for students of all abilities
- Inform planning for future lessons (in terms of progression and review)
- Result in early intervention at a faculty and/or whole-school level where necessary
- Enable teachers to judge and report an appropriate “Commitment to Learning” grade (1-4) which assesses (subjectively) engagement with lessons and homework, Behaviour for Learning and other related indicators
In-school summative assessment – for example:
- Exam Weeks (three per year)
- End of unit tests
- Homework projects
In-school summative assessment should:
- Test pupils on their knowledge and skills gained throughout their ‘level of study’ – this is known as ‘synoptic assessment’
- Be available (online) for students who are not able to attend school for any reason. This should be done using Google Classroom, where exams can be scheduled to take place at the same time as those happening in school.
- Result in the reporting of accurate ‘current grades’ and ‘most likely grades’ that can be used to inform teacher planning and necessary intervention strategies
- Allow for reflection of L&T and lead to improved progress, attainment and outcomes for the pupils
- Be reviewed by students and parents through reporting systems and parent-teacher consultations.
- Provide the information required to fulfil its purpose
- Ensure that data can be used to review/monitor whole, or specific ‘groups’ of pupils (eg: Disadvantaged, SEND, EAL, Ethnicity) and can be analysed consistently
Nationally standardised summative assessment – including (but not exclusive to):
- Exam ‘seasons’ for all formal qualifications offered by the centre.
- Cognitive Assessment Tests (CATs)
Exam weeks take place three times per year for all year groups (the third occasion for Y11 and Y13 is for public exams) :
- November/December - Whole School
- March - Whole School (including pre-Public Exam Assessments for Y11,13)
- June - Y7, 8, 9, 10, 12
The teaching timetable will be suspended for all students taking exams.
All pupils will get to experience exams in the exam-hall or gyms in an academic year.
SEND – Access Arrangements
- Assessment must be appropriate for all learners
- Access arrangements should be in place (where possible) for all forms of assessment (refer to the SEND policy for additional information).