Assessment and Reporting
How do we approach assessment?
We seek to communicate to students our high expectations of them whilst providing honest and accurate feedback about how they are performing and effective formative feedback to help them to improve. We seek to use assessment information rigorously, consistently and carefully from the point that students are admitted to ensure that all students are clear about how they are doing, are motivated to improve on that, and are noticed and helped if they fail to make good progress in their learning.
Here are our key principles:
- “Completeness”: all students are expected to develop a complete knowledge of everything that we teach them. We do not accept that some children are unable to learn or perform in tests although we do know that not all students are ready to learn the same thing at the same time. We teach students material which is appropriate to their current level of knowledge and understanding and expect them to learn it thoroughly and completely.
- “Personal Bests Thinking”: we present summative assessment results to students and discuss their performance in a way that promotes ipsative comparison (i.e. comparison with their own prior performances) rather than normative comparison. Instead of thinking “have I done better than my classmates?”, our students are prompted to think: “have I done better than my previous best?”. This is what we call Personal Bests Thinking. We build this into the way we describe our test results and the way we talk to students about how they are working and learning.
- At Key Stage 3 we also talk to students about “Strong Performances”: we know that not every performance can be a Personal Best, so we also use a baseline set at the start of Year 7 to compare performances to. If a performance falls well below that baseline, then we may have cause for concern. If it is well above the baseline, then we celebrate it as a Strong Performance.
Summative assessments (that is, assessments intended to measure a student’s performance rather than to provide diagnostic feedback) are completed twice per year in each year group and the results communicated to parents in a formal report. Formative assessment happens frequently throughout the year and is communicated to students through the marking of work, verbal feedback, comments recorded in our Firefly learning platform and in many other ways.
During Key Stage 3 we communicate the results of Summative Assessments through the use of Standardised Scores which can be compared to baseline measures such as CATs scores and Key Stage 2 performance. We also use some externally marked assessments to validate in-school assessments; these give us standardised scores which have been benchmarked against national cohorts so that we can be confident about the accuracy and validity of our in-school assessments.
Parents’ evenings happen at least once per year for each year group and give an opportunity for teachers and parents to collaborate in ensuring that students are working in the most effective way to maximise their progress and achievements.
More information about our expectations and assessment can be found at the following link:
How do we approach reporting to parents?
We are keen to ensure that our academic reports focus on improving students’ performance. For this reason all our academic reports contain the following information:
- Examination scores or projected grades
- The one key learning target in each subject that will improve a student’s performance
- The one key learner focus in each subject that will improve a student as a learner
Our academic reports are also intended to be formative rather than summative, tracking how well students have met the targets set in the previous report.
In addition to our academic reports we will also provide additional information in the summer term about how our students have developed as young people of character through our wider curriculum.
What does the information on your son or daughter’s academic report tell you?
Expectation grades are ambitious expectations for a student’s performance at GCSE or A Level based on his or her performance at the end of Year 6 or Year 11. These grades are set purposefully high in order to ‘anchor’ students’ expectations of themselves at the upper end of what we think we can expect of them. Where students perform more highly than their initial expectation grade, this grade will be lifted to reflect their new ‘personal best’.
Performance slightly below this grade is not necessarily a cause for concern but should be the basis for a positive and reflective conversation on the approach that is being taken to learning. If we are concerned, we will be in contact.
We include attendance percentages into reports with an explanation of what this figure means. There is a strong link between below average attendance and underperformance so we expect students to be aiming for above average attendance (96% or higher).
We ask our teachers to be cautious in projecting examination grades. This is firstly so that we can identify any potential underperformance and address it through the course of the year, and secondly, so that there are no unpleasant surprises on results day. Projections are not promises: no grade is fixed until the examinations are taken. A disappointing projected grade means that more needs to be done to safely secure a higher grade, not that a higher grade is out of reach. Similarly, a pleasing grade does not mean that there is room for complacency.
Learning Target and Learner Focus
While all our students are unique individuals, there are a core of key learning targets and learner habits that improve all students’ performance.
The learning target aims to close a key specific learning gap in a subject. Your son or daughter’s teacher has chosen the learning target that they believe will have the biggest impact at this point on your son or daughter’s progress.
The learner focus is a key specific learner habit. Your son or daughter’s teacher has chosen the learner habit that they believe will have the biggest impact at this point on your son or daughter’s progress.