Assessment is a crucial part of teaching and learning. The main aim of assessment is to help all students become better learners and increase their confidence, motivation and independence in the learning process, whilst upholding high expectations of every student regardless of their ability. We want to promote excellence from every student whatever their starting point.
The purpose of each assessment should always be clear and teachers should have a clear understanding of what students are expected to master at any given stage of the curriculum which should be clearly aligned with the department’s curriculum intent, implementation and impact. Before an assessment takes place, the teacher should be clear about the function they want that assessment to perform and how they are going to use the data generated to improve teaching and learning. In essence, every assessment we conduct should have a direct positive impact on the academic progress of the students we teach, helping them to become independent and resilient learners.
When topics or themes are taught at Ridgeway, a student’s attainment and progress are assessed in two ways; formatively and summatively. These assessments will be used to aid progression for your child but also to accurately inform reporting to ensure that you as a parent or guardian receive the most accurate and current data. As parents, you will not receive the data from each of these assessments as they inform our reports. Moreover, each department staggers assessments across topics.
Formative assessment is utilised mid-topic and can be described as low stakes testing as it is used to aid a teacher’s planning to diagnostically find areas that need to be recovered or retaught in a different way to eradicate misunderstanding. Summative assessment, however, often sits at the end of a topic and will be used to ascertain a grade that your child is working at. Detailed and individualised feedback will follow summative assessment to help move all students forward in their learning journey.
The data we send home needs to communicate to parents that we care about the progress their children make and that they can trust that we always act in the best interests of their child.
The purpose of feedback at Ridgeway Secondary School is to improve learning for individual students. It should:
– Close the gaps in learning;
– Allow all students to progress and succeed, regardless of their starting point;
– Involve all students in a learning dialogue that helps them reflect on progress made;
– Cause thinking to aid further progress.
The methods used by teachers to give appropriate, meaningful and timely feedback should not create unnecessary marking workload. However, department leads are allowed to personalise marking and feedback within their departments BUT it fulfils the expectations below.
It is the expectation that, for all subjects, that:
– Each unit has two assessed pieces – one is a formative assessment and one is an end of unit assessment (diagnostic/summative assessment). These do not have to align with the reporting cycle, but department heads may choose to do so.
– Feedback for formative assessments should utilise ‘whole class feedback’ to reduce workload and support with modelling good progress and achievements.
– Detailed and individualised feedback is expected following summative assessment pieces.
– Teachers are expected to complete acknowledgement marking (frequency dependent on curriculum time and subject to HOD/HOD guidance) to ensure standards are high. This could be done through peer marking, ‘live marking’, self marking etc.
It is the expectation that teachers mark in green and students response is completed in red.
For summative assessment pieces, feedback will include reflection time (DIRT time) for students to reflect on their achievement and progress and target-set, along with working on areas of improvement. This should include:
– Marking for ‘what went well’;
– Marking that includes ‘targets’;
– ‘Reflection tasks’ that include at least 15minutes where students work on their assessment to show improvement (this could include rewriting parts of it, answering questions that develop their knowledge).
Metacognition is an individual’s ability to identify their current thought process and select helpful strategies to tackle challenges more effectively. Developing metacognitive skills encourages independent learning, resilience and grit in children. This is because it helps students identify what does and doesn’t work as well as helping them deduce what they would do differently next time if they experience a setback, failure, or make a mistake.
Feedback can be one of the best ways to help someone improve their learning. Making feedback an integral part of the learning process is a key way to encourage metacognition in the classroom.
Throughout the year, best practice could include:
– Students provided with effective revision resources as part of their regular diet in lessons to aid their understanding of how to approach tasks.
– Students taught key skills to use when they are in the exam. This is planned and integrated into the curriculum.
– Students provided with effective revision resources to help them prepare for the final exam. Focus is also on the literacy of the exam and how to approach different question types.
– Homework effectively used to help link to, and prepare for, exam/ assessment/ benchmark piece.
– Feedback sessions that ensure students are constantly reflecting on their own work. Self-assessment used as an effective tool AND sample work given. Students also given explanations of how ‘to move up’.
– Reflection time given for students to think about actions now needed and what hindered their progress and time given for students to complete quality gap tasks and lead to improvement for that question.
– Student reflection on how they prepared for the exams and this may relate to the end result/outcome.
The data sent home through reports to parents at KS3 should demonstrate the progress students have made in terms of ‘knowledge acquired’ and the ‘application of skill’. Our curricula at Ridgeway have been written to allow all students opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills both synonymously and explicitly. The report sent home will show the attainment of a student in each subject split into knowledge and skills mastery grades. These two grades may be different for each student based on their strengths and weaknesses linked to content retention or application and skills.
At KS3 there are four reporting windows that allow for frequent communication between our school and yourselves. This will consist of a blend of data and attitudinal reports, comprehensive written reports as well as a parents evening. For our youngest students that start their journey in Year 7 we offer a ‘Meet your tutor evening’ at the beginning of Year 7 in place of the written report. For students that are in years 8 & 9 there are two data and attitudinal reports, one written report and one parent’s evening scheduled throughout the year.
Reporting at KS4 reflects how students are assessed in line with GCSE examination criteria, meaning that when reports are completed a student will receive just one numerical overall attainment grade between 9-1. This grade will accurately reflect the level a student is working to at that precise point in their KS4 learning journey.
At KS4 our methods of reporting are slightly different. In Year 11, parents can expect two data and attitudinal reports, one written report and one parent’s evening scheduled throughout the year. We feel that for those students in Year 11 there is need for more direct communication between teachers and parents due to the nature and importance of the year. For this reason, we offer two parents evenings early in the year as well as two data and attitudinal reports sent home throughout the first two terms of the academic year.